Sea of Shards
Elris was born to the Septi clan of humans during a time of tremendous change for his kind. His childhood, on the Isle of Ravens near the southern RIm, was a fog of secrecy; the elder Septi laboured day and night on a clandestine project that would, they promised, make humans the supreme race of Allu. It turned out they were right, but not entirely to the Septi’s benefit.
Elris was a fiercely curious child, and the secrets of his elders only prompted him towards further investigations. At 7, he concealed himself in his grandfather’s council hall so he could overhear a star chamber meeting of Septi elders. He learned the nature of their project: black powder, also known as gunpowder. The alchemists of Shriekspire had stabilized their formula; but, as Elris overheard, the Septi had been betrayed by one of their own, and their secret had been sold to the Rapti.
Rather than go to war, the rival clans of humanity forged a chilly alliance. However, it was the Rapti, driven by ambition and their fervent worship of the goddess Jujani, who exploited black powder to the fullest, carving out an empire within one bloody generation. Well-connected through his family, Elris rose to a powerful position in the Rapti Empire, but inside he always resented how their power had been stolen from his own clan.
Like many of his kin, Elris focused his education on elemental science, although he is essentially a polyglot, absorbing knowledge on any subject he can find. He is a consummate eavesdropper, and proceeds through life assuming that everybody’s business is his own.
It was this trait which got him embroiled in a revolutionary plot developing in the Sea of Shards. Elris overheard a terrorist plot against the Overclaw in Old Simurgh, but rather than reporting what he’d heard to the Rapti, he brazenly confronted the group, known as the Spiral, in order to learn all he could about their methods and philosophies. When he’d learned too much of the Spiral, however, he realized that he could not report to the Rapti without becoming suspect himself.
The Spiral’s leader, a vishkanya sorcerer named Xarn, recognized Elris’s dilemma, and offered to engage him as a double agent. When his Rapti superiors seemed suspicious, Xarn whisked Elris away to Shardhold, promising the investigator that he could cook up an alibi in time.