Name: Noemi

Race: Syndar

Class: Cleric

Gender: Female

Age: 23

Hair: Dark Brown

Eyes: Purple

Appearance: skull painted on her face, large horns on each side of her head.

I grew up alongside seven other Syndar who looked like me. Their parents took me in on the condition that I would be seen, not heard, speak only when spoken to, and that I must be sure to make myself useful. When the time came and the other children built their first altar they carved them meaningfully out of stone on a small cliff side surrounded by their friends and family. It was celebrated as it should be with sweets and flowers, music and dancing. When they painted their faces, they did so with beautiful pigments and paints made from the flowers in our mother’s garden.

I built my first altar alone at the bottom of a tree using a plate I stole while doing dishes and some dirty weeds I plucked from the garden. My face was painted as it always been with the ashes and soot of my cooking fires. The other children grew up as children should, surrounded by joy and showered in love. Mother always told me I could have that too, if I could just be better. Father always told me he often forgets I am even in the house.

“Your face. Your clothes. Everything about you is just so forgettable, girl.” He would tell me, after he tripping over my legs while I put away their cleaned clothes.

“How can I possibly remember a thing like you is here, standing behind all my beautiful children?” He would ask me, as we walk away from the family ofrenda, my offering still dangling in my grasp because I could not reach the platform.

“With all that dark paint you just blend into the night, I didn’t even see you had fallen behind.” He would say, stepping out of the doorway to let me into the house after I had to find my way home alone from the yearly parade of the dead.

He can laugh and scoff, but I’ll make him remember me someday.

The only time I’ve ever had for myself is in the garden. I’ve always found peace in the flowers, in their bright colors, in the promises they make me. They show me lifetimes of beauty, from the day they fully bloom to the day they are ground into dust and used to color my family’s faces. Each flower more beautiful than the last, I admire them even as their ground bodies are washed from faces and poured back into the earth. They promise me that even something so small and insignificant can bring joy to the saddest souls. I meditate there often, surrounded by blooms and blossoms. Sometimes it feels wrong to meditate away from my altar, but the amount of time I have spent nurturing the flowers makes me feel like, in a way, the garden is my altar too.

I’ve often looked out to the sea. Its still waters show me the world outside this island and without much effort I can see the land to the north and west. There are times I would swear I can reach out and touch those not so distant shores. I want nothing more than to leave behind what I don’t have here, to find a life worth living on the bigger land. I don’t care if everyone who lives there are all the same as the only outsiders I’ve encountered, the ones who float by past our shores on large wooden boats, the ones our elders say will only bring us harm. They tell us stories about the savages that are native to the bigger land, how they fought the humans that came on the first boats, how they all think we don’t belong here. On that we can agree; I also think I don’t belong here.

I’ll make it out. I’ll touch the shores of the bigger land. I want to. I have to.

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