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Chulainn

PLAYED BY: Riley Aspen

CHARACTER NAME: Chulainn

GENDER: Male

CLASS: Mage

AGE: 31

RACE: Syndar (Feral)

HAIR: Red

EYES: Green

OCCUPATION: Hunter, trapper, trader, and teller of tales.

KNOWN SKILLS: Chulainn lives off the land, able to forage and trap to sustain himself. While not possessing the borderline magical panache of a Bard, he is more than capable of drawing an audience with song and story both. His skill with the blade is not meager, nor is his prowess with his Syndar birthright of arcane magic. While idle, he likes to practice small handcrafts, like scrimshaw and whittling.

SYSTEM SKILLS: Arcane 1 + 2 ; Armor Proficiency ; Thrusting Weapons ; Two Handed ; Ranged ; Trade: Hunter ; Traps/Devices ; Meditation ; Mana Transfer (F) ; Syndar Mana Reserve (F)

BIRTHPLACE: Chulainn isn’t entirely sure where he was born – he would suspect that his tribe of origin existed in the forests about the Cul’Claimete region in the Kingdom of Richtcrag, based on the information he has been able to scrape together, but anything more specific is lost to him.

APPEARANCE: Chulainn makes an effort to hide most of his physical features – fair skin and locks of curly, red hair can be seen from beneath his hood, and blue-green eyes can be seen from behind his wood-carved mask. He is taller than most, though usually sits or stands with a slight, predatory hunch.

NOTABLE TRAITS: Chulainn makes significant effort to hide his face behind a wooden mask. The mask bears a rune upon its brow – you’ll have to ask what it means, if it means anything.

RELATIONSHIPS: Chulainn is standoffish to most, but he seems borderline subservient to Arden Halifax of the Newhope Expeditionary Guard – though neither seem to mention their association apart from that they’re ‘good friends’. He can be seen frequently sharing stories at the fire with an Ulven healer who calls herself ‘Bryn’. Most perplexingly, he seems to frequent the periphery of the Blades of Sol’s encampment, sometimes lending a hand here and there, but more often than not just watching, like a wolf sitting just outside the firelight.

BACKSTORY –

The man we call Chulainn isn’t one you would consider a wide-eyed optimist. He has early memories of Faedrun, but most of what he remembers was either the horror and death which followed the last mass exodus from the old world, or stories of his early life that were related to him by his caretakers. Chulainn is a Feral Syndar who is adrift from his own society – his people and his culture are as alien to him as they are to you or I. He was left behind in the care of a Celestine, one who had been born to his tribe and since acted as a liason, as his tribe fled their homelands under the warning of a grave misfortune which would soon befall the land and claiming that a child would only slow them down. The Celestine named the child Elias, and brought him to a village of Serous Syndar to be raised among their people while the Celestine looked for another Feral tribe that would take the boy in – though, realistically, the Celestine didn’t expect to find one any time soon, what with how insular the local Ferals tended to be. Thus, the boy was abandoned yet again, this time in the hands of far less willing and altruistic caretakers.

From a Syndar’s point of view, it was little more than an eyeblink after the boy arrived that rumors of undead creatures decimating isolated Syndar communes reached Elias’ new home. Not long after that, the Syndar people retreated from their scattered forest communes and into cities as the grave reality of the undead plague came to light. When even their greatest cities fell, it was a mad rush to the docks, in hope that somewhere they could find a new home – but the captains knew their charter, they weren’t sharing that information, not that their crew cared. In the heat of the moment, death by starvation at sea was a deeply desirable alternative to being killed and reborn as a shambling abomination. And, through all these travels, little Elias was dragged along, the Serous unwilling to simply abandon him to his fate despite his unfortunate nature and Feral blood.

Travel by sea leaves little room for the cold, distanced hand that the Serous had taken to using with their Feral charge. The ships leaving Faedrun were packed body to body, and supplies were scarce at best. Fish could be harvested and rain could be collected to shore up the stocks, but rationing left both passengers and crew deeply irritable, the haughty Syndar so deeply accustomed to their nearly post-scarcity lifestyle back on Faedrun. Thus, the casual, cold disdain and bigotry of low expectations directed toward young Elias blossomed into barely-veiled spite. Words once murmured behind closed doors and out of earshot were now spoken aloud for impressionable ears, all-too-audible whispers that the child was cursed and brought nothing but death and misery in his wake, that they should have just tossed ‘it’ in the river and let Solar sort ‘the thing’ out.

Little Elias didn’t fare much better in the months which came after the boat reached Mardrun. The Serous tried to return to their old ways, but the second failed harvest forced them to realize that this new land was harsh and unforgiving to outsiders. The only thing which spared them from the choking grasp of Mardrun’s winter was a chance meeting with an Ulven hunter by the name of Stigandr. The trapper offered his services, sharing meat furs with the weary travellers, and seemed unperturbed with the Syndar’s casual disdain for their savior, almost in spite of the aid he was offering.

About the fire, to those willing to listen, he shared tales of great Ulven heroes and their mighty deeds, and chilled legends of the terrible Mordok and warriors who fought back against them. While most were willing to listen while food was prepared, all but the most curious souls filtered away, more interested in their own lives than that of the stranger. Eventually, only Elias remained at the fireside, transfixed by this stranger’s tales. Over time, the two began to talk, with Stigandr sharing his stories and Elias sharing what little he remembered of his upbringing. Stigandr saw in the boy – now, moreso a young man – a kindred spirit, and eventually returned to make Elias an offer. Shortly thereafter, trade between the settlers’ ship and a local Ulven pack was forged, and Stigandr once more vanished into the forest. No one really questioned where Elias had gone, most simply assuming that the Feral boy had returned himself to where he belonged.

Now, some years later, a Syndar wearing a rune-engraved mask emerges from the forest. He calls himself Chulainn: a man of many skills, and a seeker of glory and tales worth telling.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RUMORS: Those who speak of Chulainn rarely speak well. There are some who say that his face was brutally scarred, and he hides it behind a mask out of shame. Others claim him a man-eating monster, and that the mask is simply his way of blending in with civil society for some reason. Regardless, Chulainn will rarely deny any allegations put his way, usually resorting to a retort of “Find out for yourself”. Similarly, he will not remove the mask to prove any of them wrong.

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Elzerith

PLAYED BY: David Brunes

CHARACTER NAME: Elzerith

GENDER: Male

CLASS: Mage

AGE: 38

RACE: Celestine Syndar (Gold)

HAIR: Blonde (though usually covered)

EYES: Purple

OCCUPATION: Faction Leader and Scholarly Researcher

KNOWN SKILLS: Reading, writing, arcane magic, and being the voice of Sol

BIRTHPLACE: Tielorrien

APPEARANCE: Gold skin, head wrapped in white silk, fine clothing of primarily whites and golds, a jacket with the Blades of Sol symbol on back

NOTABLE TRAITS: Gold Skin, head wrap, aura of superiority

RELATIONSHIPS: Leader of The Blades of Sol and soon to be friend and ally of many

RUMORS: A bit pompous, claims to be chosen of Sol purely based on skin color, trying to retake Faedrun with group of peasants who he is claiming to be making clerics of Sol

