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by Sarah Rosanna Busch 2 months ago in Fantasy
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Temerity, the tone-deaf tiefling bard, is daughter of a demon and loves 'literation

This biography can be found on the book jacket of many tomes found throughout the Library of Lore.

Though Temerity may struggle to carry but the simplest of tunes, few weave words as wonderfully as she. She has travelled far and wide, telling treasured tales of peasants and paupers as often as of adventurers and aristocrats. For this she was welcomed warmly when she showed up at the Library of Lore seeking to master the magic of musings and music. In just a few short years she has done much to further our cause, by adding her own stories to the bardic collective and by breathing new life into the ones she's learned from us here.

Most people quite enjoy listening to Temerity's recitations, so long as she sticks to oration accompanied by just two or three chords. Or, better yet, by a simple rhythm tapped out on a drum. Unfortunately, there are always a few ignoramuses who shout vulgarities and throw rocks at her while she performs. It's likely they are trying to egg her into retaliating with hellish rebuke, in order to "justify" their hatred. For the most part, Temerity refrains from summoning the fires of hell upon her aggressors, knowing it would only exacerbate the problem for her kin. It does dissuade her from performing anywhere for too long, however, keeping her show on the road, so to speak.

The followers of Lilitu stand against her based solely on her appearance, which they point to as if it somehow informs morality. Temerity's crimson complexion and bright blue hair are accepted easily enough, if with an eye-roll at times. In this age, anyone with a few coins can change their colours on a whim. But her infernal heritage is clearly marked by the ram-like horns that curl out of her forehead, the long spade-tipped tail that lashes around her legs, the sharply-pointed fangs that show with every smile, and the faint bouquet of brimstone that wafts around her while she walks. Or maybe it's her pupil-less black eyes that get under people's skin.

Regardless, any reasonable person will recognize that Temerity's appearance is no fault of her own. It is well known that Asmodeus, overlord of the Nine Hells, placed this curse upon the tiefling bloodline eons ago, condemning generations to pay for the sins of their ancestors. Temerity seems to take it all in stride, however. She even finds amusement in the most carefully crafted insults, and is always at the ready to engage in a war of wits. That's not to say she tolerates injustice. Quite the opposite, in fact. She'll point it out at every opportunity, even when it would be in her best interest not to do so. She seems quite dedicated to spreading truth to all with open ears—the truth as she sees it, that is.

Of course, this was before all that nasty business with the Jarl, for which he still wants her head. In case you're unsure of what I speak: Our dear Temerity used her bardic blessing to charm the Jarl of Yawn into negotiating a trade agreement with—rather than attempting the genocide of—the wood elves in the Valley. The Jarl is so dull-witted she undoubtedly would have gotten away with it too. But none with her self-appointed moniker could resist publicly revealing such a successful scheme. Temerity chose to do just that, in song, at the Jarl's "victory" banquet.

Not only did she sing a confession of her coercion, but she went on to reveal the lies the Jarl himself had spread to instigate conflict in the first place. It was a clever trick on her part because it prompted the Jarl's people to renounce him, ensuring he'd have no support when his mind turned back to murder. The consequence was that now all his unspent wrath was aimed directly at Temerity. Luckily, she managed to escape with only a slap across the face—slipping away while the Jarl doused the resulting flames from his trousers. But now he has placed a bounty on her head and is demanding her dismissal from the College.

As far as we are concerned, Temerity did her job admirably, except for one thing—rather than recite her story to the strumming of her lute, she sang it. By all accounts the only time she wasn't flat was when she was sharp. That is something we can't abide. The dangers are far too great. So, for her safety as much as our own, Temerity has been relegated to the stacks to translate long forgotten histories into the common tongue. She now compiles tomes for the more performative bards to draw inspiration from. Fortunately, she seems quite pleased to do so. Most likely because she understands the power in influencing which stories get told and how. We're sure it will be fine though. Her wit may be wicked and sense of humour dark, but her heart is good and moral compass true. The alliteration may be immoderate, and has proven quite infectious, but we leave her to it for fear she'd turn to rhyme without it.

On behalf of the Bards' College of Lore—and bards everywhere, frankly—we are sorry.

Temerity is an original story based, in part, on the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. It is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.


About the author

Sarah Rosanna Busch

I am a writer, illustrator, and software developer. I'm here to exercise my writing skills through short stories of fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi. Learn more about me at

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