Elle was born Carra Goodwin in the town of Redkeep. She is the only child of her parent’s, Lorne Goodwin a highly respected and reputable scribe, and his wife Maribelle Goodwin. Her mother's maiden name was "Rensin" being the daughter of Amelio Rensin, the "savior of the west". To the general public her life in Redkeep was quite normal; loving respectable parents and Carra was always the center of their attention. Most days she could be found either with her father learning calligraphy or out running errands for her mother. As far as the rest of the town knew they were the perfect family with out so much as a spot on their shiny reputations.
In fact the only bad thing about her family that any one ever knew about was the tragic death of her brother when he was still a baby. They tried to have another son but after years of trying her mother gave up and refused to try anymore. This was a very low blow to her father’s esteem for he was the last Goodwin and wanted a son to carry on the family name. Lorne blamed his wife for ending the Goodwin line and this blame eventually led to quiet resentment and hatred; which Maribelle Goodwin had no problem returning. But since they were part of ‘the higher society’ they refused to separate or even let their hatred of each other be known to any one. So they continued the façade of their happy marriage when ever they were out of the house.
This left Carra stranded in the middle of their brewing anger. Until she was about 6 she was mostly just ignored when at home. She was given the necessities by her parents; food, clothes and a comfortable home, but not much else. When she was old enough she was given chores to do. Her parents were obsessively particular about the appearance of their home since they had so many visitors, so it took her a good part of the day to keep the house clean. But she was a hard worker and didn’t complain even when she was later asked to start running errands for her mother who didn’t seem to do much else other then sit around the house or occasionally sew a dress.
Then around her 9th birthday she was cleaning in her father’s study and accidentally knocked over a vase that was on the table next to his desk. It hit the floor and shattered to pieces. She felt bad about it, but cleaned it up, finished the rest of her chores and left to deliver some letters for her mother. When she returned that night it became very apparent that the vase she broke did not go unnoticed as she had hoped. When she walked through the kitchen she suddenly felt a searing pain in her lower back and when she turned around to find the source it was her father standing behind her with a red hot poker in his hand. She had never in her life seen that look of rage on either of her parent’s faces, nor had she ever been struck by them before. Unfortunately before the night was over Carra found herself thrown and locked in her room in complete agony and still smelling of burnt flesh. She had screamed for her mother a few times but when she didn’t come she thought she must have been out, but after being a lone in her room for an indeterminate amount of time her mother came. She was carrying a bowl of foul smelling liquid and some cloth. She said nothing but tended Carra’s wounds. She didn’t speak to Carra at all until she was leaving her room and all she said was that she would have to start wearing long sleeves so people couldn’t see the scars on her arms. No words of comfort, no excuses, and no apologies for her father’s actions.
When she woke the next morning she hoped it had all been a terrible dream, but when she sat up the pain from her wounds sticking to her bed sheets quickly reminded her it wasn’t. Her mother must have gotten rid of most of her summer clothes while she had slept because she couldn’t find anything that didn’t cover her from writs to neck.
After getting dressed she crept down stairs and into the kitchen where her parents were seated at the table eating breakfast. The site of her mother made her blood boil and all she wanted to do was scream at her but her father’s presence was enough to make her nauseous with fear and anxiety so she scampered back out and left the house with out breakfast.
For the next 6 months or so her life seemed to be back to normal, well as normal as being ignored by her parents could be, but she preferred it that way. Then very early one morning she was woken up by her father. He dragged her out of bed and said it was high time she learned a respectable trade. So she got dressed and followed him to his office and he told her that she was to learn calligraphy from him. She did learn a lot from him, but mostly she learned how cruel and obsessive he could be. When ever she made the slightest mistake he would strike the back of her hand with something that could best be described as a wire whip. In the beginning her hands were so swollen and bloody by the end of each day that she could barely hold a quill let alone scribe anything that was legible. But eventually over the course of the next year or so she became quite accomplished for her age and even started doing some of her father’s work for him.