Character: Elzerith
Elzerith was taken from his parents as birth, and in accordance with syndar tradition, was left to a company of higher ranking scholars to be taught in the ways of the arcane. Ly’Siir Windweaver was given stewardship over the young Elzerith, whom he raised like his own child. Elzerith was a natural at all things magic from an early age, taking to his lesson like a duck to water. Ever more, his curiosity and thirst for knowledge grew into a tool for mischief as he grew into his talents.
During one of his late night study sessions, he decided to make an attempt at one of the more difficult schemes he had been working on; getting into the library at night. It was under guard after the sun faded every night, but the perfect opportunity had presented itself. Ly’Siir had concluded their lesson that day with a tome he took from one of the restricted sections. And it just so happens that Elzerith had quietly lifted the key to that particular section of books off of Ly’Siir’s keyring while the old mage was leaving the library. Now was the time; the risk would be worth it. He had to try.
Elzerith had made a reputation for himself, even at this young age, as a strong willed and clever negotiator, as well as a devious wordsmith. His charisma was one of his greatest strengths, and he knew how to use it. A few white lies here, a few honeyed words there, a favor now for a favor later, and he was past the library sentries. The gate to the restricted books section was made of thick iron and was lightly enchanted. It was obvious that nobody was meant to be there without permission; the perfect place to find something interesting. Elzerith leisurely strolled the locked book cases lining the walls, scanning the shelves inside for anything that caught his eye. There had to be something in here that would make the laundry duty he had promised to do later worth it. And that’s when he saw it, tucked away in the farthest corner of the tallest shelf at the back of the library; a small, red leather bound journal. What could something so mundane be doing in such a conspicuous spot? His curiosity got the best of him, and he unlocked the bookcase to retrieve the tome.
The candle light of his makeshift workstation flicked slightly as Elzerith opened the small notebook before him. These appeared to be notes. They discussed some abstract functions of a magic Elzerith did not understand. There were foreign glyphs and sequences that were unlike any of the spellcraft he had ever studied in the past, but what did it mean? He flipped through the pages looking for something that would clue him in as to what exactly this magic was meant to do. More glyphs, some diagrams, a few scribbles and the odd familiar word. Page after page ruffled passed without anything of substance. He understood, by the halfway point, that something had changed. The notes had left the realm of experimentation; he could see that. Now there was writing. Instructions! This was it!
As he began to read further, the large library doors flung open. Damn it! He just needed more time. He thought quickly. How long until the person who came notices the candlelight? In a moment of panic, Elzerith snuffed the candles with a flick of his wrist and started making his way back to the shelves. He just needed to get this manuscript back where he found it. He could probably make up an excuse if he were caught, but not with this in his possession. As Elzerith reached the bookcase to put the tome back, he heard the jingle of keys. Then there was a metallic thunk. The tumbles in the iron lock sounded like lead weights in the silence of the previously empty library. There was no time. He could never make it out without being seen. With a quickness reserved only for the most desperate, Elzerith pushed the notebook back into place and scurried beneath the nearest table. He banked on the darkness hiding his movement from the person who was now walking the same section. The slight click of hard soled shoes echoed in the night. They drew closer; louder. However, after the initial panic subsided, Elzerith noticed that whoever was in here with him was not carrying a candle. He couldn’t see any light source from beneath his makeshift hiding spot. What sort of prefect wouldn’t carry a light source? Perhaps one of the mages came here? But that wouldn’t make sense. So few people even had keys to this place, and Elzerith was sure he hadn’t let on where he would be. Why would anyone be here at this time of night? Who is this?

As Elzerith pondered, the footsteps stopped. His breath caught in his throat as he realized the faint shimmer of polish leather boots mere inches from his face. This person had walked right up to his hiding table, in the dark no less. They must have seen the candle light when they entered the library. Despite this, Elzerith wouldn’t move. There was still a chance, if faint, that he could make it out scot free. So he held his breath, and tried to be as still as the dead. The boot in front of his face stirred slightly as weight shifted as though this person was looking down at the tabletop above. A snap rang out in the dark, and suddenly there was a faint light flickering off of the murky library. They lit a candle! Elzerith might be able to finally see who this is. He took the new light’s welcomed shadows to try and make out a silhouette. The shadows were long and dancing on the many wooden bookcases and shelves, but Elzerith swore he could make out a hood. A long coat or robe, with a cowl-like hood. This didn’t seem right. Most of the mages here only ever wore simple robes, and he never remembered a hood outside of their winter wear. Come to think of it, nobody had ever worn such polished boots aside from the head scholar herself, but this person was unmistakably male. Their shoulders were wide, and as well as their stance.

As Elzerith reeled at the possibilities, the stranger turned to walk away. They walked with purpose towards the bookcase Elzerith had just stashed the manuscript. This was not good. The hooded man seemed to know exactly what he was looking for, his every step sure and true. No hesitation. As the backdraft of his coat wafted passed Elzerith’s face, an unmistakable odor came with. A putrid concoction of damp earth, decay, and… Blood. Elzerith’s eyes darted to the floor where the man has been standing, and saw the faint sheen of his crimson boot print glimmer in the candlelight. Panic was the only word running through Elzerith’s mind as the man, nay, the murderer reached for the manuscript. That was his target. The notebook. Elzerith knew not what this stranger’s intent was; only that it could not be good. He steeled himself to confront the hooded man. He would have to stop him. He needed to be questioned, stopped, anything. However when he commended his body rise, his arms would not obey. He called to his leg to spring to their feet, but they would not listen. He thought to yell for the prefects outside, but the words refused to leave the safety of his mind. He was paralyzed. Elzerith did not want to throw himself into danger, and he could feel just how dangerous this person was. A menacing aura laid heavy in the air, and it held Elzerith where he lay.

As he lay beneath the table, he silently cried out for help. He couldn’t let this happen without doing anything, but his fear held him back. Elzerith closed his eyes tight, struggling against his own better judgment so as to free himself from the shackles that bound him to inaction. And as he strained, from within his mind he heard and faint echo.

“Rise” the echo called.

Elzerith could barely hear over his panic, so he focused; just for a moment. Then he heard it again.

“Rise”, said the void, louder than before. Its voice was calm, and warm. Comforting. Empowering. Elzerith tried to obey, but again, his body would not move. He breathed deeply so as to calm himself. The stench that had hung in the air now faded to the back of his mind, and he whispered,
“This one hears you.”
And from the darkness of his mind, and golden light shown. It warmed his spirit, and he felt the weight of his panic lift like a stone from his back. He opened his eyes, and fixed his gaze on the hooded man, now flipping through the notebook in his hand.
“This one is ready”, he called to the light.

“THEN RISE”, the voice boomed, zealous and strong. The weight of the voice shattered the shackles that bound Elzerith, and he rose.

He came to his feet in front of the table, casting a shadow as he did. The hooded figure froze where he stood, letting the page in his fingers flutter back to the binding. Elzerith stood defiantly as the man turned to look at the disturbance. As the candlelight cast upon his face, Elzerith saw the icy gaze of conviction stare back at him. The two glared at each other for a moment. Elzerith tried gauging the man’s intent, but he was impossible to read. His face read blank, with barely a glint of fear or anger. Just a frigid calm. Elzerith was the first to break the silence.
“Who are you?” he demanded, his voice bouncing off the walls as the direct question left his lips.
The man stared, and said nothing. He did not move or react. He simply stared blankly.
So, throwing all fanciful speech away again, Elzerith demanded, “Who are you!?”
This time, the hooded stranger did react. He smiled slightly.
Elzerith was taken aback for only a moment before he noticed the man’s fingers moving.
Somatic gestures. He was spooling!
Without hesitation, Elzerith whipped his hands forward.
“PUSH!”
The hooded figure crashed into the bookcase with a deafening crack. The shelves behind him crumbled from the force, and the volumes of tomes came crashing down in an avalanche of leather and paper. Elzerith didn’t not waste a second. He approached the pile of books and spooled more mana of his own into a bolt of energy. He grounded himself, and focused. He waited some sort of movement, any twitch that would give him an excuse to fling his bolt. He knew the ruckus would attract the prefects, so he simply needed to wait. The book pile shifted slightly as the man beneath stirred. Elzerith took a moment to use his off-hand to throw a few books from the top of the pile. The stranger’s head slowly rose from the pile, no doubt made timid from the magic bolt staring him in the face. His smile was now gone, and replaced with a wide eyed gaze of delirious bewilderment. A small cut from his forehead drizzled blood down his ghost white face, pooling near his lips. Elzerith had done some damage, and felt he now had the upper hand. As the man, now unhooded and reeling, began to reorient, Elzerith spoken again, this time with a slight air of smugness.

“I will ask one more time… Who are you?” He spoke clearly and slowly, mimicking the calm voice that had brought him to his feet. The man once again just stared. Then the smile came back, fainter than before, and though it hurt him to do so. And then a sharp exhale, and small chuckle, and laugh. A deep, unhinged chortle, mad and unnerving. The insane laughter pierced the darkness around them. As he laughed, the books shifted around, rolling and shaking as the mad mage’s body convulsed. Elzerith readied his bolt, poised to take the man’s life should he make a move. The man began to stand, wide eyed and cackling. Horror gripped at Elzerith’s heart, but he would not falter. As the stranger began to stand further, he crumpled slightly as pain shot through his body, but he only laughed harder at this. When he finally rose to his full height, he shakily answered.

“Why should that matter?” His voice was strangely calm, annoyingly so.

