Harlik Baranabas Kade
Harlik has few memories of his birth parents and none of them good. Born to refugees Harlik was procured by a “caravan of traveling marvels” at the age of seven. Whether he was rescued from poverty as an act of generosity or was purchased into servitude is a matter of how you view it. He grew up on the roads working the carnival as it moved from settlement to settlement. His adopted family was philosophical and colorful and he grew up immersed in tall tales and clever ideas. The impossible was always nearby, creeping just out of sight and just out of reach. The Family was close and violently loyal.
But The Show is always and forever an illusion and the customer forever the Mark. Deception of the masses was a religion to the carnies and Harlik grew to know this as second nature, seeing it as the underlying truth of the world. Upon sensing he was an adept an illusionist named Theadus Blackstick took on the tutelage of Harlik. Possibly because he knew he was training his replacement, possibly not, Theadus delighted in using humiliating tricks as teaching tools, breaking the code of the Family by casting his charge in the role of the Mark. Harlik weathered the lessons poorly in his teenage pride but learned a few things before growing too insolent at the abuse. Leaving good friends and the safety of his adopted family behind Harlik slipped away one night running away from the circus.
In the nearest big city he found his talent for the con allowed for an easy living dancing on the fringes of respectable society but he was ambitious. Living in poverty he invested nearly every coin he swindled into instruction at the Three Wands Academy. Remembering the grand stories he grew up on Harlik found himself aligning with the Ideals of the Wizard more than the Illusionist magic he had begun to learn. At the Academy he became friends with a precocious young windling named Zylaa after she somehow convinced him to enter a striptease contest. While Harlik was trying desperately to escape from his shady beginnings Zylaa was fascinated by them pestering him continually for more stories of his carnival life. Overwhelming his protests she pulled him continually into her pranks and schemes, endangering his precarious enrollment at the Academy. Despite this he was much more sad than relieved when she finally was expelled from the school (to this day she insists she ran away first). When the Academy’s Dean realized she had not gone home but instead left to join a carnival side show he was livid. Ranting something about the students’ safety being entrusted and the Academy’s reputation and so forth. The next few years at the Academy were productive but much less interesting. Despite his hard work Harlik never completely lost the taint of his association with his wild, windling friend.
Sometime before his studies were officially completed Harlik left Three Wands. He was learning a little less each year and the Academy was only too happy to continue taking his coin and using him to train the new students. Once on the road he found all the old thrills and wonder of his youth seeping back into him. Remembering Zylaa’s description of the Overland Trading Company he decided to see if he might find company and employment there. Perhaps he’d even find Zylaa again, Passions help him.
Character pic by adlovett on DeviantArt.