TANIKA GRAYLOCKPlayed by Beth Dupke
Tanika Graylock was born on the island of Marckwild, in the Baronies of Bael Nerath. Her elven mother was first mate of a trade ship that was lost at sea twenty years ago, when Tanika was eight. Consequently, Tanika was raised by her father, a human named Leyton Graylock. He was an innkeeper in the town of Dragonfall until about ten years ago, when he was arrested for sheltering a wanted felon, hauled away in chains by the Dragovar, and imprisoned in Zardkarath.
Tanika tried to win her father’s freedom by appealing to Baron Yorgen Krell, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. She has since come to believe that Baron Krell knew Tanika’s mother intimately, and that he secretly despised Leyton Graylock for taking her away from him.
Tanika tried to run the Red Quill Inn in her father’s absence, but she couldn’t bear it. She entrusted the inn to a family friend and left to pursue an adventuring career, hoping to amass sufficient gold to bribe a magistrate or Dragovar official into securing her father’s freedom. But adventuring proved more dangerous than she’d anticipated, and the career led her to make more enemies than friends. In the end, one of her adventuring colleagues—a human wizard named Nilus Kosteran—stole most of the party’s loot and used it to buy his way into Sea King Senestrago’s good graces. Dispirited and angry, she landed on the shores of Mheletros two years ago. There she found a job as a guard in the fortress-prison of Zardkarath. Although she spotted her father among the prisoners, she did not confront him for fear of jeopardizing her cover.
One year ago, Tanika was instrumental in thwarting a prison riot. One of the wardens, a cruel dragonborn named Drax, noticed her skill with weapons and elevated her from the common dregs to the Adamant Fist—a elite corps of prison guards. For the past year, she has quietly proven her mettle by performing her duties with distinction. On occasion, she has left the prison on missions abroad to escort prisoners to Zardkarath.
Three months ago, a Dragovar wizard named Belaxarim came to Zardkarath to inspect the prison and meet privately with the island’s dragon overlord, Mheletros. A githyanki witch accompanied the wizard. At the conclusion of the visit, Tanika was brought to Warden Drax’s office. Evidently, as a security precaution, the githyanki witch had probed Tanika’s mind and learned of her reasons for being on the island. Before leaving the island, Belaxarim urged Drax to dispose of Tanika. Instead, Drax decided to spare Tanika’s life and even offered her a chance to buy her father’s freedom. Tanika suspected the Drax secretly loathed the wizard, hence the refusal to heed his advice.
“Our beloved dragon overlord,” said Drax, “has promised to deal with the empire’s worst criminals. Serve me for one more year, do everything I say, and your father will leave here a free man. Until then, he will be safe.”
Tanika sensed Drax’s earnestness, and she also detected an underlying threat. If she declined his terms, her father, who had little value to the Dragovar, would almost certainly be killed, and she would either be dead or on the run.
For the past six months, Tanika has helped maintain order in Zardkarath and undertaken missions to bring new prisoners to the fortress. A couple weeks ago, Tanika was called into Drax’s office once more.
“We’ve lost a prisoner,” said Drax. “An eladrin named Alethia. She was a known member of the Knights of Ardyn. I’m told that magic was instrumental in her escape. Our priests tell us she's west of here, on a small island called Kheth. Ah, I see you've heard of it. I want you to find her and bring her back—alive, preferably. Work with local authorities to arrest anyone who may have been involved in her escape. Go.”
Seeing this as her best opportunity to prove her usefulness to Drax, Tanika assembled a team comprised of four other members of the Adamant Fist and headed out for the neighboring island of Castanamir to secure passage on a tradeship headed west. Her team members included three male dragonborn (Brevarr, Iovad, and Tenahn) and a female tiefling named Hacari Sarzan.
Tanika and her retinue were dropped off at the fishing village of Tyrak’n and, wearing cloaks to hide their uniforms, began questioning the locals about a mysterious eladrin woman seen in town recently. . . .