“This one asked you a question, and this one expects a proper answer! Who are you!?!” barked Elzerith.
“This one has played enough games to know when one is stalling! Give answers or there will soon be a hole through your chest!” Elzerith eyed the man intently, ready to strike.
The man’s smile disappeared. His eyes did not flinch from Elzerith’s face, nor did his feet move from their spot. That damned stare again.
The man spoke softly, “Do you truly want to-“
“YES!” Elzerith interjected. The man’s gaze softened slightly, and he took a single step forward.
The bolt of energy slammed into the mage man’s chest with an ethereal crack, followed by blinding light. Elzerith took a moment to regain his bearings. Why would they move? As his sight returned, he saw the crumpled form of the stranger curled at his feet. Elzerith took a second to look closer, and saw that he was still breathing.
“Thou are a resilient man, this one shall give you that.” Elzerith smarmed.
“Now, if one wants to live, try following these instruction carefully, because this one will not continue being gentle further forward. Answer this simple question. Who. Are. You?” Elzerith’s voice remained calm, but commanding. He knew the man was a goner, but he needed a name. This transgression was assuredly going to be investigated. The broken man coughed up a bit of blood before he spoke.
“-cough- -cough-… The fact… that you ask at all… betrays your lack of understanding.” the man wheezed.
“You… and your people… know of our… our deeds… They know… as well as us… of the end…”
The man shifted his body to lie on his back, the impact would charred and bleeding as he continued.
“My name… means nothing! It is… a useless thing. I see that now… Before we were lost… and now we are prepared…”
Elzerith’s patience began to waver at the mad man’s ramblings.
“What does that mean, wretch!” Elzerith’s boot planted squarely on the man’s wound. He sputtered at the pain, and pleadingly grasped at Elzerith’s leg for relief. None would come. Not yet.
“Explain”, Elzerith demanded, his boot applying more pressure as he spoke.
The man grimaced and gasped. His nails dug into Elzerith’s leg, but he would not relent.
“They!…” The man struggled to speak through the pain.
Elzerith shifted his weight back, relieving some of the pressure. Just enough to let him breath.
The man stammered faintly again “They…”
He couldn’t make a sentence anymore, he was obviously done for. Elzerith took his foot off of the dying man with an exasperated sigh. He needed more information. Just as his foot hit the floor, the doors to the library once again flung open with a heavy thud. Elzerith turned to face the noise, when his feet were taken out from under him. Elzerith fell to the floor, dizzied by the unexpected fall. The library began to fill with barks and the clatter of boots on the polished wooden floors. The prefects! Suddenly, Elzerith was forcibly flipped onto his back. The wounded man. He was standing over Elzerith, seemingly as strong as he had been before he crashed through the bookcase. The only clue that he was injured was the gentle and steady flow of blood coming from the man’s chest and mouth. He grabbed Elzerith by his coat and lifted him off of the ground and into the air.
“What manner of magic is this?!?” Elzerith stammered, the last of his bravery withering in the face of what could only be described as madness.
At this, the man’s face contorted slightly. That smile… Much wider than before. Wide eyed, the mad man spoke, “Do you see now? You must! You see the futility of your ways. All of your struggles, your hardships, all of it is for naught.” Hes face drew nearer to Elzerith’s own as he continued.
“We know the reason for the pain, and we know how to cure it. Give in… Join us” he whispered. Elzerith squirmed and writhed in his grasp, but could not get free. As he struggled, the Iron gates to that section began to clang and scrap. Lightly muffled over the heartbeat in his ears, Elzerith could make out the voices.
“You! Stop! Unhand the boy!” Cried one
“Get the door open!” Barked one in the back
“The lock’s been sabotaged!” pleaded another.
And then there was a mighty clang of metal colliding with metal. These were no prefects. These were the armed guards that protected the grounds. The clangs continued, steady and ever more desperate.
“Break down the door, men! Come on! There’s a boy in there!” The desperation was evident in his voice.
Elzerith looked back at the mad man’s face. He was watching the gate intently perhaps gauging the amount of time he had. His cold blank expression gradually contorted into one of rage. He once again brought Elzerith close to his face, where the words would be all too clear over the havoc.
“They are coming, young one. They will spare nothing for there is nothing here worth saving. Repent and join the Penitent, or die a martyr for this world’s sins.” The man seethed. Every word was filled with an unnerving blend of hate and desperation. The stench of blood and burnt flesh made the words all that much more putrid as they left this deranged man’s mouth.
With that, the “penitent” threw Elzerith back and into one of the tables, knocking the wind out of him. The man darted towards the book pile just as the iron gates came crashing to the ground. Elzerith watched through a dazed fog as the man procured the manuscript, pocketed it, and made a dash for the window just as the guards were upon him. Two guards made their way to Elzerith as the others attempted to apprehend the stranger, but to no avail. The man projected a wave of force at the window, shattering it with easy, and jumped. Elzerith could just barely make out the mad laughter of the man as he fell toward the ground.
“Guards! Retrieve the body, and ensure there are no others skulking about! I want that tome returned and put under a 24 hour watch, immediately!” commanded a familiar voice.
“Ly’Siir?” Elzerith muttered, too dizzied to know for sure.
“Elzerith?” It was Ly’Siir. Elzerith had never heard his commanding voice outside of their weekly spellcraft training. Ly’Siir hurried to the boy.
“Is one alright? Were you injured? Why are you here?!?” the old syndar fretted. The anxiety in his voice betrayed his shock, and his befuddlement.
Elzerith began to compose himself, and he began to take in the fact that he was no longer in danger.
“I’m… I’m fine, Ly’Siir.” He said, with only a little bit of grogginess in his voice.
The old syndar wrapped his arms around Elzerith in a tight embrace. While doing so, he checked Elzerith’s body for any visible wounds… Just to be sure. Once Ly’Siir was convinced his student was ok, he smacked Elzerith across the face.
“OW! Why?!?” complained Elzerith, not more than a little started by the sudden teaching lesson.
“What thoughts could possess one to think it alright to find their way here? This section of the library is highly restricted! Only this one and a small select others have keys to this place! How did -“ His words trailed off as he realized what had happened. He checked his hip pouch to confirm his suspicions when Elzerith meekly produced Ly’Siir’s key-ring from his belt.
“Oh Elzerith, no…” Ly’Siir was visibly upset by this.
“What… what did you find?” inquired Ly’Siir. By his demeanor, he was not prepared to know the answer. Elzerith answered honestly,
“This one… found a small manuscript. A notebook… From over there,” He pointed.
Ly’Siir whipped around to look where he was pointing, and then reeled back around, panic in his eyes.
“What was read? What was learned?!?” Ly’Siir shook as the questions left his lips. Again, Elzerith answered truthfully.
“Nothing…some notes, and diagrams. A few somatic gestures. This one couldn’t understand any of it. Most of it was in a language unknown… This one was interrupted before more than half way through.”
Ly’Siir’s figured slummed in relief as he let out a sigh.
“Good… that is good…” His composure cracked slightly as a tear ran down his cheek. Once again, Ly’Siir embraced his student. This time, Elzerith returned that embrace, and they stayed like that for a few moments. Once concluded, Ly’Siir stood and held out his hand for Elzerith.
“Come, there is much to talk about.” He beckoned.
Elzerith took hold, stumbling slightly as he got to his feet. Ly’Siir led Elzerith through the growing crowd of guards, prefects, teachers, and mages gathering in the library. As they left, Elzerith was met with the bodies of the two sentries that were standing guard when he entered earlier that night.

Elzerith froze. He was sure he hadn’t heard anything before that madman entered the library. How were they…
“Death magic…” Ly’Siir stated grimly.
Elzerith turned to Ly’Siir. The grief was evident in both of their faces. They locked eyes, and then turned their gazes back at the corpses. Horrific visages were upon the faces of the corpses. They looked to have died in pain, suffering, and full of fear. This was not a way for one to die, none should ever die in such a way.
Elzerith began to feel a wetness on his cheeks. He hadn’t even notice he was crying. He hurried to wipe the tears from his eyes.
“There seems to be a bother within one” Ly’Siir asked, compassionately in the standard roundabout way.

“Yes, This… This one just forgot to do some laundry tonight…”

Ly’Siir and Elzerith spent the rest of the night discussing the details of the event. What exactly Elzerith saw, what he was told, what the cultist was like, and the various details of his actions in the library. Elzerith, however, was still caught in his head over the two men at the door. The image of the lifeless bodies that had been so alive not an hour prior was jarring. Elzerith couldn’t sleep that night. Even though Ly’Siir had assured him that there was nothing he could have done, and that he shouldn’t feel guilty for acts that he was powerless to stop, Elzerith felt a crushing guilt all the same. That night, he fell into a restless sleep. Dark and blank, Elzerith stewed in his mind, contemplating, seething, mourning. As he dreamt, though, he felt a familiar presence. The blankness of his sleep was replaced by a glimmering void of white, and a voice called out to him saying,
“You did well, young Elzerith. You have proven to me the strength you hold within; the strength to persevere in the face of death.” The voice was calm and clear. I warmed Elzerith’s heart just as it had back in the library.
“But… that was you. Without your help, this one would not have had the strength to move, much let confront that fiend of a man.” Elzerith countered. He felt foolish for his inaction. He was grateful to whatever this was, but felt unworthy to receive praise. “This one still would have been hiding under that table were it not for you.”
“Uncertainty is understood, but in response… Who was the one who stood up? Stood up when things seemed the bleakest, and facing down one’s fear? There may have been faltering, but the only intervention was reminding one of their true strength.” The voice countered back with reassurance. Elzerith couldn’t think of a retort to that.
“This one is unsure they understand…” Elzerith felt he couldn’t grasp the facts. His mind was still reeling from the ordeal earlier that night, and couldn’t formulate a rational thought.
The voice spoke again, louder and with authority. “One need not understand, they need only listen. A path has been set before one this day, and ’tis one of many woes. The world is changing. As one sleeps, the dead rise and the light fades all over this land. Though there are those who cling to what they have, powers conspire against us. It may already be too late for Faedrun. However, night is always darkest just before the dawn. A new light shall break forth from the horizon, bathing the blood stained sands of Faedrun’s shores with righteous conviction. You, young Elzerith, have a role to play in all of this. You are strong, and with good heart. In the dark days ahead, there will be others that look to you for guidance. That strength to stand before the dark will be one’s greatest ally. Heed these words, Elzerith. A path shall be discovered, and the truth of destiny shall be known.”
The light began to fade. “One will stand here again, when all is said and done, but then one shall stand as a true hero. A beacon to all the peoples of Faedrun. Go! Find the path to salvation!” The voice trailed off as the darkness of sleep returned.

