Weylan was raised far from other people, secluded in the mountains of Faedrun. His father was the last known warrior of an old, now mostly forgotten, order of warrior mages known as the Order of the Emerald Shield.
Roughly 60 years ago, the Emerald Shield was disgraced and hunted down. No one was sure of what caused this. Some theories say that the penitent saw them as a threat and chose to eliminate it; others say it was another group following the same line of thought. Yet more believed that the Emerald Shield’s leadership had become corrupt. The end result was the same: the Emerald Shield was accused of perpetrating foul and dangerous magic against the rest of mankind and its members hunted down.
One member of the group, however, survived and lived the rest of his life in hiding, where he started a family. When the warrior mage’s son, Weylan, began to mature, he recognized his own magical talent in the boy and saw him as a way to carry on the Emerald Shield and his own proud lineage. He trained Weylan in the ways of the Emerald Shield and told him all about their history.
Some years later, his parents fell to the undead plague that had by this time conquered much of Faedrun. Weylan buried the only family he’d ever had and moved on to have his own adventures. As he crossed Faedrun, he took his revenge on the undead—all the while hiding is loyalty to the long lost Emerald Shield. Eventually, he wound up in Vandregon-held territory and boarded a ship for the new continent. On the long journey, he struck up conversation with a human girl, Nighen, and began traveling with her once they landed on Mardrun. From there, the two met up with Ryla and Tylon and began the Mardrun Trading Consortium.
Affiliations: The Order of the Emerald Shield
Many, many years ago, a bloody feud between two mage orders took place in secret. No one can recall why it took place or which side started it, but all those involved claim it was for knowledge and power over all the world. The orders clashed with such ferocity that it shook the foundations of reality. Both sides found themselves using immensely dangerous spells and creating powerful artifacts and weapons to use on each other. However, eventually this hidden war became too much for many of those involved; too much was lost and no ground given. Skilled mages of both sides of this conflict banded together, sick of the depths their once proud leaders had sunken to. They demanded an end to this pointless feud, so they formed an order of their own to bring an end to this bloody battle.
Their order, the Order of the Emerald Shield, dedicated itself to keeping peace among those gifted in the art of magic and those who were not. For years they kept mages with foul intents from gaining power and protected those without power from the maddened whims of magic users.
When the undead plague broke out in Faedrun, the Emerald Shield did all they could to face this new threat head on. They focused primarily on trying to find a reason why it was starting so they may put an end to it. However, due to unknown events—such as corruption in their ranks or the forces of the undead’s followers, the penitent—the Order of the Emerald Shield fell into disgrace and its memory lost to time.
Although that is the accepted history of the Emerald Shield, there is also a legend told in the darkness, in whispered voices. This is that story:
Many years ago, before the “Golden Age of Peace” that everyone speaks of, there was a time when the Syndar and humans were at war with each other. Massive armies from each kingdom faced each other on battlefields where the earth ran red with blood from both sides. Arrows rained down like water, and the sound of sword and shield could be heard for miles from the battlefield. Magic would enchant many weapons and light up the battlefield in rings of fire. Lightning would often be seen during war regardless of what the weather was. Magic was used as a more brutal and uncontrolled weapon then. When the force of men could not break the lines, mages on both fronts would summon forth beasts without name from the ground. Creatures whose roar chilled even the bravest warrior’s heart, footsteps that shook the very ground, and eyes glowing brighter than any gem or torch ever seen on land, air, or sea. Both kingdoms were laid to ruin. No army ever truly won—despite what some scholars preach. The losses on both sides were too many to count. Bodies lay as far as the eye could see in every direction. Such careless waste of life sickened both kingdoms beyond words.
After one of the bloodiest battles yet, both kingdoms lay barren and battered—after a century of war and no end in sight. The Kings on both sides were weary of war, but tireless in their efforts to make the other surrender. Yet, in this tense silence, no army was rallied; no calls to war were sound. The two kingdoms lay in a quiet stand off for many years with none left to fight their war for them.
Meanwhile, in the Wild Mountains of the north, the Kings each sent an envoy in secret to meet. Sickened with war and knowing that the world would not survive with another war of that scale, they formed a secret alliance. They were still hesitant of each other, and wanted to make sure that any vow or pact would be truly honored by both sides, but were unsure how to make it so. The legend tells that people saw a great green beast flying overhead to the wild mountains in the north and feared it was an omen of more war to come. Yet no war came. The beast arrived at the camp of the alliance, surprised to see the enemies united in a common goal. For 5 days, the beast listened to the agreement and bound the pact, insuring the members that it would last for many generations to come.
When the beast bound the pact, he breathed a great white hot fire onto a pyre of wood, lighting it instantly. The beast then removed one of its emerald scales and placed it on the fire. Each member of the alliance placed their hand onto the glowing scale and watched in awe as brilliant light wrapped up their arm and throughout their body, binding them to the pact. Looking down, each member saw a fresh symbol on the forearm. They repeated the oath that the beast spoke in the old tongue, the only truly sacred source of power left untouched by both races out of respect or fear of the Gods of Old. The beast told them to pass along the stories of the fate the world nearly suffered to their children. Should the Pact survive, they would bring children once every 5 years to the scale and place them before it. If the scale glowed, the child would be taken by the order to begin their new life.
Several months later, the alliance set out to each kingdom with the news of the pact and what must happen for the world to survive. After several attempts, the Kings of each land agreed to an alliance with one another.
Years later, word had spread through the land of warriors from the great northern mountain with the power to summon the creatures of old. The “Order of the Emerald Shield” was the name that came to be known throughout the land. People told tales of the day the Giant Dragon of a world long forgotten had returned to aid man and syndar. The tales say that farmers remember seeing the sun reflect off the great beast whose skin glistened like the brightest emeralds. Some claim to remember the multitude of beings that were controlled by either side during the wars. The Emerald Shield remained secluded in their mountain home as each kingdom rebuilt itself and began to once again prosper. They feared that if they remained in any kingdom too long that jealousy and suspicion would build and war may begin again.
Many generations passed since that day in the mountain. The politics within each kingdom had begun to influence laws that were set down long ago. The truce that was struck over a hundred years before was being questioned by both sides. Talk of betrayal and war began to surface as the first encounters with the undead had been seen. Each side blamed the other and fear began to trickle down through the townsfolk as it often did. The kings sent messages to the mountain for aid. Even with the Emerald Shield’s aid, the undead were difficult to drive back and defeat. Sometime during the battles, a lich cast a powerful ritual of an old and dark magic on the Emerald Shield. This curse corrupted the Emerald Shield’s magic so their spells didn’t work how they should and harmed the caster just as often as the intended target. The dead mages rose again as undead and turned on their former allies. The Emerald Shield numbers diminished quickly, but not all hope was lost.
As mage after mage fell to the curse, the mighty winged beast appeared once again. The lich and the beast battled, and as claw rent bone, magic twisted together until the hideous, twisted power that was the lich disappeared in a beam of incredible light. When the light dimmed, the beast emerged with several grievous wounds and took flight without a word to the Emerald Shield. The people of the mountain tell of the beast returning to the peak and collapsing with a crash that shook the earth. Within moments the body of the beast began to glow and vaporize into white embers, leaving only the skull with an eye of emerald in its place.