This story begins with a very momentous DragonStorm game, at GenCon in 1999.
I was playing the character of Ashiya, a Nightwitch priestess and healer. She was my first DragonStorm character and I invested a lot of time and imagination into creating her. Earlier that weekend, I received the character artwork from Sue van Camp that I commissioned about the character.
Then, that Saturday, I played her in a game with my friends Rex Joyner (playing Sherri) and Dave Hannigan (playing Robert Smith). The scenario involved the three of us, the most experienced of all of the characters, investigating a situation. That ‘situation’ quickly turned into a débâcle, with their two characters running off, leaving my character to protect the lives of the others, which she did, at the cost of her own life.
Now, in this game, there is no resurrection, once you’re dead, you stay dead. That really sucked. I wasn’t staying at a hotel near the convention, I was staying at a friend’s house (along with Rex and Dave) out away from downtown, and I drove back in a considerable funk regarding the whole situation.
Then, that next morning, as I was about to leave, Dave (who had stayed to finish the game with Rex) called out to me and said “Talk to Russ: Ashiya’s alive.” What had happened was that there was an experimental card that allowed a character to be returned to life, almost, at the sacrifice of others. Rex and Dave agreed to do that, as it was their (and their characters’) fault that this happened.
There were repercussions: Ashiya is what is called a Living Ancestor. She is classified as undead and can be affected by spells targeting such. She also has a limited lifespan: every game she plays in costs a month out of a total of ten years.
This is what I wrote to commemorate that game and the after events
My common name is Ashiya Sharr’s-daughter. That is the name that I was given when I was born, a name of history in my family. My secret name given at that time is never to be spoken, a secret between my parents, myself, and the Mother of All Things.
My family is of the Southern freeholds. My father and mother were Verrick and Sharr, bard and priestess; my older sister was Yarrow and my younger brother was Dominick. My late family, betrayed by others who called us “friend” yet took the necromancer’s coin.
My history is of the two long years as the prisoner of the necromancer Yevorth, who boasted that when I became a dragon, I would lie upon his bloody altar and suffer the fate of my parents and sister. For two long years I prayed as my mother had taught me, prayed to the Lady whose silver face and light was my only comfort, prayed for rescue, prayed that I would not suffer the same fate as my parents, prayed that I would not become a dragon and die upon Yevorth’s black altar.
My craft is as a Nightwitch, an acolyte of the Silver Lady. One of my rescuers from the necromancer was a priestess of the Lady of Changes, and she took me as her apprentice. I walked the night at her side, took the darkness as my cloak and the moon as my torch. I mastered the Nightwitch’s craft and pledged my life in service to the Silver Lady.
My oath is as a Valarian. So that other innocents would not suffer as I had suffered, I took the oath as a Champion of Valaria to confront the powers of necromancy.
My heritage is as a Dragon. The Valarians wisely instructed me to seek my heritage, and in the fullness of time I have done so, despite that I had ignored and denied that heritage for so many years. Now I have accepted and embraced the fact that I am of the dragon’s blood.
My existence is as a Living Ancestor. I am one who has died and has returned to life. Herein is that tale.