Elzerith woke the next day with a start. Had that been a dream? It felt so real. The same feelings from back in the library still lingered in his drowsy mind. Perhaps even that was a dream… One look at Ly’Siir’s face from the foot of his bed said otherwise.

The following months were filled with strife. The undead that had been plaguing the lands to the north were making unnerving progress, with unheard of speed. The penitent began cropping up more and more all across Faedrun, and the powers that be threw all they could and the coming hordes to no avail. Ly’Siir continued to train Elzerith in the intervening time, nurturing his skills. However, both of them knew that time was running short. One day, Ly’Siir showed up to their lesson with a pack. It was time. The undead rampaged through the countryside, and while the two never thought this time would come, circumstance had proven far more fickle than anyone could have predicted. Ly’Siir silently handed the pack to Elzerith; the old mage doing his best to hold back the sorrow in his heart. Along with the pack was a map. It was marked on one of the nearest sea shores, about a 4 day’s travel from their home. It was annotated with the words “Go HERE, and don’t look back. I will find you.” The scrawl was shaky. Elzerith looked up from the map only to see Ly’Siir walking away. He had never been one for goodbyes, nor ones under such duress. Elzerith was wise enough to know that he might never see his mentor again. Ly’Siir had responsibilities to their order. First and foremost was the protection of the knowledge they held. As the undead march ever onward, the mages would stay behind so as to prevent those of ill-motive from getting their hands on those most powerful of magics. So, as Ly’Siir walked, he was stopped in his tracks by Elzerith’s embrace. They held each other for what felt like an eternity that neither wanted to end. When they finally tore themselves away, they silently thanked one another for everything.
Ly’Siir was never reported on any boats…

As Elzerith pondered his fate on that boat sailing across the seas to a land he knew nothing about, he thought back to that dream. “Find the path to salvation” he spoke under his breath. The words echoed in his mind, and he felt that night rush back to view. The cultist stood before him once more, but just like that night he felt no fear. He saw the ghost white visage of a perilous end, and he stared defiantly back. He could see the weaknesses, the pride, and the madness. All of it culminated in… just a man. And it was there that Elzerith started to understand. He was just a man. Mortal, with flaws and desires. Men can be understood. They can be defeated. He thought to the lands he was leaving, only being able to imagine the destruction that would spread, and felt wronged. Wronged by the world, but most of all wronged by men. Those who would turn their back on the world and embrace destruction without a fight. They are why we evacuated. They are the reason we are left without hope. However, as Elzerith thought, he did not feel fear, or sadness, or even anger. He was filled with conviction. He turned back, facing the Faedrun coast as it began to slip beneath the horizon, and made a promise.

He would return, and with him would come the light of a new day.

In the following years, there was much strife. Unrest was abundant. Elzerith worked with numerous scholars and various colonists. A small name was made for himself being the Gold Celestine, the one odd syndar who seemed to determinedly walk a lost path. Straying an unknown path with conviction.
Elzerith was escorted around in a new and unfamiliar way, one without Ly’Siir and the prefects to guide and order him. The scholars who made their way to the boat had tried to order Elzerith around, but were overtaken by the captain in command at the time. Once Elzerith found his way onto the new land, he had wandered for quite some time. Dates seem to evade the syndar as the newfound curiosity from freedom overwhelmed the syndar. Many taverns allowed him to stay for no cost to him as he was just a wandering spectacle to them that brought in quite a few extra patrons who wanted to see the odd golden syndar, or for some that wished to see one born from a god continue to be unharmed.
As the travels in the new land continued in hopes of finding where one was supposed to be, Elzerith found himself followed by quite the band of newly made friends. Scholars and various syndar who wished to see a prized member of their society unharmed, humans who saw protecting one made of gold to be worth their time if they could charge the right person for their services, and even the odd ulven who had too much parental instinct to let such a lost and naive person continue on alone. But as the fates would have it, one day another sign from Sol presented itself.
Elzerith was wandering through a town on his way back to New Hope, where he had heard another prominent celestial was located, when he heard someone bursting forth from a house. Shouts of concern followed an estranged and haggard human man as they approached Elzerith.
“I have been given a sign! A vision! A quest from Sol himself!” Shouted the individual. “I, Voltaire, am to be your blade. Sol commanded me to find their golden disciple who was going through town this very day, and it is here that I find you!”
Numerous individuals began trying to restrain this odd human who had tried to charge up to Elzerith, one coming from the house begging for this “Voltaire” to return to bed due to a fever. And just as blades were about to be drawn, Elzerith held up his hand in command that all should hold.
“This one is to believe that you have been sent a message from Solarus.” Elzerith posed to the intrusive individual, which was responded to with a stoic nod. After tense and silent contemplation, Elzerith smiled and plainly said “Then continue on we shall, gather what possessions you have. We’re leaving towards New Hope in the morning, and I shall be awaiting company in the local tavern until all is prepared for departure.”
As Elzerith made his way back into New Hope, with an odd gathering of new friends or mayhaps followers, he found that wandering back to an old home wasn’t really his destination. The familiar Syndar building style of Celestial Arragones’ libraries, the diminutive number of faces he recognized from scholars he’s met in the past, and the ever commanding voice of one wishing to boss around one that had been freed. Elzerith found that he was no longer seeking the refuge of protective shelter, and the road was soon before him after less time than initially thought.
The path was now present, all that need now is to follow.

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Vaels Watetash

PLAYED BY: Bryan Richmond

CHARACTER NAME: Vaels Watetash

GENDER: Male

PREFERRED PRONOUN(S): He/him

CLASS: Cleric

AGE: 50

RACE: Feral Syndar (city)

HAIR: grey

EYES: hazel

OCCUPATION: Courtier, Mercenary, Companion

KNOWN SKILLS: Armor Prof., Shield Prof, Trade: Companion, Resource: Political, Resource: Economic, Divine 1, Meditation, Mana Reserves(syndar), Mana Transfer(syndar)

BIRTHPLACE: The wilds of Marais-Enceinte

APPEARANCE: Portly and well-appointed, Vaels appears to attempt (successfully or not) to fuse panache with a rustic style. He is often prone to wearing jewelry and trinkets.

NOTABLE TRAITS: Always willing to share a story, but more importantly listen to one. All too willing to see symbolism and signs from the gods in, well, everything.

RELATIONSHIPS: Hopipash (beaver spirit totem), Dran Watetash (father, city feral syndar), Eloquin Watetash (Mother, feral syndar), Vexen Watetash (uncle, feral syndar), Amoury Watetash (cousin, feral syndar, deceased)

RUMORS: Vaels seems to have a story for any occasion, appropriate or not.

Whenever Clan Grimward is around, Vaels gets awfully tight-lipped. He must hate them for some reason.

Vaels asks far too many questions about magic when the subject comes up.

BIO / BACKGROUND HISTORY:

Originally hailing the wilds of Marais-Enceinte, Vaels was barely an adult when his tribe was nearly wiped out by undead. The survivors barely escaped by canoe, leaving their tribal home forever. Making the arduous trek by foot to Aldoria, and the choppy voyage to Mardrun left Vaels with a strong survival instinct and protectiveness for his remaining family. To this day that time is one of the few topics he will not tell stories about.

Alongside his mother, father, uncle, and cousin, he attempted many different jobs and trades, none truly fitting him. Working caravans, fieldcraft, city labor, they all came and went for Vaels, though he found he had some martial skill and a love of storytelling. Vaels and his family were working a caravan when Clan Grimward attacked Pyre Hills; Despite trying his best to protect her, his cousin Amoury was killed. Vaels blames himself for not protecting her. Due to the encounter Vaels is terrified of Clan Grimward warriors, though he tries his best to hide it.

Much preferring the urbane lifestyle of the city, Vaels has given up many (though not all) of the outward trappings of the feral Syndar people. He has also fallen in love with many of the trappings of nobility he has seen from afar, not so much for the luxury they afford but the greater social access and therefore better opportunities for more stories. After living in the city for some time, Vaels has found he has a way with people and etiquette; Along with a trove of stories he is always ready to share, he makes for a surprisingly pleasant warrior and mercenary.

