Panther's parents were simple, uncomplicated folk who toiled daily on their tiny farm in order to gain an honest living. As a child, Calisha used to love to visit the nearby wealthy city of Ishtir where she would wander the brightly-coloured market places, whose exotic goods she had no money to buy, and watch in awe as rich merchants and nobles passed through on the main trading route through the Jerassy Desert (since the route through the Evermoors no longer existed) in order to reach the Deep South. But over time she began to see the injustice that existed here...her family worked all the hours of the day and had nothing, yet these people did nothing but possessed wealth beyond her imagining.
She began to steal and pickpocket from the rich folk (without her parents knowing), seeing no harm in doing so to help her family. As her skills grew she started to learn how to fight from observing slave fights and the city's famous Fighting Pits.
The taxes set by the baron who owned her parents' land were raised one day and, to help them pay, Calisha 'upgraded' from pickpocket to robber, preying upon the unwary and those weaker than her. This change in behaviour, occurring as she reached adolescence was also due to the impending advent of her lycanthropic side and the rise of her predatory feline instincts.
That summer a terrible drought struck, and even with her thieving (of which her parents were still unaware) Calisha's family could not keep up with the taxes and so lost their land. Now homeless both parents succumbed to a plague which struck in the autumn, leaving Calisha alone in the world.
It was soon after this that Calisha first transformed into a huge panther as her were-panther side, present ever since birth, finally showed itself.
Hate-filled at the injustice of her parents' death as the baron who ruled the land just got richer and did not care, Calisha used her skills and new-found abilities to wreak her revenge, killing the baron. Stealing what wealth she could, including two jewelled knives, she left Ishtir and headed north towards the Lesser Wilds where she could hide from the bounty hunters sent after her.
Unfortunately the baron had powerful acquaintances, including links with the nefarious Hssaar snake-people of the Jerassy Desert whom he informed of precious cargos that might be passing through their lands so that they could rob them and give him a cut of the spoils. The jewelled knives had been a on loan to him from the hssaar High Priestess, Nresha. They were actually sacred sacrificial knives with special magical properties and Nresha wanted them back, sending some of her bounty hunters after the thief.
Unaware of this Calisha, now calling herself 'Panther' as she was wanted for murder (and it was generally easier to stay in hiding if you changed your name!) had teamed up with a small group of mercenaries. Fast, agile, lethal, ruthless and having the extra advantage of being able to transform into a six hundred-pound panther in a fight if she needed to, she easily earned her keep on the team, despite being a woman. Then she met two other mercenary lycanthropes, a were bear called Ursu and fellow were-panther Rhaka. Ursu was huge, powerful, not incredibly intelligent, but she took a shine to him as he proved to be a great friend. Rhaka was very much like herself and she liked that in him. Breaking off from her original team, she formed a new group with her two new companions.
Their friendship was strengthened when Nresha's hunters caught up with them. Panther, Ursu and Rhaka defeated them by working together to outsmart and overpower the Temple Guard hssaar. Nresha was not willing to admit defeat, though, and now - more than just wanting her knives returned - she wants Calisha and anyone she has ever had contact with dead.
Over time, as well as increasing greatly in skill, Panther's little group increased in number as they recruited several more lycanthropes along the way. They earned their livings by hiring their expert services to whosoever could afford their prices (and being shape-shifters they had more to offer than most mercs, so they could charge pretty much whatever they wished). Then an unusual lycanthrope calling himself 'Shade' joined them.
He was not like anyone Calisha had met before. As a child she had mainly mixed with street urchins in the city and hard but honest rural people around her parent's farm. After that it was other mercenaries who were mostly brash and self-involved.
He later revealed his name to actually be F'lair Hartland. Unlike almost any other mercenary Panther had met F'lair was quiet, not self-involved and did not revel in his shape-changing abilities or use the talent excessively when fighting. In fact, she would almost go as far to say that he was a nice person! The better she got to know him, the more she liked him until they finally became more than just friends. Panther had never truly known what love was before, but she now learned that it was something precious and, sadly, ever fleeting.
Rhaka had always had feelings for Panther, but now Shade had come along and the were-panther was jealous. Very jealous indeed. Whenever they were on a job he would give F'lair the most dangerous part to play, or the hardest work to do since Rhaka was second in command to Panther. Shade knew what he was up to and the two hated each other's guts. Eventually the rivalry came to a disastrous head when they had a fight, F'lair nearly killing Rhaka as his dangerous wolf nature got the better of him.
Although Panther loved the werewolf, her greatest fault was that she was governed by her head, and as such money always came top of her priorities. Her team provided her with this as being a mercenary was her livelihood. She knew that if Shade stayed then it would damage their capacity to work together, perhaps his presence would even split the group up. So she saw no choice but to tell him he had to leave, even though it broke her heart to do so.
Her wound, greater than any physical one she could sustain, stayed with her a long time and, although it never healed completely, she managed to banish her feelings for Shade to a place deep inside where she hoped they would never surface from. Over time she grew close to Rhaka and the two have been together ever since, although he is a lot harsher, more pushy and more brash in his character than Shade ever was. But what she has now is not love - what happened with Shade taught her that, as a mercenary, there was no place for that in her life - lust, perhaps, but not love for such emotions between team-mates could only lead to more trouble.
Since them the team has grown in size from just six members. Werefolk are a rare breed and so, to swell their numbers, they also have several degarii (cat-people) with them now. As always, they continue to sell their services and travel extensively across Caevalonia upon whichever missions they are sent on (or, at least, the ones Panther chooses for them to accept!).