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Erasmus Acadius

PLAYED BY: Matthew Bean
CHARACTER NAME: Erasmus Acadius
CLASS: Cleric
AGE: Mid to Late 30’s
RACE: Human
HAIR: Brown
EYES: Blue
KNOWN SKILLS: Building structures and fortifications
BIRTHPLACE:Some camp tent in a campsite long forgotten.

“So you want to hear my story? Why? Because it will fill your life with joy to know more about me? Pfft! Or maybe you have a grudge to settle? Not the first and won’t be the last. In either case, you’re buying the bärenfang! Well, since you found me, you already know my name is Erasmus. I am the son of an itinerant millwright. These days, I simply trust in the spirits to put me where I need to be.”
“As a child my family traveled between Aldoria and Vandregon. My father taught me how to build watermills, windmills, and when work was lean, how to build adits. Since you have that confused look on your face, you should know that all these structures are crafted from wood, so I learned the skills of a carpenter. When metal parts were needed, I learned how to find bog ore, smelt it, and to forge the parts needed.”
“When I was in my teens, my father deemed I was as qualified as any journeyman millwright… my father’s name? What does that matter? He is gone and you’re not paying for his name, so let the dead rest in peace. While I enjoyed the work, I wanted to build something more lasting. I wanted to build bridges that would last the ages! I wanted to lay foundations that could bear greater loads for mills. Well my father was disappointed that this was the path I wanted to take. But he also knew that if he didn’t say yes, then I would have simply left and learned the ways of the stonemason on my own. He said that it was my mother in me making me want to go my own way. He gave me his blessings and wished me the best. That was also the last time I spoke to him…”
“Let’s see, I joined the Aldorian Stonemason’s Guild in 245…maybe 246, the year really does not matter. After six grueling years as an apprentice and journeyman stonemason, I was ready to prove myself by taking the Master’s Test. I was commissioned by the Guild to craft a bridge over the Vetluga River. While the Vetluga wasn’t a wide river, the river flow was fast moving and it made ferry crossings difficult.”
“At that time, tavern rumours had been rife with stories of new lands discovered, of the walking dead growing ever bolder in their battles, and of a King or Duke or some other royal muckety-muck dying suddenly and mysteriously. For the most part, everyone considered them to be foolish tales to scare young children to bed.”
“Well, the work to build the bridge was progressing at an acceptable pace. I was glad that the bridge would be completed in time for the fall harvest. Merchants and supplies would be able to travel to market, and I would have finished my bridge and would be accepted as a Master stonemason. However, as time progressed, necessary building materials, food, and wages were not arriving in a timely manner. The work slowed to a crawl and finally stopped altogether. The craftsmen and laborers left the encampment daily in search of food or left to find work elsewhere. Finally, construction on the stone bridge ceased. I was forced to make a decision. I had to choose either to stop the construction altogether or to use other materials to complete the bridge. The decision was really simple; I chose to construct a wooden deck across the stone bridge’s falsework. This would allow foraging parties to expand out to the other side of the river to bring back supplies to what was left of the building parties, their families, and other camp followers.”
“A fortnight after the first foraging parties were sent out, men started wandering to the river crossing. These men bore the colours of various Road Warden garrisons and carried the wounds of battle. When we tried to ask what happened, the survivors were incoherent as to what had occurred and only mumbled that the hand of death was stretching out across the land. I ordered the camp fires stoked and those with the worst injuries tended to. For the others, broth and bread was provided. As the day progressed, villagers and refugees began arriving seeking passage across the Vetluga. The refugees all bore similar stories; the bodies of the dead had risen up and now walked the land of the living. I could see the look on people’s faces as they started to really grasp the situation at hand.”
“The next morning, the first frosts of winter could be seen on the ground. The work crews, foraging parties, their families, camp followers, and refugees were all looking for answers and directions. A few warriors of those who had thrown off the fugue of the horrors that they had seen and endured urged me to immediately destroy the bridge and run away. The refugees pleaded to leave the bridge standing so that their loved ones could cross the riverand flee the encroaching nightmare.”
“What was I supposed to do? I knew that the bridge would be a vital crossing point for any refugees, but I also knew it would be a beacon for the advancing scourge, as it could also cross the Vetluga. Well, I simply had no choice. I was not going to condemn those survivors who made it to the crossing, but I was not going to leave a passable bridge to be used for the dead to walk across either.
“It really became a simple choice. Those leaving would pack lightly and head out as soon as possible. Those willing to stay behind were ordered to gather up bundles of wood as quickly as possible, which would then would be attached to the falseworks and coated in pitch. This would make the bundles and falseworks highly flammable and quick to burn once the bridge had been fired. On the opposite bank, I ordered gabions to be assembled and to be placed to form a wall. In front of the gabion wall, I had a ditch dug to slow any advances on the simple wall and bridge.”
