The Jewel of the East
The Quick Talking, Scheming, Bard
Alston’s grandfather, Alstair, was a merchant first, and a man of Lantan second. Trading the high manufactured goods of Lantan with Tethyr and Calimshan he sought every advantage he good, including learning something of the “invisible arts” of psychic talent. Truly, there is no better way to strike a great bargain than to know what the other side was thinking. However, above all, he traded in secrets. Knowing things was more valuable to him than any trade good, and he made excellent use of what he knew
Alston’s father, Algrove, tried to learn his own father’s craft, but was more a traditionalist. He spent most of the long voyages between the Sword Coast and Lantan reading on the sciences and engineering of his people. When the Spellplauge struck, Algrove, Alstair and their crew were stranded in Calimshan. Cut off from their trade routes, they sought other employment. In time, Alstair managed to build a reasonably strong trading house, running routes between Calimshan and Tethyr. However, Algrove grew increasingly restless during this time, eventually leading to a falling out between Alstair and himself as he married Alston’s mother, Talwyna, a former accountant on Alstair’s crew.
Talwyna and Algrove moved to Riatavin, far away from his father’s trading house in Calimport. Here he managed to become an instructor to the children of members of the council on some of the Gnomish arts. In time they had a child, Alston. His parents had high hopes of their son becoming a great scholar, in time forcing him into the College of the Eclipse to try and hone the psychic talents he inherited from his paternal side.
However, despite appearances, a scholar was not the only thing Algrove was. The expenses of paying for his son’s tuition and his own lavish lifestyle amongst the Riatavin nobility didn’t come cheap. In time, Algrove turned to his own father’s greatest trade – secrets. And no one had more secrets or was willing to be pay to keep them than the nobles of Riatavin.
Alston had ambitions of his own. Mostly involved gambling, drinking, and music – and he was good at these things. School, though, was hardly a talent of Alston’s, with the potential exception of history. Thought they would fight, Algrove never had the heart to cut off his son, tolerating his son’s excesses.
Alston’s free ride was cut abruptly short though when his father turned up murdered – found in bed with his throat cut, and his mother went missing. Terrified that he might be next, Alston ran from Calimport. With no supplies and no money, Alston quickly became desperate, that was until he came across a company of Gur performers traveling on the Amnish border.
Here Alston turned his gambling, histories, and music into a true art. For a time he thought it was his inherited psychic powers that gave him such sway over the audience, but soon after got drunk and never gave the idea a second thought. Utterly clueless about his arcane talents, Alston spent a few years learning to harness his skill with the audience among the Gur, and perhaps defrauding a person or two with his music and quick wit.
However, Alston’s time with the Gur was quickly cut short. After a rather bitter dispute over who should be the headline an upcoming show in Baldur’s Gate with the Gur leader – Rashemi – which resulted in Alston making the ill-advised to seduce and sleep with Rashemi’s wife in such a public forum that he, by design, was caught.
Unfortunately, he didn’t think the pack before this incident, so he fled, leaving behind his Bandore and most of his savings. Alston then headed north, unsure where life would lead him next, until he entered Loudwater…