She made the mistake once of asking him directly about why he seemed to hate her so much. Carra painfully regretted asking him almost as soon as she finished her question. She ended up with 2 black eyes and a broken nose before she could scramble out of his office and back to her house. A little later that evening her mother came into her room followed by a priest. Her mother warned her not to say a word about what had really happened and that the priest had been told she had gotten in a fight with a boy while walking home. She contemplated saying something anyway until she saw the stern look on her father’s face as he came in to check on her.
After the priest left he shut her door and sat down on her bed. He grabbed one of her feet before she could pull her legs away from him and he started bending her little toe backwards almost to the breaking point. He calmly sat there and explained that if she ever told anyone anything she would regret it more then the night she had knocked the vase off the table in his study. She nodded to him, and he let go of her foot and walked back out of her room.
She sat there for a long time rubbing her toe and contemplating what to do next. She was torn between her desperate desire to leave this hell hole, and the mortal terror of her father’s wrath if she was caught leaving. She got up and started to pace her room. She checked the door but it was locked as always. Finally she decided that if she didn’t leave right this minute she might loose the nerve to do it at all. So she wrapped up some clothes in her pillow case and climbed out her bedroom window.
When she hit the ground she took in a deep breath of satisfaction and headed toward the poorer side of town. It was a very liberating feeling not knowing or caring where she was headed as long as she wasn’t going to spend another night under her parent’s roof. Eventually she ended up finding a tavern in town that was still had a few patrons inside. After introducing herself as Ellenore to the barman she told him she was an orphan and had no where else to go. He looked a bit apprehensive at first but he and his wife agreed that she could work for them in exchange for room and board. The next several weeks were the best in Carra’s life. She got to sleep in as late as she wanted, eat when ever and what ever she wanted and she even got to venture outside the city a few times, something she had never done before. Tom and Barb, the owners of the tavern, loved having her around as much as she liked being there. Their bar had never looked so spotless and they even seemed to be getting more business then usual.
Unfortunately one day a few guards that were friends with her parents came in and immediately recognized her. She tried to deny it at first but it was no use, she looked too much like her mother. So she tried pleading with the guards and telling them how horrible her parents were. They were astonished that she would even say such things and wouldn’t believe her, so she turned to Tom and Barbra and begged them to do something but they thought it was best not to get involved. In the end she had no choice but to go with them because one of the guards picked her up and carried her back to her home kicking and screaming.
After a several minutes she realized it was useless to try and free herself and stopped carrying on. As they approached her parent’s home the same nauseous feeling started to return and her head began to swim. Just before they knocked on the door, she pleaded with them one last time to just forget they found her, but they wouldn’t listen. When they knocked on the door her mother answered looking slightly disheveled but quickly threw on a smile. They told her where they had found her and that she was trying to spread horrible lies about her and her husband. She gave Carra a look of total disgust and thanked them for bringing her back home safely.
After the guards left her mother came storming into the kitchen with out a word, walked right up to her and smacked her as hard as she could across the face. She screamed at her for a few minutes, calling her an ungrateful little brat then told her to go upstairs and wait for her father to get home. She looked toward the front door for a moment but then ran upstairs and shut her bedroom door behind her. She immediately turned toward the window but found that bars had been installed over them while she was gone. She was trapped, there was no way out, and when she began to think about what would happen when her father came home, she fell to her knees and threw up.
Several hours later she heard the all too familiar foot steps of her father coming toward her room. She started to panic and tried to push her dresser in front of the door to block it but it was no use, it wouldn’t budge. He burst through the door and quickly slammed it behind him. In his hand he was holding what looked like a riding crop but instead of it being made of leather it looked like steal or iron. Her father paced around her slowly for a few minutes then whispered in her ear that he was going to remind her who was in charge of her life. But instead of cowering or begging like she usually did, this time she stood her ground and actually managed to get one good swing in on him before he managed to pin her to the floor.
