The Dragon Crisis
Attractive performing bard who had to temporarily flee her hometown and decided to try her luck in the tales of the riches in the city of Phlan she had heard and sung about.
Ashanti was born to the owner of Lightsinger Theater in Castle Ward, nestled in the “City of Splendors”, also known as Waterdeep. Her father is the opera director and owner, Cyrus Stonearm and her mother is leading lady of the Lightsinger Theater, Arienne Whitedove. After being the “fickle flirt” of the theater for so long, she finally agreed to marry director Cyrus. Their daughter, Ashanti is not so fickle as her mother. She showed promise in the theater at an early age, performing on her father’s stage as a child. Cyrus sent her to the New Olamn Bardic College, while at the same time Ashanti grew into a fine and beautiful actress on her father’s stage. The drama professor at the college was Phyris Wintersteel, the toast of high-brow patrons and nobility and the finest male actor in Waterdeep. The college was not cheap however, and Cyrus had become deeply in debt over Ashanti’s education as well as keeping the theater alive, although he never let his daughter know of their financial hardships. He relied heavily on the investing patrons that frequented his theater productions. One of the patrons of the theater was a new merchant in Waterdeep, the retired wizardess Aurora…who had established a magical retail organization to supply a wide number of customers across the North with specialized magical items. Ashanti had become quite interested in her wares, volunteering to help Aurora set up her new shop in Waterdeep.
Another investing patron to the theater was Saer Larr Stormont, who was rumored to be a Masked Lord in Waterdeep. In attending all of the theater’s productions and seeing Ashanti’s blossoming rise to stardom, he had become quite taken with the young woman and began to secretly court her, bringing her flowers and trinkets backstage. As he was quite a bit older than she, he was not sure how her father would take the news, so he wanted to find the time to break it to him gently. But Cyrus was pleased to see his daughter so happy…not to mention pleased at the social status of her chosen suitor.
The situation soon became difficult for Larr and Ashanti, however. There was an underground organization that was trying to discover the identity of the Masked Lords to threaten them into voting in their favor on council rulings. After Larr was seen bringing flowers to Ashanti at the theater by an underground spy, they put a plan into action to kidnap Ashanti backstage after a performance, and then threaten Larr to comply with their demands. That evening, Ashanti wasn’t feeling well and her understudy performed in her place. She was then mistaken for Ashanti and kidnapped. When Larr discovered what had happened, he quickly went to visit Ashanti to warn her. He knew the villains would never stop until they either found a way to get to Larr or were captured and brought to justice. He pleaded with Ashanti that she must go away for a while and no one except he could know where. He gave her the name of an innkeeper in the city of Phlan and some money…plus a promise, “Take this ring as my promise to you that one day this turmoil will be over and we will be together. Remember that I will always love you.”