Name: Ren Brokk
Physical Description: A tall woman with a rangy build, Ren is a trader born with sharp, copper eyes and an easy manner and a strong Northern Teutonian accent. Curly, light brown, shoulder length hair frames a weathered, ruddy face and a bright, sunny smile that’s missing a canine. Thirty years of age, she’s more handsome than pretty and very quick on her feet, with fast hands and a measuring gaze, and when it comes to riding out of town, there’s none better. Rarely seen without a tray or a barrow and a wide selection of ‘unmissable offers’, she’s a regular in both the residential and industrial areas of Marn, though she’s been known to venture into the world at large in search of, in her own words, the next big thing. Exactly what this is, she has yet to find out, but she searches diligently nonetheless. Depending on where you find her, she can be dressed either in travel stained and worn clothes more suited to the road, or well tailored and embroidered dress like a better class of shopkeeper.
Possessions:Dirty brown leather jacket, weathered light blue tunic, shirt and beige breeches, tattered brown cloak and well heeled but still serviceable boots, fur trimmed hat sling bag containing a blanket, a wooden tankard, a wooden bowl and some wooden cutlery, a deck of cards, some dice an ancient abacus and a very strange lantern, a second set of clothes consisting of a blue dress with yellow embroidery and matching cloak, a yellow sash and well heeled shoes. An ancient brass earring. A hand cart, a barrow and a tray. She also carries two daggers and well made and well used axe.
Powers or Strengths:
Melee combat – Ren has learned to fend for herself and has survived enough brawls, riots, muggings and disgruntled customers to know one end of a blade from the other. By no means trained she can still defend herself.
Excellent Vision – Ren has very good eyes and can make out small details in a pinch, very useful when looking for opportunities.
Dealmaker – Ren has been in the business a long time and has a good feel for value, when it comes to pricing or haggling there’s none better for a professional opinion.
Suave – She’s a shady customer and a dodgy dealer, and yes, given half a chance she’d take you for all you’re worth, but somehow, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t hold it against her.
Weaknesses and Flaws:
If it moves, sell it – A compulsive saleswoman, she just can’t resist the chance to make money, something that has gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion.
I didn’t know, guv, honest – You have to feel for her, you really do. Its not that she doesn’t want to sell you something good, its just that she’s so good at finding and selling things that don’t quite do what’s advertised. Or do rather more than was advertised.
Pigeons and rabbits: Due to a catastrophic mishap while trying to sell magical pets, Ren suffers from a permanent fear of rabbits and pigeons. Being in proximity to them or even being aware of possible proximity is enough to make her incredibly flighty and uneasy.
Claustrophic: - After once being trapped in a burning building Ren is chronically afraid of enclosed spaces and much prefers to send her time outdoors under the sky. The longer she spends indoors the more agitated she will become until she makes a desperate bid to get back outside.
Born in Weisswasser in eastern Teutonia as Bianka Landar, the second daughter of Gottfried and Loranda Landar, Ren always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps.
A merchant of considerable charm and resource, Gottfried worked his way up from a miner in the north and used his not inconsiderable talents to the betterment of the province and the Empire as a whole, establishing a trading company that is a byword for reliability and craftsmanship along the way. His rise and subsequent marriage to Senator Loranda Halion is considered one of the great success stories of the Old Empire and a legend in which he hoped his children would greatly share in. Bianka aimed to please, studying hard and doing her best to learn the fickle ways of the consumer, but though she had much of her parents’ charm, she could not be said to have any of their luck.
By the time she reached adulthood, she was already at the centre of countless minor scandals, while her elder sister, Jarla, was courting merchant’s son from Semerkhet and her younger sister, though only eight, was already showing an aptitude for the sword. It was just so unfair. How was she to know that those consignments of beer drove you blind, or that those swords were stolen, or that those books rotted away in sunlight? It could hardly be considered her fault, could it? Unlike her siblings, she couldn’t sit still. She didn’t want to be a quiet helper, she wanted to be a doer; to be out there making money and doing her daddy proud. Against his better judgement, and to get her out of the house, he got her a job with his company in Eisenwald to the east, organizing ore and lumber shipments from the mountains. It was an easy detail that took a steady hand and a good head for numbers. Eager to please, Bianka set off to the south with a smile on her face and money in her purse, which, it turned out was a dangerous combination.
She made many friends on her journey, all of whom remembered that they had been much better off before they met her and that it had all seemed like such a good idea at the time. When she got to Eisenwald business doubled as her easy manner and not to be missed opportunities took the locals by surprise. Not content to simply do the numbers and send the shipments on their way she began devising many and varied ways to make money, sure that her initiative would be recognized and rewarded. In a manner of speaking, it was, with dark rumour, further scandal and claims of embezzlement. But despite a threefold increase in industrial accidents attributed to experimental work practises and waves of poisonings due questionable food stuffs and dodgy brews, she was still earning, so, with many a warning, she was allowed to continue.
The end came however when she ordered her people to begin coating the lumber and ore with a new, washable resin to keep out the damp. Developed in the mountains, she was certain it would revolutionize the industry. Instead, it caused madness and unleashed a new kind of magical parasite on the unsuspecting populace of three towns that ate almost anything that cast a shadow and threatened to spread further until the guard contained it with fire and considerable expense. As they prepared to track down the source of the outbreak, Bianka received a note from her father containing a single, very shakily written word. Run. So she did.
Her travels took her first to Madaal, where she tried to set up as a trader in earnest, but a series of misfortunes and disasters had her running from town to town to keep ahead of the occasional mob. Not willing to be deterred, she travelled south to Keltaris where she opened a bar and bistro on the docks, doing a brisk, if infamous, business with the sailors there, trading beer, questionable pies and odds and ends for gossip and illicit goods. This too ended when a disgruntled customer set fire to the building while she slept, igniting her stock of alcohol and trapping her inside. She was almost dead when a secondary explosion blasted away enough debris for her to crawl out. Depressed, but not defeated, she took her business to the street, operating from a hand cart and made enough money to stay afloat. Sadly, she was not content with this and, following a pattern she has kept up ever since, she began looking for new ways to make money.
Each new scheme ended horribly for everyone around her, and finally, after she unleashed a fire-breathing pigeon on the city, she was forced to flee north to Ciasse, still making friends and money as she went by selling her patented street food. Resolving that there was a chronic shortage of cheap food for Shifters in Northern Ciasse, she took her business there, expanding her portfolio to offering betting odds and carrying messages, little realising that the downside to having a lot of angry shifters after you was that they could sniff you out. Three disasters later and she was fleeing east into the mountains from a very irate and now hairless shifter clan and one super-powered rabbit. After a number of near death encounters in the snows near Zackonspierre, she traded what money she had saved to a mage in exchange for a new scent. The spell was painful and scouring, but Bianka died there in the snow and Ren Brokk hurried out of the mountains with little more than a tray to her name. Heading south, she began offering games of chance and ‘unique opportunities’ to travellers, gradually recouping her losses. By the time she crossed the border to Thar Shaddin she had enough to buy a new cart and she was back in business. Marn was not a friendly city to outsiders, but she figured that one outsider would look the same as the next to everyone there. After a few false starts, she eventually sort of blended in.