The next few days she was so swollen and bruised that she could hardly even move at all. But every time she saw her father’s black eye she felt quite proud of herself. It was the first time she was ever proud of anything she had done. The downside was her new found pride caused her to be punished more times then she could count over the next year or so mostly because she snuck out of the house almost every night and was caught almost as often. But the best part was she didn’t feel weak and powerless anymore, and every time he hit her she felt more pride and less pain.
As she got closer to her preteens she got better as sneaking out of the house and coming back unnoticed. That’s when she finally realized it was time for her to leave for good. Though she had gotten used to them, the beatings were getting worse and she was sure if she didn’t leave she might not make it to adulthood. She carefully planned every thing for weeks. And when the time was right she packed what she could carry, cut her hair to shoulder length, took money from her father’s stash and headed for the tavern she had spent the best month of her life in.
It had been over a year but Tom and Barb were happy to see her, even though she was sporting a black eye and a busted lip. She asked for their help to leave town for good and they suggested that she leave on the caravan in the morning and head for West End. So she spent what would be her last night in Red Keep laying awake in bed thinking of what she would do when she finally got to West End. That’s when she remembered about the scout’s guild there and decided that would be the best place to start.
Tom walked her to the gate the next morning, handed her some food for the road and wished her luck. She thanked him, gave him a smile and found a crate to sit on top of. As they pulled away she looked at Redkeep on last time, took a deep breath and never looked back at the city again.
When she arrived in West End a week later, she was so nervous she could hardly think. But she took a long deep breath, jumped off the wagon and walked, for the first time in her life, with her head held high. She wandered for an hour or so and after she felt she had seen as much as her empty stomach would let her she asked the first person she ran into where the scout’s guild was. She walked away feeling a bit silly because apparently she was standing right across the street from it when she asked.
She told the dwarf sitting at the front desk that she had traveled from Redkeep to train with them. She was raised by her grandparents who recently died and she wanted a change in her life. He seemed excepting of her story and told her to wait there while he found a trainer for her to speak with. Apparently you have to pass some tests before they let you join the guild and Carra was so nervous that she would fail she almost tripped over her own two feet just walking into his office. But in she quickly regained her composure and actually did quite well at most of what she was asked to do. They told her she would fit in just fine and showed her to a room she would be sharing with the other students.
Carra was so nervous that some one would recognize her that it took her almost the entire first year she was there to make any friends at all. But eventually her fears for the most part subsided and she became a very promising student. She continued to live at the guild for several years and when she turned 16 she felt ready to try and make it on her own. So she found and apt above an apothecaries’ shop that was cheap, and started her career as a scout.
Having a place to call her own was a very wonderful feeling for Carra. She loved the feeling of coming and going as she pleased, and doing what ever she felt like all the time. Unfortunately she quickly realized being a scout was not lucrative enough to pay the rent. So she forced herself to make money by taking up her least favorite activity; scribing letters and documents. She hated doing it because it was a constant reminder of what she had gone through to get this good, but it was more then enough to keep a roof over her head. So she continued to be a sort of free lance scribe even though sometimes in her head she could still feel a sting on the back of her hands.
She finally stopped worrying about her parents all together when she was about 18 or 19. She figured by now she looked much different then the young girl that left Red Keep so long ago. Plus she never once told any one who she really was, and no one ever questioned her about her childhood. And she would die a happy woman so long as she never had to see her parents or Redkeep for the rest of her life.
"We call her Little Knife. Hunts in dark place with spirit of Lynx. We all be here to walk together on path of blood. Sneak-sneak help us be safe with good eyes and quiet feet. Little Knife slay monkey-men and pig man. She not be blind to spirit world much longer. When Little Knife wake up, she be in many songs. Tomorrow will fear-fear Little Knife when she walks on path of blood." -Nakhara
It seems that if you live your life in the shadows you can see adversarys formed in every bit of shade. At least thats the only explination I can come up with for Elle, the thief I met in town. She clings to the shadows like a pup at the teat, but she has a sharp bite too. I am told that the only reason I survived that recent fight with the pig-man was her ... she struck the blow that saved me, and I guess I can deal with walking through a few shadows in grattitude. -Ethian