“Since we didn’t know how long we had, we worked at a frantic pace. I was so tired, but I made sure that teams worked in shifts to preserve their strength. When I was sure that all the tasks were completed, I finally allowed myself to get some sleep. I do remember that when I laid down in my bedroll, I was asleep as my face hit the pillow. After what may have been a few hours, I awoke screaming and yelling. Staggering from my tent, I noticed that sun was just rising. I was surprised to see in the flesh that the rumours of the undead were true. I watched in horror as refugees were being dragged down as they panicked and scrambled to cross the bridge.”
“I remember donning a buff coat, grabbing a simple shield and a worn sword from my tent and running to the bridge to help reinforce the defenders. I had never used a sword at that time, all my experience had been hefting various axes used to cut trees and lumber, or mallets and mauls for stone working. While I didn’t have the finesse of a trained warrior, my strokes were solid and devastating when they connected. Time seemed to slow as the fight continued and more and more joined the slaughter.”
“The red haze of killing was broken when I smelled smoke. At first, I didn’t realize where it was coming from. Eventually, though, I was able to step back from the fight and had the chance to look around. I was shocked to see the bridge had been fired without my order. I realized that we had few choices, we could burn to death trying to cross the bridge if we did not run now, stand our ground and face the Undead, or leap into the freezing current of the Vetluga and hope we did not drown. There was only one choice… I ordered a retreat from the bridgehead.”
“As planned, the flames quickly engulfed the falseworks. I was told later that when I had leaped clear of the flames, there was a brief golden aura surrounding me that the flames licked over. While I was able to cross to safety before the last of the wood frameworks collapsed and the bridge crumbled into the Vetluga, some men made the same leap as I, others could not and instead choose to jump into the river in a desperate hope that they could swim to safety.”
“I lumbered away from the flaming bridgeworks, covered in soot and the foul effluent. My heart was finally realizing what my mind told me…all was lost. I discovered a young man, barely out of boyhood, standing near a brazier ordering soldiers to kill any person swimming across the river. I could not believe that I was hearing orders being given to kill the survivors clambering out of the water. I asked what he was doing, and the man calmly informed me that he had fired the bridge and was ordering the killing of all those wallowing in the river. These men were either cowards failing in their duty or were the enemy. In either case, the Gods would know their own and claim their souls in the afterlife.”
“I must have stared like a simpleton and could only stammer out “what…?” the man simply stated that as a Baronet of the Kingdom, it was by his lordly decree that all present would stand and fight for the Kingdom of Aldoria. Those who refused to fight, no matter what the situation, were to be executed as cowardly traitors! Rage, anger, and disgust crept up from my gut, slowly sweeping over me like a wave. I don’t what happened, but something finally burst through what little self-control I had left and I let out a pure bestial roar of anger! I did not stop when I stove his head in…I hacked into his lifeless corpse and rended it into bloody chunks. When the light of reason returned to me, I knew that what few defenders were left would not, and could not, stand and fight. We grabbed what supplies we could and ran for our lives.”
“While I was utterly disgusted with this example of the nobility, I did have the presence of mind to take the fool’s signet ring, coin purse, and a few other items that supported any claims that this arrogant bastard had been a Baronet. Having experienced other problem nobles and seen the corruption of the feudal system, it was time to forge a new path.”
“The survivors and I ran for three days, only stopping long enough to eat biltong and hardtack, towards the garrison at Drakensberg. At that point, the survivors just needed a direction and a glimmer of hope. It was another two days away, but between a lack of supplies and the cold we could not last much longer than four or five days.”
“Unfortunately, at that point two days from Drakensberg we started seeing smoke rising in the direction of our goal. Then we started coming across refugees from the garrison. They said that they were overwhelmed in the middle of the night. As the dead had no fear of the dark, they just shuffled out of the darkness and took the gatehouse to the city.
“A Sergeant of the garrison, with hollow eyes, looked to me and asked, “My Lord, what shall we do now?” I had not the heart to correct him, but I could not deceive these people. Here were one hundred and fifty or more souls needing direction. I looked around and asked “Are you willing to fight to survive? Are you all willing to do the things that it will take to survive? If so, we will fight!”
“For 18 months we fought, destroying parts of the horde, other times losing friends and loved ones. We came to understand two things. The horde was becoming larger and harder for us to fight. The second was that nobility were cowering behind high walls and expecting others to fight for them. Yes, there were knights and lords that fought and died to protect others, but all we saw and heard was that they were cowards.”
“More and more, we heard rumours of lands that were free of the Undead, So we as a group decided that we were done fighting a losing battle and we marched to Walvis Bay. By this time our group numbered forty. The port was busy with activity, men loading cogs, caravels, longships, and a multitude of other vessels.”
“Taking advantage of the dead Baronet’s signet ring, I was able to find a captain and crew that would sail to Mardrun with forty passengers, supplies, and cargo. In return, he received 382 silver coins, a promissory note drawn on the good Baronet’s estate, and an offer of exclusive shipping rights for three years with the Baronet and his factors in Mardrun.”
“SO, that is my story. Anything else, cub? Or are your fingers twitching to draw that blade at your side?”

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