The Late Irene Adler
The Late Irene Adler was a gentle old woman who worked for Drake’s Inquisitions for a short time. Though her tenure was brief, her impact is still felt to this day.
Miss Adler lived her early years in the theocratic nation of Thrane: a difficult task for one of her race. Many years ago the Church of the Silver Flame, both the religious and political powerhouse of Thrane, conducted a brutal inquisition of all lycanthropes. The more zealous members of the church extended this inquisition to the Shifters, those with only a small amount of lycanthropic blood, and there is bitter tension to this day. This bitterness did not come close to touching Irene’s heart, however, as she was always kind to all, including members of the church.
Irene’s compassion soon lead her to the battlefields of the Last War, where she tended to the wounded as a field cleric. She had always had a talent for healing and a strong faith, and though she did not worship one god in particular she possessed small amounts of divine magic that the clerics of both the Silver Flame and Sovereign Host hold sacred: a fact that neither of the aforementioned would accept. During her time on the front lines she met a particularly stubborn Paladin of the Silver Flame who bitterly refused to take healing from a woman who who was not only a heathen, but also a half-blood. The man’s name was Spencer John Norton. Norton was horribly wounded, and Irene took his refusals in stride as she treated him to the best of her abilities. Though Norton lived, he lost a leg in the process, but gained something much more important: a wife. Over the months of treatment Irene softened his hard demeanor, and he came to see her as a beacon of light in the darkness all around him, discarding his mislead hate and retiring from active duty. While on the battlefield she also tended to a young Sigered d’Medani, forming a close bond with the soldier despite him being an enemy combatant.
Irene and Spencer lead a happy, full life, opening a small hostel and taking in those whom the war left without a home. This ended at dawn on the Day of Mourning, when Irene’s beloved husband came down with a sudden, fatal illness, and he quickly passed on. She knew she could not stay in the home they had made together, so she left to find a new future for herself, keeping only the clothes on her back, a small amount of money, and her late husband’s silver flame pendant. Though it tarnished over the years, she kept it on until the day she died.
Irene’s journeys eventually brought her to Sharn, where she helped those in need among the deeper gutters of the city. While there she ran into Drake d’Cannith, on the trail of a murderer that preyed on these unfortunate souls, and with her knowledge of the area and people under her care, the case was solved and the killer brought to justice. Impressed with the older woman’s compassion and courage, Drake offered her a job, one she gladly took: though she loved aiding those around her, what Drake had done with her help was a much greater good, one she wished to be a part of.
Miss Adler found 31 Traveler’s Row to be in a shoddy state, as Drake had embraced case after case for several months and left the place in poor shape. This quickly changed and in less than a week the place felt more like a home than the empty shell ever had. In addition she kept the books, kept Drake fed, and made all newcomers and customers feel at ease. Her great love of cats brought in several strays, which added even more comfort and hominess to the once cold business.
As time went on, more strangers came to reside at the dwelling, and Irene took them all in as if they were her own children. While Drake was the cold and distant father of the house, Miss Adler was the gentle and doting mother. She was especially warm to Anselm, who she felt needed the most attention and love, and she constantly helped him tend his disasterous wardrobe. She would always help him mend, alter and fit to his clothes, and in doing so taught him to sew very well. When she declared him ready to tend his own clothes, she gave him a small sewing kit, capped on either end with thimbles and marked with a small silver flame. He carries it with him to this day, both for practical applications and emotional significance.
Irene took ill several months ago, though she never voiced a single complaint. She slowly relied on Book more heavily for chores, Aldo for the books and Anselm for making sure Drake did not starve while consumed with a case. She spent most of her time in the study, with her cats, in the warmth of the sunlight coming through the window. She would look out upon Book’s Shelf, a soft smile on her face, consumed in her thoughts. And that was how she died, eyes shut, sun on her face, a very slight smile upon her lips.
As warm as her presence made the business, her absence has created an emotional void. Though Book does her best to keep things the ‘way Miss Irene would have liked it’, there are always constant reminders that she is gone, perhaps most notably being the silence. Irene was a lover of music. She had a beautiful singing voice that no one could resist loving. Because she was always shy of this she rarely sang in front of other people. She would sing happy songs alone while she worked, and very occasionally sad songs or long ballads around those she was closest to. She was often quoted as saying that anything worth saying was worth singing.
Despite the sadness of her passing and the emptiness you all feel, the bonds she formed are with you still, and the memory of her life always brings a smile in a sad moment.