Between his growing skill with the blade and his gusto for tales Vaels has begun building a reputation for being quite the entertaining bodyguard. This began while working the various caravans where his stories kept monotony at bay. He has slowly been expanding to working for those in the city, though any who appreciate the amiable and engaging Syndar and his tales will find his company appealing. While Vaels keeps aiming for those higher and higher up in the social ladder, his love for new stories means he rarely will pass up work, either as protection or for his companionship.

In the city feral Syndar ghetto within New Hope, Vaels tries to be a voice of reason and balance, all too aware of the cultural loss his people face in these changing times. Due to a split within his family, Vaels knows all too well the tension between staying true to the old ways and the making of new lives within the city walls. Vaels knows there can truly be a place for the feral Syndar in Mardrun, though what that may be only the gods know.

Vaels is a recent recruit to the Broken Blade Company, joining shortly after his mother left to find their remaining tribe and other feral syndar in the wilds of Mardrun. He hopes that his new alliance will afford him access to clients amongst the nobles and elites, though only time will tell. Deeply religious, Vaels entreats the pantheon of Syndar gods through his totem, the beaver Hopipash.

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Vivi Ebonstarr

PLAYED BY: Amber Kroening

CONTACT INFO: amberkro9@gmail.com

CHARACTER NAME: Vivi Ebonstarr

GENDER: Female

CLASS: Rogue

AGE: Slightly younger than middle-aged

RACE: Feral Syndar

HAIR: Long, dark brown, often tied back in some way

EYES: Green

OCCUPATION: Independent mercenary/bodyguard for hire

KNOWN SKILLS: Shield Proficiency, Toughness, First Aid, Dual-Wielding, Breakaway, Mana Reserves (Syndar), Mana Transfer (Syndar)

The day my parents died, I fought a battle within me. I was to become a great warrior in the vein of my sister’s success, but the most immediate links to my bloodline had just disappeared. The magic they respected and put so much faith in had not saved them. My sister had been the only one with any real sense, putting her trust in the ability of her sword arm, gauging her safety by the durability of her shield. She had honed her skills and trained herself as a defender of the weak. She was awfully protective of me too, but not in the way that made me feel lesser. Though my parents had all but given up on me, instead choosing to place the entirety of their favor on her shoulders…she still believed, that if I trained hard enough I could fight just as well; though I wasn’t always sure I believed that myself, until one of her pep talks lit my soul. But she had disappeared too, and I hadn’t yet had the chance…to show her… The last I saw of her she was pushing me away from the falling debris as we watched our parents be swallowed by the flames. We were going to leave Faedrun, *all* of us. For all I know, I’m the only one who made it out.

We had been fighting off the undead on the way to the ships when someone made the decision to set everything alight at the garrison, in hopes of burning those in pursuit. But the undead weren’t the only ones caught in the flames. I heard my mother scream as my father tried to prepare some sort of spell…he wasn’t quick enough. All of that time spent poring over texts and studying, almost worshipping the magic, it was our “purpose”, but it made no difference in the moment. Annoyed at their naivety, I cursed the gods that day, but I doubt the gods even heard my curses. As my sister pushed me back towards the ships, the heat must have made her hand sweat and she dropped her sword. I went to pick it up, and when I raised my head again, she was gone. I looked for her, but there wasn’t time, I had to get out of there, hoping she was already on board. I felt increasingly sick as the days went on, and the ship swayed, and I couldn’t find her amongst the crowd. I hated everyone aboard that ship who refused to talk to me, didn’t want to tell me anything about where she went or even try to help. But holding my sister’s sword in my hand, and hearing her voice in my head, I had to go on. I knew this was my time now. There was nothing left here, but in a land I could start anew…there was work still to be done.

As my fellow shipmates regarded me with unbridled disgust, I was reminded again and again what I was. My family…we were ferals; the “ugly” Syndar. The ones that fell short of the perfection the gods had tried for, so they tried again, and they tried again, and eventually birthed the Celestine. When I was born, my parents had been trying to give my sister a partner, another warrior to fight alongside her. They felt we would be stronger together, but I fell short in my abilities. No matter. Even as they berated me, wishing I could be more like her, she exceeded all their expectations and became so skilled in everything she chose to do, through brute strength, force of will and determination, it more than made up for me. My parents thought she had a respect for the magic too, how could she not, being so perfect? But only I knew the truth on that. It -almost- made me laugh… though I didn’t resent her for being great. Aside from my parents’ disappointment, I gladly lived in her shadow, trying to catch a glimpse of that light and instill it in my own soul. I knew she still thought I would grow up to rival her prowess. Amongst the gods’ ugliest children, disappointing offspring of my own parents…she gave me hope that there was still a plan, some way I could make something more of myself. In her eyes, I was not a lost cause.

Maybe I should have died alongside our parents, and I will carry that scar, as deep or as shallow as it chooses to remain, but I will not let -you- down, sister. They thought you better, but you did not see it so. I have not found my answers on so many things. But the answers I -do- find will be carved from the veins of existence by the blade of my sword, and etched into my own soul as a testament to you.

You will never be forgotten whether I find you or not. Alive or deceased, you will remain alive in me. And I promise I will make myself worthy of wielding your blade.

I hope someday to return it to you, with the knowledge I’ve finally made someone proud.

* * * * *
Vivi broke from her reverie as a spark danced across her sister’s blade and fell on exposed skin, slightly above her knee. She brushed it off and adjusted her clothing, then continuing to sharpen the sword by the fire. The latest human she had taken coin from, being hired on as a bodyguard of sorts, was sifting through some notes and a well-worn guidebook, not too far away. He was involved in things, so many things…following trails lit by curiosity, enterprise and conspiracy. She still weighed the risk in the back of her mind, but the coin was good…they would travel often…and he promised her a chance to be more. To serve a greater purpose.

Whether that would come to pass, it was still too soon to tell.

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Gwyndolin

Character Name: Gwyndolin

Gender: Female (She/Her)

Class: Mage

Age: 146

Race: Serous Syndar

Occupation: Archivist, librarian, and teacher.

Known Skills: Arcane Magic, Knowledge of rituals and esoteric magics, knowledge of history.

Birthplace: Tielorrien, Faedrun

BIO:

To Syr Cordyn Lockwell, Magistrate of the Ravens and Headmaster of the Ravens University,

I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirit. My name is Gwyndolin and I send you this letter as it is my wish to seek employment with the Ravens and the University in Keys Crossing.

I shall start with my credentials. Before our exodus from the continent of Faedrun I worked as a member of the Enlightened. If you are not aware of the Enlightened we were an order responsible for the education and training of the celestine syndar and preservation of arcane and historical records important to the syndar people. I would recommend inquiring with the Baron Alestear for more information if need be.

I have experience teaching as well as managing the archives from those days. Once I reached the continent of Mardrun I started working under the Celestial Arrogones in her archives researching and managing various texts and tomes. The subjects that I would be best at teaching include up to the highest levels of arcane magics, esoteric and ritual magic, as well as history of Syndar and Faedrun as a whole. I would also appreciate my expertise be used in the libraries of the university and if the position be available and you deem me worthy, to be in charge of said library. I hope the many decades of experience will be sufficient.

For the rest of these words I am putting my faith in you to keep them to yourself. I have left the Celestial Arragones’ services because I do not believe her to care for any individual people. It has been clear to me since the incident with Shin that she is willing to let others sacrifice themselves for whatever goal she deems worthy and is ready to cast them aside once they are no longer useful. I refuse to work for someone who plays with other’s lives like that and I have done my best to finish my work with her and leave on good terms. I would be much more comfortable working with the Ravens, especially with the current trend your organization has taken. I greatly appreciate the focus on education and the wellbeing of the citizens of Keys Crossing.

I appreciate the time you have taken to read my letter and sincerely hope to hear back from you.

With thanks and well wishes,
Gwyndolin

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Maj Greytide

PLAYED BY: Kallie Bain

CHARACTER NAME: Maj Greytide

GENDER: Female

PREFFERED PRONOUN(S): She/her

CLASS: Warrior

AGE: 21

RACE: Ulven

HAIR: Auburn

EYES: Hazel

OCCUPATION: Soldier, part-time political liaison, Champion of Pack Greytide

KNOWN SKILLS: Armor, Dual wielding, Mend, Pull Arrow, Resource: Politics, Respite, Shield/Expert, Toughness, True Grit

BIRTHPLACE: An unnamed collection of run-down houses in Greytide territory

APPEARANCE: Tall, with long hair usually tied back, typically wearing at least a little armor, favoring monotone colors

RELATIONSHIPS: an aging mother she visits occasionally and sends some money to, distant cousin of Khulgar Greytide, a few tenuous connections with minor New Hope nobles

RUMORS: Maj Greytide is a spy, sent to keep watch on the human colonies.

She once led a charge into a mordok encampment and came out unscathed…

or perhaps got herself and everyone with her badly injured or killed.

