Growing up in the large port city of Pylas Maradal in Aerenal, Etta had plenty of time to get into trouble down at the docks. She was an adventurous youth, full of spirit and cunning. She fell in with a group of fellow half-elves that regularly caroused around in the public houses that catered to the ever changing flood of foreign sailors. Her academically minded father hated that his only offspring was as rebellious as he was studious. They never had anything to talk about. Etta only seemed to see him when she had gotten just a bit too far in over her head and he had to come and fetch her from the local authorities. Usually it was all in good fun: drinking, gambling, sometimes singing. Occasionally she drank a bit too much and played her hands a bit too hard and the sailors started to figure out why she was so lucky at cards all the time.
As penance, Etta’s father would drag her to the temple of Kol Korran, the god of trade and travel. He hoped that the gods would be able to reach her when he had failed. Etta respects her elders (they’ll be around for awhile and she was willing to wait for her freedom), so she sat through the lectures and tedium of proper worship. Instead of being inspired to join a proper merchants guild, as was her father’s hope, Etta saw the vast possibilities of the open sea and a ship full of “creative” sailors.
Etta bided her time and watched the ships come in and out of harbor with a tad more purpose. She started to notice the cargos, the types of sailors, the people who needed a bit of a bribe here and there, and the business of making a profit out on the waves. She befriended some of the sailors who made port in Pylas Maradal frequently and had them teach her the basics of knots and sailing. She quietly went about collecting tidbits of information until her opportunity presented itself.
One night, Etta invited one of her “friends,” Gareth, who served on her favorite ship, The Lusty Dancer, to go out drinking with her. The Dancer appeared fairly respectable to most everybody, but her investigations had revealed that they supplied a fairly large portion of the black market goods for Pylas Maradal. Etta bought him drink after drink of whisky and listened eagerly to him complain about his captain and first mate. She made sure that everyone heard him make a fool of himself before she “helped” him back to his room in a tiny inn, far off from the docks through a maze of crowded and confusing back alleys. Bright and early next morning, she went down to the docks with her small pack of worldly possessions to see if the Dancer needed another hand. Imagine her surprise to hear that Gareth hadn’t come back to the ship for his shift. They were setting sail that morning and Etta offered to go along and work in his place. Having befriended most of the rest of the crew the captain permitted it, and she began her life at sea.
Ten years later she had worked her way up to second mate on the Dancer and had managed to collect quite a tidy little treasure. Her main skill was the ability to pick one or two choice objects from the ships cargo, make sure they never were listed on any ledger, and sell them for her own profit in port. But nothing lasts forever and the captain finally found out her game and put her ashore with just the pack she started out with so many years ago. Etta loves the sea, but the salty winds leave a sour taste in her mouth just now. She’s decided to travel the land for a while, to see what adventures she might find there.