Pathfinder: Shadow of Chernobyl
Agnieszka Nowak was widowed young, her first husband marching off to a war from which he would never return. Between a small plot of land and a widow’s pension, she would never be poor, but nor would she prosper. Her stock in the village was not high; it was rumoured that her mother had been a witch and had simply disappeared one night when she was very young.
Agnieszka sought solace in those who would keep her company, generally outsiders and traders, and generally for only a few nights at a time. From one of those dalliances, with a man who claimed to be an envoy from far distant lands, came twins. It was immediately apparent how far distant those lands must have been. The two daughters could not have been less alike, nor more unlike their mother.
The elder had strange proportions, over-large eyes, and exceedingly long limbs relative to her height, but grew to be considered beautiful despite her unnatural looks. 1 Zuzanna married well, to a wealthy merchant, who kept her in rich gems and furs. (Sometimes, if her letters were to be believed, only in gems and furs…)
The younger daughter was hunched, and had mottled skin with patches of scars and scales which over time grew to a greenish colour. This contrasted with her bright yellow cat-like eyes. Puberty added insult to injury with a stubby pair of horns and a short, swishing tail. Magda quickly learned to wear baggy, shapeless robes and a large, wide-brimmed hat to avoid too much attention from newcomers to the village, but she was already known and scorned by those who lived there, from whom she received the mocking nickname “Smaragda”, or “Emerald”.
Magda left the village when she was able, and took on what work she could find as she travelled. She has been a healer, an archivist, and an apprentice apothecary, but except for two years following an army, has not stayed long in one place. Every time, suspicious stares and snide remarks inevitably escalated to thrown stones, daubed profanity on her walls, and eventually threats. Although not actually evil, it didn’t take long for Magda to become cold, unfriendly, and sometimes even pre-emptively cruel, expecting the same from others.
Depending on her mood, sometimes Magda considers Smaragda to be her true self – that she is defined by her green-ness. During these periods she is best avoided. At times when she goes by Magda, she is trying to hold on to her family, her past, and her hope for finding acceptance. She hopes that, among the strange phenomena and stranger folk, this may be something she might be able to find in the Zone.
1 – Out of character – consider how disturbing a human being with the actual facial and bodily proportions of a cartoon character would be…