She was a thief as a child, and still isn’t above using those skills when she’s around the wealthy and noble.

She is the only calm or reasonable Greytide.

 

BIO / BACKGROUND HISTORY: 

As is often the case, it was a cloudy day which threatened rain when the mordok first came. Maj’s mother had called her inside to keep her dry and out of the coming storm so that her cold wouldn’t worsen, and the two were sitting beside the fire, wrapped in warm blankets, when the first scream echoed through the trees outside. 

Mother’s head jerked up at the sound, her face a rigid mask of fear. At the second scream, she jumped to her feet with a speed and agility Maj had never imagined from her and, in a flash, had pulled down the old sword sitting on the mantel. Before Maj could do more than cry out in her thin child’s voice, “Mother, wait—” she was out the door and racing into the forest. Maj stared for a moment, open-mouthed, at the door now swinging in the rising wind. Then, pulling her blanket tighter around her and wiping her nose on a corner of it, she rose too and padded up to the doorway on bare feet to peek outside. 

There was movement out in the trees, and more screams and yells. Maj heard her mother’s voice rise in a prolonged and incoherent shout, and the clash of metal on metal. The screams, at first rising familiar from throats Maj had known all her life, faded and changed to something more bestial as Maj tried to track the motions glimpsed through the trees and underbrush. She poked her head farther past the doorframe, squinting to see through the leaves.

Something humanoid came flying out of the trees toward the house. Maj jerked backward and slammed the door shut just before a heavy body struck it. Whatever it was bounced off, making the solid wood shudder, but did not strike again. Maj pressed her back into the door, holding it closed with her slight weight as she pulled the bar across and fit it into its holdings on either side of the frame. Panting from fear and the slight exertion, she listened to the now muffled sounds of her mother’s wails as the screams of pain all faded away. Finally, when it seemed all was quiet outside, Maj pulled back the bar and opened the door a crack. 

Nothing moved in the trees, and neither did the black, leathery beast lying in a heap of rags on the front step. Maj opened the door a little farther until the bottom edge bumped into the corpse, then stepped out and over the mordok, shuffling toward the trees. 

Everything seemed painted red as she stepped into the woods. Dark red splattered up tree trunks, coating bushes, running in little rivers over the ground. Maj’s feet were covered in red soon too, and her hands shook on the blanket gripped tight around her shoulders. 

It took her only a minute of searching to find her mother. Mother knelt in the leaf mulch, head bowed against the first raindrops of the coming storm, surrounded by the three still, bloodied bodies of Maj’s sisters.

Maj and her mother moved around a lot after that day. Mother never seemed to be able to stay in one spot for longer than a few months before the memories of how things were started to creep back in. Maj found her crying most nights, and curled up beside her. Maj wouldn’t admit it to either Mother or herself, but she couldn’t sleep most nights either. The nightmares slunk in when darkness fell.

Mother couldn’t do very much during the daylight either right at first, so Maj asked shop keepers and soldiers for small jobs to gain a few coppers for food. Most brushed her off, but enough smiled down at the little girl, no more than nine years old, that Maj brought home something for dinner most nights. Some nights, though, there was no money and no food. Mother was even more distant on those nights, so very occasionally food would appear despite the lack of copper, just so Maj could see her return to something like her old self, who had sat and laughed by the fire with her before a coming storm.

Five years later, and Maj was a fulltime beggar and thief and a parttime apprentice to an old warrior who had taken a liking to the serious little child. Her time on the streets had taught her persuasion and theatrics, and toughened her to bullies who would take what wasn’t theirs. Her evenings spent with the soldier honed her sword skills and gave her someone to talk to more honestly. He listened well to her confessions about her mother and her nightmares, her worries, her hunger both physical and emotional, her desires to do something more in her life than beg on corners and her fears of what might happen to her should she leave this town where her mother seemed finally to have settled down. Sometimes, he even gave advice when she needed it. Mostly, though, he listened and let her work it out on her own. Without saying anything, he taught her to think before reacting and to work through a problem rather than simply hitting it with a sword, as so many Greytides tended to do.

Nothing good lasts forever though. As Clan Grimward made its final push into Nightriver territory, the old warrior was called to battle one last time. He bade farewell to the 15-year-old Maj and went east to join the final battle, to pass on to the Great Wolf where Maj couldn’t reach him. 

Maj left the village soon after, angry and lost but determined to earn her way and rise among her clan. For two years she wandered, working as a sell sword when she could and an errand runner when nothing else appeared. She spent what she needed for equipment and food, and sent the rest back to her mother. Whenever she was in the area, she would visit Mother. Mother had come back to something like herself with Maj’s departure, shuffling around their little shack of a house to sweep when she started to sneeze from the dust, cooking the occasional meal, and waving to the neighbors as they passed. She had aged quickly, hair completely white already, puffing out like a cloud around her stooped shoulders. Maj always smiled around Mother, but it hurt to see her like this. 

In the year 267, Maj answered the call to clear the mordok from the Great Wolf’s Hackles, traveling with another Grimward warrior to join the effort against the monsters who had slaughtered her sisters. She was determined this time to do more than hide. There, she proved herself in front of some who carried word of her bravery in the face of mortal enemies and mortal wounds, and of her continued aid of the injured even after her own near death. They spoke also of her ability to work alongside any who stood against the mordok, regardless of clan or race, though perhaps not of her willingness to do so.

She was declared Champion of Pack Greytide not long after for her deeds in the mountains, and Khulgar Grimward claimed her as a cousin. He granted her the title of Hersir to Clan Grimward, an honor she very nearly refused because of her lack of political experience. He insisted, though, perhaps seeing something in her that she herself had missed. She served her pack and clan both on the battlefield and on the political stage, crafting deals when not maneuvering warriors against the mordok. 

In these positions, she grew and changed. She learned about the world and its people, their differing views and beliefs. It was a time she enjoyed, doing an invaluable service to her clan, yet she felt split down the middle throughout the whole thing. Politics or war? She struggled to choose between the two, to balance them in her life, but in the end the choice to give one up was taken from her.

Pack Greytide is a violent group, not prone to positive progress in politics. Maj was never popular or prominent in her home town, just a child in the background, occasionally accused of thievery. Her return the first year after she became Hersir got her a few dirty looks and some muttering. Some people congratulated her, a few were proud to have a Greytide in such a position. Most simply continued to pretend she didn’t exist. The second year, though, she had been out in the world of politics. She had been making changes, and trade agreements, and alliances with human factions. News had traveled.

Few people ignored her this time. Some stared at her with something like respect, but they didn’t speak up as the others murmured insults as she passed. Maj had been in town less than a day before she was confronted for the first time. It was a drunk elder, shouting at her, calling her a traitor and a sneak. Someone she could easily turn her back on and ignore. He yelled for a while as she walked away, but didn’t pursue her, and no one watching paid him much attention. 

The next time, though, it was a warrior of merit who had come home from the Shield for a month to recover from his wounds. He did not shout, but calmly spoke the insults to her face, calling her honor into question. Baiting her until even Maj’s even temperament could not stand that look on his face. 

The honor duel was long and hard-fought, the two combatants almost evenly matched. Maj was out of practice from her two years of politics, and the warrior was still stiff from healing muscles severed by a mordok blade. Still, both fought fairly and cleanly, and when Maj was at last beaten to the ground and stripped of her title, she acquiesced with grace and took her opponent’s offered hand to help her rise. As she was bested in an honor duel she was forced to give up her title as Champion.

She continues as a respected member of her pack, but can no longer claim the title of Hersir. Perhaps, some day in the future, she will strive for that position again. For now, the protection of Mardrun and Greytide will have to be enough.

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Eirian ap Meinwen

Played By: Matt Edwardson

Character Name: Eirian ap Meinwen

Preferred Pronouns: They

“Eirian, again, what helps one’s awen grow?” “The poetry of the past, the poetry of today, and our stories” Eirian replied swiftly to his grandfather, Cadwgan. “Very good. Now who are the three most generous?” The elder quickly continued. “Um, Blodwen known as Blodwen of the Golden hand, Delwyn known as Delwyn the kind and Eira known as Eira of the gentle snow. Oh! And of course Bartram Crauch who was more generous than all three!” “Very good.” Cadwgan said. “I think that is enough for today. I believe your mother has some javelin practice she wanted you to work on.” “Thank you grand-da.” Erian replied before hurrying off to find his mother.

Eirian’s mother, Meinwen, was in their yard setting up a few small wooden targets, “ah Eirian. Is your grandfather’s lesson over already?” She says, “Yes ma. He said you wanted to do some javelin training today?” Eirian asked with a not so subtle note of hope in their voice. “Yes we’ll be working on your aim a bit today.” Meinwen hands Eirian a javelin, “now just take your time and line up your throw.”

