Under Feet of Clay
Though all mortals are born with one metaphorical foot in the grave, the Fetchlings have a more serious relationship with this saying. A line of Fetchlings is begun when a mortal woman braves the realms of the dead and conceives a child with a shade. Most trace their lineage back to Nethana, though a few other families have joined them. Reclusive and hesitant to show themselves in the light, Fetchlings wander in the dark and dingy halls beneath the earth. Skilled in disguise and stealth, they often play a role in espionage and subterfuge, but to many outsiders they are just a myth.
Despite their faded appearance, Fetchlings are a lively people. Though they are perfectly capable of existing in the light, they usually keep underground, save by moonlight. Some of this is rooted in the fear of punishment for their existence, as many non-elven mortals fear those that have a reputation as mingling with the dead. Those Fetchlings that do leave their cavernous homes are usually somewhat isolated in society, surrounded with superstition. Some say they eat the dead. Some say they traffic with wicked shades. Some say their birth is outside the weave of fate, leaving them sources of chaos.
Most Fetchlings have learned the religion of the elves, and are devout worshippers. This is augmented with the standard suite of divinations, sacrifices, and spiritual readings. However, Fetchlings have a close relationship with spirits and the occult, perhaps as a result of their lineage. Arcane magic is often a struggle for the shadowed children, but divine magic can flow freely to those willing to devote themselves. But they truly excel at stealth. Those few who do take up residence in large cities usually are the hidden housekeepers of the wealthy, who rely on a loyal Fetchling to patrol their home by night, ensuring security against burglars. Some put their skills to use in more nefarious ways, with assassinations being a specialty for some Fetchlings.
Classes: Fetchlings make excellent rogues, but also excel as occultists, mediums, and spiritualists. Some pursue the life of a summoner, learning to better conjure shades and the shadow creatures of the netherworld. Clerics and druids associated with darkness, caves, and the dead are likewise relatively common. Sorcerers with the destined, martyred, and shadow bloodlines are not unheard of, but those who wield arcane energies are the exception in Fetchling society. A fair few become rangers dedicated to keeping the caverns clear for their villages.
Common Male Names: Arim, Drosil, Jegan, Somar, Yetar, Zoka
Common Female Names: Acera, Amelisce, Inva, Renza, Zaitherin
Example Adventure Hooks:
Inva was raised in the catacombs beneath Chilones, learning the details from the holy texts being read above from echoes and scraps of parchment. When she proved to an elven acolyte that she had memorized the directions to the underground palace of Thantadeus’s palace and the garden of white cedar around it, she was added in secret to the clerical order. Overseeing burials and the ferrying of the dead, she ensured the rest of the bones in her care. However, she knew that there were plenty of priests here, and obtained permission to leave to a new settlement. When her ship wrecked in the Winedark Sea, she washed up on the shores near Pittacae with only her wits and clerical vestments.
Drosil grew up hearing the dismal choirs of the temples, and began learning the dirges. With a rare knack for arcane magic, he found ways to weave power into his somber melodies, draining the livelihood from enemies and invigorating allies. When there was a call for Fetchlings to join an elven ship to inter bodies from a battleground, he joined the expedition. Unfortunately, orcs swarmed over the dead when the priests arrived, and Drosil stood strong until a cleric turned to teleport the young Fetchling to a safer place. However, he found himself waking in an open marketplace in Solonos, where he knew no one. And locals don’t take kindly to suddenly appearing Fetchlings with bloodstained clerical robes…
Acera never knew life in Chilones. Far as she knew, she was always a street urchin in Cleobonomos. Picking pockets for a living was sufficient, but when she was offered more money than she could pilfer in a month for slitting just one throat, she gladly took the offer. Soon, she was among the best independent killers in the city, waiting for her big break. Always one for flair, she began leaving red feathers on her victim’s bodies. Now with a reputation preceding her as the Bloody Crow, Acera is waiting for her chance to expand her crime spree to new cities, and perhaps earn an invitation to the seemingly mythical guild of assassins hiding somewhere in Calopius.