Meet Lady Tanly. Once a handmaiden to Princess Rida, Tanly was present when orcan raiders attacked Pora Elinu, and was not only frightened by the ferocity of their attack but frustrated by the kingdom’s response.

When Rida began summoning reapers from the Lake of Tears to fight the orcans, Tanly felt betrayed by Rida, and lost faith in the Princess’s leadership. Tanly vowed to find a way for elins to strike back without corrupting their divine spark and left the ruins of Pora Elinu in search of a new life.

With no special powers or training, Tanly’s journey was difficult at first. But as time passed she discovered a talent for negotiation, and soon found steady work helping trade caravans arrange passage through contested areas.

For one trip, Tanly hired the mysterious human woman Marda as a guard. Tanly was worried that Marda was not skilled enough to protect an entire caravan by herself, and the brawler’s assurance that “I’ve got everything I need strapped to my back,” didn’t do much to boost Tanly’s confidence. But on the second day of the trip, the sight of Marda facing off against an orcan raiding party and their trained basilisks was all the convincing Tanly needed.

That night, Tanly snuck into Marda’s tent hoping to find the secret of the woman’s incredible power. Marda was waiting for her, and the two bonded over their past experiences with orcans. Marda explained how she drew strength from her childhood trauma when orcans attacked her village and killed her father.
When Tanly asked if she could learn to fight the same way, Marda shrugged and said, “I don’t see why not. You already know everything you need to about courage. All you lack is experience, and there’s only one way to get that.”

Marda then pulled a pair of battered and oft-repaired leather gloves from an equally maintained chest. Tanly leaned forward to examine the gloves and saw that the leather was infused with iron and chased with even more exotic metals. They were nothing like the ornate powerfists Marda had used to knock a basilisk on its back earlier in the day, but at the same time she knew they were more than just gloves.

They were freedom.

“I’ve been carrying these around for years,” said Marda, “I made them for a kid who…never got a chance to use them. I think maybe I knew a day like this would come, when someone else would have need of them.”

Tanly accepted the gift with shaking hands, barely able to contain her excitement. Slipping on the powerfist prototypes for the first time, she knew she’d made the right choice.

“How do they work?” she asked, the words barely louder than a whisper.

“They just do. I don’t know any other way to explain it. Just keep punching–the rest will sort itself out in time.”

And it did.