Several years pass with much of Eirian’s youth spent being taught by their grandfather or trained by their mother. Then one day a chance comes to Eirian to take up their first contract. As it happened, the Prince was looking for mercenaries and so Eirian signed on but the work was kept under wraps until the days of planning. It turned out to be a joint attack on Squalborn territories with Stormjarl. It wasn’t a glamorous position but, ever practical, Eirian knew it would bring much needed real world experience. It was hard fought but the Prince’s forces and their Stormjarl allies were able to take and hold land.

Eirian helped to settle into the hard won lands, which would soon after be named Aylin’s Reach. As with many warriors and poets, the song of wanderlust called sweetly and Eirian decided to heed that call. Their excitement at the prospect of new tales to live and to tell could be felt like the charge of the air in a thunder storm.

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Hex Pendable

PLAYED BY: David Brunes

CHARACTER NAME: Hex Pendable

GENDER: Male

PREFERRED PRONOUN(S): He/Him

CLASS: Warrior

AGE: 28

RACE: Human

HAIR: Brown

EYES: Blue

OCCUPATION: Mercenary/Guard, now dragged into a “divine militia”/cult.

KNOWN SKILLS: Surviving in an urban environment, beating people, fighting, murder, sleeping, drinking

BIRTHPLACE: Small Vandergonian town now long since destroyed, too young to know what town that was.

APPEARANCE: Rough, stoic, usually looks like they just rolled out of bed and are annoyed by your presence.

NOTABLE TRAITS: Usually tired, covered in armor, and either looking for food and drink or consuming said food and drink

RELATIONSHIPS: Currently a member of the Blades of Sol, convinced to join by his other ragamuffin friends who have either gotten much more involved, left, or died at this point.

RUMORS: They seem to just go with the flow, not really fighting decisions or making major decisions for themself. They have a rigid exterior, but internally just want a good meal and a nap.
Not much is known about them because they tend to not do much. No one has broken them out of their shell, whether or not anyone has even tried yet.
They don’t even seem to want to be a Blades of Sol member, but they seem to not want to be convinced otherwise. Last person who tried was met with the usual hostility.

BIO / BACKGROUND HISTORY:
Born in a town now lost to the hordes of undead and cultists to parents that died off long enough ago to be forgotten, this wholly unremarkable man is a living epitome of indifference and unwillingness to change. They stuck with the same friend group growing up, at least the ones that survived, and made their way doing what the rest of the world did. They ran through alleys as a kid, stealing here and there. They got in their fair amount of scraps with other street dwellers, occasionally needing to make use of sticks or rocks to get their point across or make their escape.
Always longing for the simple life, Hex’s wishes never are met as they are constantly asked to do this or that. Hoping that one day they would either land a comfortable spot being a guard in a town with no problems so that they could keep watch on something too important to be messed with and enjoy their off time drinking, or they would meet a voluptuous and well connected woman who would take care of them so that they never needed to work a day in their life.

Instead of living either dream, Hex’s friends found a Celestine Syndar. Thinking they could easily make some money following around someone who reeked of being special in some form, they followed as “guards”. Time went on, and despite their otherwise ill intentions, they ended up becoming guards for this celestine. What became a way of getting free food and drink became an actual job, and one surrounded by interesting company at that. From doting ulven wanting to keep a naive syndar safe to groups of Solar worshipers thinking this Celestine was a gift, Hex and his group ended up mingling and mixing in. Hex himself tended to only speak with his direct friends, but never turned down a free drink when offered to him.
But as time went on, one specific day had changed everything drastically. The land continued to be at its own throat with bandits, mordok, and tense political problems. The group of travelers were as crestfallen as the rest of the realm in the midst of the winter season. With complaints heavy in the air, one of the tavern patrons posed the question to the celestine “Are you going to unite everyone under a banner to vanquish the darkness?” Hex himself rolled his eyes and continued drinking his ale, but then he heard everyone beginning to rally with the celestine. Apparently the shiny guy had said the right thing, and the tavern atmosphere began buzzing with excitement and standing. Hex, not knowing what was going on, stood up with his friends still eating his loaf of bread and accidentally joining The Blades of Sol.
Many months have passed since his joining. He was given a sword, heavier armor, formal sword training, a sufficient amount of food and booze complimented by moral raising parties, and has been more or less been kept content with his new life within the Blades. While his friends roamed, departed, died, or found themselves deeper within the Blades, Hex continued his life of being a fighter and simple guard. Occasionally being asked to do a task here or there that he has not been a fan of, primarily a dangerous mission to fight bandits or something worse, he does his job with the normal amount of grumbles you’d receive asking a tired farmer to stand up after a long day’s work.
An unremarkable, unwavering, and otherwise standard human who hasn’t had anything special happen to them has been dragged into a group claiming to want to save the world. Whether he knows what he’s in for or not, this man’s adventure has already started. Either becoming a legend or becoming another funeral pyre, only time will tell.

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Theodore Abbotson

PLAYED BY: Matt Thomas

CHARACTER NAME: Theodore (Theo) Abbotson

GENDER: Male

CLASS: Rogue

AGE: Middle aged, 30ish

RACE: Human

HAIR: Blonde

EYES: Hazel

OCCUPATION: Merc for hire

KNOWN SKILLS: Waylay (0xp), Sap (1xp), Dual Wielding (2xp), Improved Dual Wielding (3xp), Break Away (4xp), Appraise (5xp), Armor Proficiency (6xp)

BIRTHPLACE: Vandregon ~ Ritchcrag descendent

APPEARANCE: Tall, medium build, tends to wear masquerade masks or mempo’s.

NOTABLE TRAITS: Very good at doing whatever is asked of him

RELATIONSHIPS: Seems often found around people that need jobs doing at high prices

RUMORS: Supposedly killed a charging bull while walking across a field. Sticks to dark places. Enjoys camouflaging himself to train spying and subterfuge skills.

BIO / BACKGROUND HISTORY:
Growing up in the region of Vandregon, life was fairly peculiar for the young lad. This land was not the one his family had moved from where heroes were great and well respected. His parents drilled it into him at a young age that elders were shown the utmost courtesy and respect, especially to the individuals that wore fancy shirts, dresses, and hats above all. His father explained that they weren’t just a show of their stature in society, it meant they were efficient fighters, wearing the wealth of those slain by their blades. At first the young boy wanted to ask if it was to show off that they could embark on battles and return without a scratch, but he didn’t want to get snide less his father beat him for it. He came to realize while young what his parents meant by showing their superiors respect. His father would tell stories about how the nobles in Valinate would do horrible deeds to those whom offended them in, at least in Vandregon, seemed like water off a ducks back.

When the Penitent came surging into the lands of Vandregon, Theodore’s parents were a bit hasty to head for a new land discovered over seas. For his parents had been lucky to escape the town of Valinate on a vessel taking those who fled the Penitent away to safer lands. Safer, that is, for a time. Eventually many escaped the relentless undead horde for the safer lands of Mardrun that were rumored from sailors that had returned from over sea’s. Nobody knows if any defenders of Faedrun were left at all.

As the Abbotson’s, and many others, left Faedrun to the Penitent. It seemed like many weeks had passed before Mardrun’s shorelines came into sight, the yell from the crows nest of “LAND HO!!!” rung out loud and clear. During their voyage they came across a few other ships, all with the same destination in mind. Safety. For even though they might have left meager possessions behind, or everything they lived off of in wealth, everyone here was having a fresh start. Having Tailors for parents, to Theodore, seemed like a well respected job here in the new country. People were always needing holes patched and those that managed to acquire wealth quickly seemed to come in for well respectable attire to wear to business ventures and banquets with others.

Eventually in his twenties the burning of Richtcrag’s fighting desire took over the young man. He’d often take earnings from delivering his parents’ clothing, to the local tavern’s to see how many fights he might get himself into. As he grew more and more competent through his fighting, he’d begin to place bets with his chosen opponent of the evening for possessions. Theo would often wager big on the families well trained donkeys they’d purchased with which to haul fabrics to the shop, against someone’s sword, knowing fully well that the drunken arse was thinking they’d win two donkeys easily for such a meager thing as a sword. In this manner, Theodore came to stockpile weapons and various pieces of armor until he had himself quite the adventurer’s gear.

He’d often head out on long excursions to the various cities of New Hope, Silver’s Crossing, New Aldoria, to the great north and fight besides the warriors of the great Shield of Mardrun. He found fighting mordok quite amusing, especially when they’d go into a blood rage and chase him until they fell over dead. It was around this time that he practiced using the stealthy, dirty fighting tactics he heard about from his father at an event called The Masquerade. Masked individuals who’s only forms of identity were the colors of their masks, darting among shadows and slitting throats. He never got to know just how good they were at their chosen profession, but it didn’t stop him from trying to reach that same threshold.

