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new NPC villain / antagonist.
IP: 90.255.77.140

A new villain has arrived in Shaman.

Esther-May is a seemingly normal old lady. Grey and wizened, she appears frail and harmless to those who meet her for the first time.

All, however, is not as it appears.

Esther is an Immortal One, a powerful wingless fairy from the beginning of time. Her exact magic is unclear, but she seems to have the ability to conjure things which fairies desire and she is a master potions-maker. She lives in a huge, gothic mansion which has been erected on one of the Peaks and sells her wares from there, rarely if ever venturing out. Anyone can see her to obtain things they want - perhaps a familiar, a special item, magic, or even unique goods not found in the shops or power bank. Esther's ability to grant these things does not seem to be restricted, although her wares come at a high price. In exchange for her services, Esther takes children.

Anyone who comes to Esther seeking to exchange a child for her services must sign a contract which states that Esther owns the child and its soul. There are two types of contract:
- Those which expire when the child turns 16 years of age, and
- Those which never expire.

Each contract does have a small-print section which gives a way for the contract to be broken and the child to be freed. This is always something which can only be undertaken by the child (assuming they know what it is - Esther keeps the contracts locked up, safe and sound) and is unique for each child.

Esther is only interested in taking children under the age of 10, and prefers them the younger the better. She isn't bothered about where the children come from. Those coming to see her can either offer her their own child or one they have stolen from someone else. As such, the number of kidnaps of young children has risen dramatically in Shaman. Enterprising pirates have started snatching and selling children to anyone wishing to receive services from Esther. Parents are becoming increasingly worried and watchful of their young ones. Orphans are most at risk.

The children Esther takes must stay with her in her mansion and work for her. The older ones care for the younger ones, who begin work as soon as they are able.

It is not clear why Esther only takes children in exchange for her goods, but it is clear that the work performed by the children is essential to her. Many hundreds of years ago, Esther did a deal with the Council of Originals which enables her to work without their interference. Even the gods cannot stop her. Esther's familiar, a black wolfdog named Bane, acts as a guard dog in the mansion and is hated and feared by the children.

Esther is an NPC who can be used by anyone in their posts. If you want your character to do a deal with her, post on the Impetus board in character for her and a member of staff will play her for you. She also provides a new character-playing opportunity; anyone can play a child character who has been given to Esther and who works for her in the Peaks. If you want to do this, it is entirely up to you what your child's contract is like, how much freedom they have (e.g. to travel the rest of Shaman) and what type of work Esther has them doing. There is complete flexibility here, as Esther treats all of her children differently. You might want to play them with or without cuffs/tags; as desperately seeking to find their 'freedom clause' in the contract to free their souls; as raised to be obedient towards Esther; as imprisoned in a dungeon; as free to roam Shaman and collect herbs for her potions - whatever you like! Characters who seek Esther out don't necessarily have to be evil child-snatchers - they could be, for example, an incurably sick young woman who offers her first-born child in exchange for health and life. It could be a very impoverished family who sells one child in exchange for the money to take care of the rest.

Esther is (naturally) a particularly dark and hated villain, so may become the stuff of children's nightmares or the bad guy in stories/nursery rhymes.

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