Ash's human parents met on the Okulari Steppes. Her mother Bahar Tanay lived in Imzilut, and her father Conroy Tanwen came from Occam in Dunhill. Together they ran away from their families to start a trade route between Ionia, Alfinwald, and Fellport dealing in magical items of all sorts. Ash was a bit of a surprise, with her flame-red hair and skin even darker than her mother's, and she wondered if her parents adopted her at some point during their travels. Neither parent knew where the Elemental Fire influence came from to create Ash, but they didn't think much of it.
Ash grew up in a wagon, learning how to make stews, roast meats, prepare breakfasts, and even bake cookies using a campfire and improvised equipment. Ash could call flames from nowhere since she was a toddler, which helped in regulating heat during cooking. Her parents let her sell her cookies from a cart for spending money while they closed the deal on more lucrative items.
Eventually Ash could tell her parents kept information from her to hide their shame and fear. They became increasingly nervous as time passed, and Ash felt like she couldn't do anything to help them. She pushed herself to sell even more food while her parents traded in towns, eventually amassing a decent nest egg. When Ash was 15, her parents strongly suggested that she study at the College in Fellport to get better at magic and find a different life. They offered her the choice, but didn't really make it a choice. Ash enrolled the next week.
She took the usual array of first-year classes for undecided students, and she excelled at everything she tried. She settled on Transmutation, since she still loved to cook and in her mind cooking simply meant alchemy with food. She diligently studied magic for 3 years, visiting with her parents every time they stopped in town. She missed the road, but her studies helped keep her mind focused on her new life of research.
Soon after she turned 18, she received word that her parents died. She withdrew into herself away from her school friends and studies, eventually dropping out of formal classes. She tried to find out what happened, but the official story involved the horses spooking and taking the cart off a cliff along the Shore Road in Ionia. Looters took anything of value and left the horses and two corpses next to the shattered cart by the ocean. She knew that story smelled funny, but she couldn't find a path forward past it. And just like that, she felt alone and betrayed in a world that neither expected her nor seemed to want her.
Her funk blinded her to possibilities. Her old professors conspired to keep her busy and employed as an assistant if nothing else, hoping that lab work would eventually soothe her thoughts and bring back the promising student they saw in class. She performed her duties adequately, but nothing engaged her interest for long.
Six years later, she saw billboard postings looking for a new manager of The Philosopher's Stone Tavern, the best student hangout in the Undercampus. She had fond memories of several all-nighters in the Sitting Room or upstairs in a classroom-turned-lab space. She never stopped cooking, and she knew the basics of running a business. It seemed perfect. Her professors advocated for her, but she didn't get the job. She joined the staff as a cook, slinging burgers and baking bread and desserts for a while under the draconian (and culinarily boring) Ionian manager they hired, named Leo Xanthus.
The staff largely ignored Leo and followed Ash's lead in the kitchen, as she learned the menu inside and out and projected a strong leadership presence in the kitchen. Within six months the entire staff had enough of Leo's childish outbursts and impossible demands. They revolted, expelling Leo and strongly suggesting to the College leadership board that Ash be hired in his stead. They hastily agreed to avoid embarrassment, and Ash has been managing The Philosopher's Stone for the past nine years. She moved into a suite on the third floor and kitted out a couple of small lab spaces for personal use.
Ash still dabbles in the kitchen, experimenting with new dishes in collaboration with her team of chefs. She has a slate of assistant managers she trusts, which takes much of the day-to-day concerns off her plate. Ash maintains excellent relationships with many professors, especially in the Transmutation school, so she enjoys a great amount of leeway in running The Philosopher's Stone. She usually has a rough idea of what the students face from week to week, so she can provide advice, or not if the hopeful student caused trouble in the past. She has seen nearly every magical practical joke from every new class of students, and she'll tolerate one as a mulligan before slamming the jokester into the dirt, either verbally or magically. She enjoys a well-timed Otiluke's resilient sphere to prevent troublemakers from potentially hurtful shenanigans.
Ash wears her flame-red hair in undercut, and the longer hair at her crown stands up and dances like actual flames when her emotions run high. Her golden brown eyes flash with fire to match her hair. She normally has a magnetic personality and excels in witty banter, but her parents' unsolved murder still occasionally shadows her mood. She knows her business inside and out, and at 34 she has no intention of leaving the Philosopher's Stone anytime soon.
Fire Genasi Transmuter Wizard (Level 9) (Guild Artisan Background; War Caster Feat)
Str 8 Dex 10 Con 15 Int 18 Wis 12 Cha 14
Arcana +8, Insight +5, History +8, Persuasion +6