A few years later and Theodore returned home to see his parents’ shop as successful as ever. The place had grown considerably as they bought new looms and hired a few more employees since, for all they knew, their son might have been slain somewhere. While at home he informed his parents of his deeds for the last few years and all the sight’s he’s seen. Of Mordok and the Dirge swamp, of how brutal and, quite frankly, terrifying they were face to face. Much more viscous fighters than drunken sods at a tavern. He told them of how they would enter a rage before death and he’d lead them off on a chase to keep it as far from his allies on the line before making it back to assist where he could once again. And he’d tell them the stories he’d hear from the Ulven fighters about there heroes and the bravery of their fighters and other seasoned warriors.

Now he’s off doing his own devices again. One can’t help but wonder…what stories will he come back with this time?

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October 2021 – Research and Defense

Event Story:
After a harrowing month of travel, the City-State Research Expedition has finally returned back to friendly territory. Dead were burned along the way and the wounded began to build up but the well-stocked supplies of the expedition and the supporting scouts and security forces kept the caravan relatively safe on its journey home. Although exhausted, the research expedition was able to return without too much trouble other than the harassing Mordok group from time to time. The in-depth scrying rituals and research performed, as well as physically scouting such a strange and unique place at the center of the Dirge Swamp, has left the scholars with more questions than answers. However, at least they are alive today in order to decipher such things tomorrow.

The journey of the expedition has seemed to stir the Mordok in the area. While any kind of larger scale response was, thankfully, absent it does seem that in the wake of the expedition a group of Mordok has followed them until they have reached the defensive line of The Shield. Several outposts have reported heightened Mordok attacks on the defenses and a considerable uptick in Mordok activity, forcing combat patrols to pull extra duty to try to head off any sizeable Mordok group heading south. Several considerable fights have broken out but at least for now, the defenses of The Shield are holding.

Larger outposts or those with larger clans committing warriors and supplies have weathered this storm fairly well, but one outpost in particular is struggling. The outpost that Clan Axhound and Clan Whiteoak frequently garrison has sent a call for aid. It appears that a sizeable group containing a Mordok Shaman, a powerful spell-casting leader figure, followed the expedition until it reached the defensive line of The Shield and began to create corruption idols in the surrounding area. While these idols have yet to spread far enough to physically endanger the garrison, the corrupting magic of the idols is concerning to the outpost leaders. Scouts and warpack patrols have tried to avoid that area in case the magics could afflict them and cause illness or a drain of resources. The Shaman has apparently moved on from the area but a moderate Mordok presence remains.

Some of the outpost leadership have sent word south looking for aid, knowing that adventurers and smaller groups could potentially respond faster than the other Ulven Clans who have their own garrisons to manage. While it is expected that the outpost leaders will want these corruption idols destroyed, there is rumor that some scholars of Celestial Arragones’ research team may be trying to gather support to research and study the idols instead. Either way, these idols are a concern for the defenders on The Shield and must be handled and the Mordok driven from the area.

 

UPDATE:
A great deal of support spilled into the joint outpost to help beat back the increased Mordok presence and help to deal with the corruption idols that appeared in the area, though the aid to the warpacks and patrols in the area was not nearly as strong. All things considered though, not only did a great deal of adventurers heed the call for aid, but multiple support and martial units from organizations throughout Mardrun arrived to the outpost under their various banners. It was a long day and at times grueling, but the allied forces garrisoned in the Whiteoak-Axhound outpost prevailed in their task.

The Mordok were held back from the outpost and not only were all three corruption idols in the area destroyed, but one of them was researched at great lengths. Arragones’ researcher as well as a team of volunteers threw themselves into the maw of corruption to gather as much information as they possibly could regarding the form and function of the mysterious corruption idols. Though they collected a great deal of interesting data, it will have to be taken back to Arragones’ labs to be parsed through before any true insights can be revealed.

Unfortunately the day was not all peaches-and-cream. The traitor, James Arbor, made an appearance. James Arbor was convicted of attacking an unarmed Truthseeker many months ago and on the eve of his conviction gave himself willingly to The Mother and vanished from his cell. His appearance at the outpost was a surprise. He was seen through the day working alongside the Mordok and at one point participated in an outright attack against the allied forces as they attempted to destroy a corruption idol, one that had been empowered through some unknown magical methods. In the end James Arbor was nearly struck down, but as the killing blow fell towards his body he again vanished into the stream of mana leaving only pools of his own blood behind. Where he is now, if he even arrived there in one piece is anyone’s guess.

The day also saw a proclamation from Celestial Arragones regarding the recent expedition into the heart of The Dirge as well as a response being circulated via flyers that claimed her proclamation as being full of lies and half-truths. They are included below.

 

ARRAGONES’ PROCLAIMATION:

This One would also like to upon the rumors that have been in circulation regarding the visions and scrying ritual findings from the heart of The Dirge last month. These rumors carry some truth, but they avoid important nuance.

What we have learned is that the location we reached last month is without a doubt both the physical and metaphysical center of The Dirge Swamp. It was the location where The Dirge first appeared. What we know now is that at that location once upon a time the Ancient Syndar captured the dark and malevolent entity that has since come to be known as The Mother. They held her in stasis there so as to protect the people of not just Mardrun, but the world as a whole. This valiant action ingratiated the Syndar with the Ulven people and soon they became one, giving birth to children that housed the greatest characteristics of the both of them; physically strong, unmatchable intellect and magical aptitude, the ability to cast Witch Magic. 

Unfortunately good things do not last long. Some years later the latent magic of The Mother in the area made things far too dangerous to keep her housed where she was. The Ancient Syndar made a decision to move her in stasis to their Northern Research Station. At this time however the containment failed and she was able to burst free. The Mother unleashed wholesale corruption on the area and poisoned the new children of The Syndar and The Ulven and we now believe these to be The Mordok. Beyond this The Mother took her anger out on the Syndar as well and did something to them that was described in the logs as “worse than a hollowing.” We do not know what this was, but we did find evidence that the areas where the Ancient Syndar stood when The Mother broke free were the only areas that showed absolutely no magical readings.

This information has only furthered This One’s desire to find a way to combat The Corruption and turn back the clock. Our ancestors were heroes and likely died trying to make the world a safer place. We all owe it to them and their descendants to fix what has broken

  • In her hand, Celestial Arragones

RESPONSE FLYER TO ARRAGONES’ PROCLAIMATION:

ARRAGONES LIES!

By now all have heard the proclamation of Her Disgrace, Arragones. Suffice it to say that her proclamation is nothing but honeyed words to smooth over the crimes of our ancestors. My identity will have to remain hidden for now, but know that I was a member of the expedition into the heart of The Dirge Swamp. I had the visions while meditating and I heard firsthand accounts of the scrying rituals. What I offer is not a pretty truth, but it is the whole truth based on the information that we uncovered, not the sugar-coated ramblings of an out-of-touch noble.Our ancestors, the Ancient Syndar did not save the world from The Mother. They brought her to this world. They did not capture her out of the goodness of their hearts. They sought to harness her power for their own selfish ends.I do not know how they did what they did, but the facts of the matter are these. The Mother was once a deity not unlike any other. She resided beyond our plane of existence. The Ancient Syndar on Mardrun found a way to tear her from her plane and force her onto ours and when they did they encased her in a crystalline prison. They used her for years as a power source to empower their various experiments. Chief among these experiments was a desire to give rise to a perfect race of children, for all the great power the Syndar commanded, they were unable to learn witch magic. They had failed at least once to create their intended offspring, but found that with the divine power of The Mother they were able to give birth to their perfect children who encompassed only the greatest traits of the Ulven and the Syndar.

A time came where The Ancient Syndar chose to move The Mother to their Northern Research Station, no doubt with the intention on continuing to siphon her power. Their containment however proved to be fragile and upon movement the structure began to break down. The greatest of the Syndar Ritualists, led by their Celestine Galwachar, encircled the containment and tried to repair the cracks, but they failed. The Mother erupted from her prison, twisted and corrupted by her rage. The initial wave of corruption spread from this point, eventually creating The Dirge Swamp. She called the Syndar on their hubris for thinking they could contain a goddess and she told them that they would undergo a punishment worse than hollowing and that neither they nor their “favored children” would ever forget that day. We do not know what she did to the Ancient Syndar, only that the places where they stood around her were the only areas of the swamp that were completely void of all types of mana.

The Mother then did as she promised and went to the favored children. Myself and others had visions from their point of view as their vision went dark and they were wracked with unbearable pain, but then a point of light pieced the darkness and with it came a voice that soothed all the pain away. I will never forget this voice as it spoke, “Don’t worry child, mother is here. She will take all the pain away.”I have no doubt in my mind that these favored children did become The Mordok and as they were created with her magic, she is in fact their mother.

What we know is that The Mother, The Mordok, The Dirge Swamp, Corruption? It was all created by the meddling of the Ancient Syndar and Arragones does not want you to know this. Do what you want with this information. I will spend my days spreading the word and trying to atone for the crimes of my forefathers.