The Tapestry of Fate
human female that is wearing a homespun dress and hooded cape. Carries a quarterstaff.
She is 5’4" tall, 130 lbs. She has long, medium brown, hair that is in a braid that is wound around the crown of her head and hidden under her cape. Her cape is made of rough brown fabric. Her dress is made of homespun fabric, brown, and reaches mid calf. She has black, leather boots that are unadorned and laced up. She is tan, has thick calluses on her palms, and scars on her hands and arms from hard work. She has a scar on her left side of her face.
Petunia, my animal companion.
Fourthwife was born and raised in a fundamentalist, cult like community that was cut off from the rest of society. It was a patriarchal home life where boys are raised to run households and farm and girls are pretty much workers and child bearers. Women do not inherit and are married off as political and financial pawns. Magic is forbidden in the community and anyone caught knowing or using magic is considered a heretic. They are considered to be possessed by a devil and go through an exorcism. If that doesn’t work to get rid of the power they possess, then they are banished from the community in such a way that their survival is very unlikely, usually by being set a sail without paddles and allowed to die from starvation or drowning.
Fourthwife started having strange dreams where a vague figure would talke to her and teach her how to do things that were not “normal” among her clan. She would remember the dreams clearly upon waking and found she could speak to animals, make light appear from inanimate objects, create water when she needed it, etc. She knew that she had to keep these things quiet because the clan was very leary and superstitious. The priests called these “powers” the workings of the devil and forbid them, especially among girls.
When Fourthwife (then called child) was 11, her parents started looking for a good marriage for her. She was not considered pretty enough for any of the younger men, nor intelligent. She was finally married at 12 years of age to a 50 year old man who already had 3 wives. Although it is customary for a husband to give his wife her first name shortly after marriage, it is not required if the wife is not worthy and does not please him in some way. Shortly after she arrived to her new home, she was discovered talking “animal talk” to a horse in the barn while she was getting ready to milk the cows. She had always been very careful to not speak to the animals when anyone was within hearing range, but she didn’t notice the firstwife, Martha, approach from the rear of the building. She was punished brutally and had to take one of the little ones with her when she went anywhere near the animals after that point. The child was given instruction to watch and report if she did.
She refrained from using any of her devil powers after that and, even though she still wasn’t worthy of a name and was definitely not a favored wife (she was considered plain and too highly spirited), she got along ok in the household. She got used to being assigned the dirtier and unpleasant chores and had to hide when she tried to read the book her brother gave her (women were not permitted to be educated). While she hid herself in the woods on the fringes of the homestead, she started noticing bear tracks. Because she wasn’t allowed to be reading, she never reported the tracks to anyone, trusting that the men in the household would keep tabs on it. She was a lot more careful, though, that she didn’t encounter the bear while she was out. Eventually, however, the bear found her. He came out of the brush near the bushes where she was hiding and startled her. She attempted to run, but the bear kept hedging around her and stopping her. Strangely, he never got aggressive with her, but seemed to actually want to communicate. She had learned a little of how to speak to animals and had recently been instructed on how to communicate with bears specifically in her dreams.
She eventually wasn’t able to keep discrete enough on her wanderings and was followed by her husbands third oldest son, Levi. Levi hid well enough to not be noticed by Fourthwife and overheard her speaking to the bear. He was careful to stay upwind from the girl and her animals so he wouldn’t be discovered and, though the bear did smell him, it was too late. She had already been communicating with it and the young man caught the sound before the bear bolted (Levi never knew how lucky he was that the bear had the temperament that it did).
The exercorsm that was done on Fourthwife was horrific. The palms of her hands and the soles of her feet were burned with coals to chase out the demon. She was beaten and punished with a long list of grueling chores afterwards. After her punishment was done, she was taken to the clan temple and was forced to kneel while the clergy questioned her. When it was done, she was put in a small, dark closet at the back of the temple where she was left in solitary confinement for two weeks. After the time was up, she was taken to a hearing with her husband and his first wife present. It was explained to them by the clergyman that her demon power was still in her and that she needed to be banished. They spit on her, beat her, and then led her to the beach and she was forced into a small boat. the boat was tethered to a larger skiff and was pulled, without oars, out of site of the shoreline. After several hours, the rope was cut free and she was left adrift.