The Tale of Sable Badger

Merry Christmas, everyone! I know I haven’t posted anything in a while, and it’s because I’m in the middle of a few projects, both some standalone and some retoolings of the Biomancer story. There will be more news to come soon. In the meantime, I figured I’d post a backstory I wrote for a Starfinder character. Had a lot of fun writing this, and I think this won’t be the last story you see of Sable Badger. Enjoy!

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Sable Badger was far from the first of his kind; he grew up in a long line of badgers on Esmia, a small moon orbiting the Gas Giant of Skain. In their community, they lived in Badger’s Haven, a village hollowed out of a great fallen tree in the Kingdom of Teorid, a kingdom of men.

Sable Badger was, from his birth, a protector of Badger’s Haven. He was born on a night with Skain in full view, and Skain’s Eye looking to the village. His mother, Voiceless Badger, birthed him in an open meadow outside Badger’s Haven. He was born with black fur, unlike his mother and most others, who had white backs and heads. The people said he was cursed, he would not survive the winter, but Sable Badger proved them wrong by becoming a protector of the great tree of Badger’s Haven.

He would stalk the woods around his home, looking for anyone seeking to threaten it. He would occasionally fight off a Zhalazog or a Baktek, perhaps the occasional Dalgric. Once, though, he found a Zencor, and never dared to approach it. Thankfully, it continued on its path. Sable Badger never told anyone of that day, lest panic ensue and his bravery be called into question. As far as Sable Badger was concerned, he was the bravest of all. Secretly, he wished he was called Bravest Badger, but he never got to complete his great act of bravery before… they came.

One fateful night, on the eve of Skain’s full view, when Skain’s Eye was looking to the stars, away from Esmia, the shadow-men came. They descended from the heavens with a sickening roar, and Sable Badger climbed the tallest tree to see what caused the noise. Angry red eyes shone down at the world from great black shapes in the night. He looked just in time to see the far-off city of Teorid explode in a horrible red fire. He could see a light come from one of the angry black eyes in the sky before it exploded, and he knew they were to blame.

Sable Badger ran to Badger’s Haven to warn them, but the men had already come. Shadow Men. Vicious night-skinned men with impenetrable skin of obsidian and weapons of death. Fire shot from their weapons, killing his people without a second thought. One larger than the rest, covered in spikes with a glowing red eye like those above, wielded a fiery sword that cleaved through the tree, through the walls, and through his family and friends. He called this one Tallest Shadow Man.

In a panicked fury, he dove down, clawing at the head of one, and another shot his back leg. A rage boiled inside him that he had never felt, and he leapt at his assailant, tearing his impenetrable skin open and carving into his meaty underbelly. He ran from man to man, ripping and tearing, feasting and rending, before the rest of the Shadow Men fled.

Sable Badger ran through Badger’s Haven looking for his mother, and found her under foot of Tallest Shadow Man. The man took his flaming sword, and plunged it into Voiceless Badger, and Sable Badger flew at him. Before he reached Tallest Shadow Man, he had disappeared. Nothing but red dust lingered in the air where the leader had once been. Sable Badger cried for his mother, for his village, and for his unsatisfied vengeance, for the unsatisfied souls of Badger’s Haven, never to rest until he found Tallest Shadow Man and brought him to justice.

The next morning, Sable Badger left the ruins of Badger’s Haven. It was no haven anymore to him, so he redubbed it Badger’s End. He moved through the woods, out of the forest, across the plains, and to the city of Teorid. He had seen it explode, but the damage didn’t grasp him until he reached it.

The city laid in ruins, charred husks of buildings and lost souls all over the city. The men of Teorid were generally not considered a threat to Badger’s Haven. They would come to trade their wares, commonly food, and most considered them nice, if not beneficial.

But now those traders, the farmers and builders, their homes all were gone. He lamented their loss, left the city, and crossed the plains. He crossed the mountain pass, the snowy plateau, and a dark, scary, unknown forest full of demons and lost souls. He dubbed it the Forest of Death, since he couldn’t find any badgers there to name it.

On his travels, he came upon a small village of men by an ocean, like the men of Teorid, and he joined a sailing vessel who boated out to an island of men that wore strange clothing with structures Sable Badger had never conceived of before.

The sailors, with a small team of island men, invited Sable Badger onto a silvery metal ship they claimed would sail them to the stars. He wasn’t sure of this, but had nothing left to lose. He had lost his home, seen the destruction of the largest city he had ever known, and crossed through the Forest of Death.

In the silver star ship, Sable Badger joined the crew into space, and he watched the ground below him grow smaller and smaller. Before long, he could see across the water, see the black forest, and see all the way to the forest he had known as home so long ago. Then, the land curved, and grew small, into a tiny ball floating in the stars.

Sable Badger joined the crew to the station on what he knew to be Skain, but they called Balilea 8 (they also called Esmia Balilea 8D). He lived in a great floating city in the swirling clouds of Skain they called Shaarius Station. There, he joined a club of people who taught him their ways of fighting, which he adapted into his badger style.

A shaman of a tribe of men on Esmia taught him the ways of what his people called a berserker, wild, angry men who would wear the skin of bears and channel their rage into combat. Sable Badger was pretty sure he’d already done that to the Shadow Men, but the shaman taught him to control it, hone it, and use it more effectively.

He left Shaarius Station with his crew of men, and journeyed to a far-off world where he now lives, opting to live in a small community of people near a forest, like he knew. The animals there don’t talk, and seem to be much more tribal than he. Men taught him that he and his kind were unique, made smart and aware by ancient forces, and that most badgers, most animals at all, were not intelligent like him. He’s accepted this, but still talks to the animals he meets, hoping he’ll find another like him. Until then, Sable badger protects his friends, lives the best life he can, and seeks out any who might help him find Tallest Shadow Man, so his mother’s soul can finally rest.

Desdemona Gunn

Desdemona Gunn is a transgender fantasy author. She's best known for the Biomancer Quintet. Find out more at DesdemonaGunn.com.