Into the Wild West
The Halfling Bawd
Barrelbelly, Barmansbane, Hollowlegs, Goldenthroat; Corryn collects nick-names almost as freely as he collects friends. Friendly, funny and generous, the chubby little halfling rarely finds himself without a crowd to entertain. Wandering from town to town, seeking adventure, and people who haven’t heard his array of bawdy songs yet, Corryn has a wanderlust fuelled by the peculiar kind of curiosity exclusive to the wee-folk.
Corryn likes to live the good life and, in a bid to show this to the world, he proudly sports a well-rounded beer-belly. Though he is by no means fat by human standards, the tireless natural energy and enthusiasm of halflings means that they are almost exclusively lean and wiry as a race. By these standards, Corryn’s paunch is a prodigious achievement. He maintains his pride and joy through a tireless appetite for strong ale, fine wine and red meat. He is a renowned drinker, capable of drinking many a long-shanks under the table before he turns in for the night. Corryn pays for his fine living through the spoils of his adventuring and the good-will and generosity of landlords and patrons in the taverns where he entertains – many a landlord has regretted offering Corryn free drinks for the night in return for entertaining the crowd. Corryn also helps to maintain his famous pot-belly by walking as little as possible. Skilled in the arcane arts, Corryn can often be found travelling from place to place reclined on a large velvet cushion atop a floating pink disk.
Born to a family of travelling entertainers, Corryn began learning the musical arts as soon as he could hold an instrument. He quickly settled on the banjelele as his instrument of choice, finding its twanging tone suitable for the kinds of songs he enjoyed most; bawdy bar-room ballads and saucy sea shanties. Though he could never quite explain it to his family, Corryn saw a wonderful simplicity of form in these crude melodies, as though the patterns of even the most complex musical structures could be boiled down to these simple chords and blunt sentiments. He would later find that this natural affinity for musical pattern was his way of channelling the magical gifts within him, though this was not a gift that any of his family shared. It is rare that any of Corryn’s songs sounds quite the same twice, but despite this, he seems capable of investing his music with the power to amuse, confuse, inspire and heal those listening.
Corryn’s family travelled, as many Halflings do, on the waterways between the human city states. The family barge was a brightly coloured affair, festooned with flags and garlands, and guaranteed to draw attention as soon as it pootled into town. Unfortunately, the conspicuousness of the family home was also to attract tragedy. One overcast day, when Corryn’s father had lead their boat down the wrong tributary, the family found themselves sailing down a narrow canyon, far to the North-East. His mother was concerned, but his father, ever eager to keep spirits up, suggested a sing song to help pass the time. From the dark places in the canyon walls, hateful eyes watched this gaudy craft pass by and listened to the joyful songs. The drow, dark cousins of the elves and eladrin, hate all that they love; beauty, nature, laughter (except in spite) and especially song. Corryn would later find out that some elves even refer to the drow as iynisin, which roughly translates as “unsingers”. The barge never left the canyon, and since washing up in the wilderness, half-drowned and heart-broken, Corryn has avoided travel by boat as much as possible.
Corryn has honed his musical and magical skills since that day, roughly 5 years ago. He has spent much of his time since then travelling, adventuring and entertaining in the North and East; mostly in the duchies of Argosia, Athenia & Thebes. Around a month ago, Corryn found himself in the small independent town of Locris towards the Western edge of the human lands. Stopping at Locris’ largest rat-hole tavern, he began his material about the Duke of Corinthia, his mother and the troglodyte, which had gone down a storm elsewhere, when he was suddenly grabbed by guards and frog-marched to Lord Maybury’s residence.
After a stern talking to from a guard captain, whilst a jailor fingered a black hood ominously in the background, Corryn was given a few political pointers and physically thrown out of the grounds. Deciding it was an expedient time to move on, he put in one final command performance at another busy tavern; targetting Lord Maybury of Locris, his sister, and her reputed love for bullywugs, then left in a hurry slightly ahead of the watch.
Corryn’s next stop was Laconia, and after a few weeks spent working on his new Lord Locris routine, it was so filthy that even the hardiest of dwarves would blush at points. A few days ago, leaving the tavern he’d played the previous evening (it hadn’t been a good night; some idiot amateur had interrupted all night, telling appalling made up tales of “evil beasts” he’d fought in the wilderness), Corryn spotted two guards in familiar Locris garb talking to a young street urchin. The sharp-eared halfling overheard the young girl saying: Ee’s in there mister. I seed ‘im go in last night… Can I have my copper now?, and had time to see the guard cuff the urchin and send her sprawling in a doorway, before disappearing up a side alley.
Deciding that it’s definitely time to take an extended vacation, somewhere without so many humourless nobles, Corryn has wheedled his way onto a trade barge, travelling to the newly settled far-Western township. Unhappy as he is about being on water, the barge is heading about as far from the Duchies as it’s possible to go, and the lands to the West, which have barely been explored for two to three hundred years, are bound to be filled with adventure, excitement and new material.