Everyone in the elfmarked lands knows Handy Sandi Darville. She’s an itinerant peddler who sells utensils from her colorful vardo, and whose cheery smile and generosity has won friends in villages and hamlets stretching from the River Court to far off Krakova.
Yet, as other travelers between villages have noted, she seems to be a different-looking person depending on where you are.
Her personality never changes. The elaborately trimmed vardo, her “Cart o’ Wonders” as she calls it, contains the same quality cutlery, utensils, and attractive curios wherever she goes. Her team—the mules Silas and Veronica—are the same. Her wardrobe is filled with all-purpose wraps and full dresses that flatter most body shapes and heights. And her spotless reputation for being helpful, courteous, and a fair-trader are bedrock traits.
But from town to town, whether meeting artisans or customers, her physical appearance shifts. She appears to the individuals in those towns exactly as she did the year before, but in the next one over, she’s someone else. She has a knack for recognizing everyone she’s met before, regardless of her appearance.
And people who have moved to a new village, and perhaps having encountered Sandi in another form, recognize her and think nothing is amiss. They accept her as she is.
Fellow travelers—other vagabonds, rovers, preachers, minstrels, and handymen—have noted the difference. Yet, there is a code of the road, that as long as one is neither a swindler nor a murderer (and sometimes, even then), travelers keep each other’s secrets. And they certainly don’t dig into another person’s past; that’s for them to decide whether to share.
A few have confronted Sandi about this privately, only to get a reassuring smile from the woman, a wink, and an offer for some sugary drop cookies made on her vardo’s cast-iron stove. She neither denies nor acknowledges the oddity, and they generally are charmed by her sweetness and noncommittal answers.
That leaves them to speculate: Is she a witch of some sort? A cunning rogue? Has some prince put a price on her head? Is she a dragon who favors the human form? Is she a mischievous fey or some other shapechanging creature? Was she cursed by a rival—perhaps the penalty for a love affair gone sour? Is she actually more than one person?
Those who don’t pursue Sandi’s secret—something she seems to intuitively know—find she is particularly helpful as a source of folklore, can provide sage advice on a number of subjects, stays fairly informed on the duchy’s current events, and can even perform some minor magics. As such, many seasoned adventurers are advised to be discreet in this matter, keeping Sandi on their good side.
While the guises Sandi dons are too numerous to detail fully, here are a few that travelers often recognize as being her.
- Upper middle years with short white hair and a chocolate complexion. She is tall with broad shoulders.
- Prime adult years, with mocha skin tones, short reddish-brown hair. Pear-shaped with a fullness in her upper arms and thighs.
- Middle-aged with gray hair of medium length, dark brown skin, medium height with a lean hourglass shape.
- Elderly, brown hair shaved close, light brown skin, thin and tall.
- Prime adult years, a brunette with hair reaching down the back, dark brown skin, short and pear-shaped.
- Young adult with long brown hair, fair skin, medium height with a lean long torso.
- Young adult with medium auburn hair, peach complexion, waifish and petite.
- Advanced age with short gray hair, olive skin, tall, big-boned and broad-shouldered.
- Upper middle years, long black hair with white streaks, pale skin, lean and long-legged.
- Middle aged, short orange hair with pale freckled skin, short and stout.
- Adult in her prime with short black hair, light brown skin, heavy-set and apple-shaped.
- Older adult with short hair, ginger-fading-to-white, pale skin with thin triangle-shaped body.