The House of Strahd
Earth Genasi Druid of the Moon
Slate-grey skin that sometimes peels and chips. Iron-black and rust colored hair. Eyes the color of Ametrine, an ocher colored gem.
Wears a necklace of a dragon talon on a leather cord. Onyx found the talon in the sands of the Calimshan desert as a child.
Jada RedOak traveled with a small group of mostly human, nomadic Druids. She was approaching the age of 20 when her tribe settled down near a river on the Marching Mountains. They discovered quickly that the area they settled was very close to an Iron mine. It was always noisy, and there were always men shouting curse words in Dwarvish. The mountains were known for their dark iron, so this was a common occurrence. Unfortunately for Jada and her tribe, this mining crew was much louder than your average group of men. One could almost call them barbaric. As a young woman that was very devoted to Silvanus and spent much of her time praying, this irked her. She was still a newly practicing Druid, and could not concentrate on her studies. Being a very charismatic young woman, her mother instructed her to head to the mine, and politely ask the men to speak more quietly as to not disturb the forest.
She did as she was told, and upon arriving she had completely forgotten her task. Jada laid her eyes on the most handsome man she had ever seen. The man saw her, and Jada took off back into the pine woods. This went on for a couple days, Jada always forgetting her intentions as soon as she saw the man. On the fourth day, he spoke.
“Young woman!” He bellowed. “Come forth and dine with us tonight! We have plenty.”
Jada reluctantly said yes, agreeing only on the terms that the rest of her tribe could eat.
“Tell me your name, for I must know!” He bellowed again.
Jada said her name. “My name is Jada. Jada RedOak.”
“A beautiful name for a beautiful young woman.” He let out a laugh of satisfaction. “Of course your family may dine with us! Now go, and tell them of their great new opportunity!”
Later that evening, Jada and her small tribe walked the trail north to the mine. The banging and clinking had stopped. Instead of cursing, they heard rough, snorting chortles. The tribe was invited to sit at the campfire with the man in charge, the handsome man Jada had her eyes on. After hours of wine, food, music, and laughter, the mine workers and the tribe headed to sleep. Jada stayed longer than the rest. She was always the charismatic type, but there was something about this man that felt intimidating. It took a few glasses of wine, but she finally got the courage to ask, “What is your name? I can’t say I caught it after all these hours.” The handsome man boomed with laughter and said, “Ah, Jada! You wonderful, beautiful thing. It’s about time you asked! They call me الجني الذي يحكم الحديد (aljaniyu aldhy yahkum alhadid). For you my dear? You may call me Hadid. I’ll wear the name proudly for you.” He gave her a sly grin and a wink. Hadid stood and asked for her hand. They danced to the sounds of the mountain, and that was the last Jada remembered.
Jada woke in her own camp the next morning, sore and foggy from the night prior. After a dip in the river and prayer to Silvanus, she started to feel like herself again. It wasn’t until a few hours later that she noticed there weren’t any sounds coming from the mine. Heading up the mountain, on the same trail she took for the last few days, she came upon the mine entrance. It looked abandoned. It was abandoned. There was no trace of anyone. No cursing, Dwarves, no Hadid, no iron ore. No anything. Jada went back to the camp, feeling rather dismal. She checked the next day. Nothing. She checked back the day after. Still nothing.
The next three seasons held grueling climates, earthquakes, and out-of-season snowfalls. Jada couldn’t help but feel that every time her belly got bigger, something major happened. One week it was the small earthquake of the Alamir Mountains. Then it was a raging dust storm of the Calim Desert. Lastly, it was hail that fell so hard on the Marching Mountains, that Jada’s tribe had to hide in the abandoned mine shaft. Jada’s mother prayed to Silvanus that this creature inside of her daughter wasn’t a demon. Silvanus would answer her prayers. Through these disasters, no one would be injured, and no one would perish.
After nine months of earthly disasters, Jada gave birth just after sunset. The baby girl had grey, flaky skin, and thick hair coming in, the color of dark iron and rust. Jada held her, moments after the delivery. She looked into the baby’s eyes. The babe had eyes the color of ametrine, similar to a sunset. “Your name will be Onyx, my dear.” She said. “Onyx Hadid RedOak. My Rock. My Love. My Family.”
Onyx woke to her mother shaking her shoulder. “My Rock, you must wake. It is time for the funerals.” The realization hit her. Too many people died, and too suddenly.
Onyx was coming of age, and she had never seen a city. It was normal for her tribe to bring children to see civilization as they came into adulthood. They gave Onyx a choice. She picked Nykkar. The only city she had ever known of within walking distance.
She saw nothing but tragedy. The people there only told stories of those that died, looking on the brink of death themselves. Those that were younger stared. They had never seen anything like Onyx before. This city was the story of death. More rats roamed the streets than people, and the smell of rot and death hung in the air. The death and the stories and the stares made her nervous. She was never one to talk or express her feelings, but it didn’t take longer than a couple hours of exposure for her to tell her mother, “We need to go. I want to go back home.”
Jada tried to convince Onyx that not all cities were like this, and that she should explore when she felt comfortable. Onyx looked at her mother. “I’ll go when I’m ready.” She laid in bed, as she heard the soft coughs of her tribes in the next tent over.
It wasn’t until a full tenday of the coughs and sickness that Onyx realized what was happening. They had the Filth Fever. This was a common sickness amongst the mines her tribe lived near, but always managed to avoid. Onyx blamed herself. She kept to herself and focused on her studies. She didn’t want to take the blame for this. She couldn’t. Onyx studied. She prayed to Silvanus. She cried.
It was during the second tenday that Onyx couldn’t deny that her tribe was dying.
After the extensive funerals, Onyx and Jada traveled north. They walked for days, mourning the loved ones they lost. Jada had her heart set on going to the Misty Forest. She knew of other druid settlements, and figured that she and her daughter would have a good life there.
Upon arriving, Jada and Onyx were taken in by a small nomadic group of druids. This felt like home, and they settled in.
It wasn’t long after joining their family, that stories of werewolves in Daggerford started surfacing. Wolves had always interested Onyx, but a werewolf? Onyx had only heard of these creatures in myth. She knew that these creatures weren’t natural, and anything that disturbed the nature disturbed her. She knew this was her calling. With what few items she had, she kissed her mother goodbye and set for Daggerford.