- Kun Kneebasher
- Chief Udoros of the Snowfang
- Jeddin of the Five-Way
- Dorin Fossor, Knight of Winter
Played by Ron
Kun is overall a nice person, but, not a Hero by any means. People have died to his inaction, and to him, it must have been their time to go. If he can save someone as part of his goals, he will try, but he won't go out of his way for someone who got themselves into a bad situation. If they are a dwarf he can trust into the clan, then he weighs that option closely to figure out where he can fit it in, and if the end result is worth it.
As the clan of Runecarvers was abolished, they took up an ancient clan name of Kneebasher. The clan consists of 73 strong, and they now live in what they are calling Strongwood. The name was given to the town when Kunath used his powers to strengthen the wood they used to build. This ritual was passed down to those that could learn it, and the wood is sold or traded for the goods needed in the town.
Kun has spent his time trying to master the rune portals in hopes that one day he can open them up for the good of the world. Built into that, is unlocking the one that was sealed at his clans home, to get his families items back. Sometimes around the fire, the clan, his people, talk about regaining our name, other times, we realize we have a good life, and Kneebasher is just as good of a clan as Runecarver was.
Kun Kneebasher alias, level 15
Dwarf, Runepriest, Enlightened Word
Build: Wrathful Runepriest
Runic Artistry Option: Wrathful Hammer
Dwarf - Ancestral Home Lost (Nature class skill)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 23, CON 19, DEX 9, INT 11, WIS 13, CHA 15
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 17, CON 13, DEX 8, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 14
AC: 31 Fort: 29 Ref: 23 Will: 27
HP: 101 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 25
Arcana +14, Heal +16, Insight +15, Nature +15, Religion +14
Acrobatics +8, Athletics +15, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +11, Dungeoneering +12, Endurance +15, History +9, Intimidate +11, Perception +10, Stealth +8, Streetwise +11, Thievery +8
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Dwarf Racial Power: Dwarven Resilience
Runepriest Feature: Rune of Mending
Runepriest Attack 1: Word of Diminishment
Runepriest Attack 1: Word of Exchange
Runepriest Attack 1: Flames of Purity
Runepriest Attack 1: Rune of the Undeniable Dawn
Runepriest Utility 2: Shield of Sacrifice
Runepriest Attack 5: Cage of Light
Heal Utility 6: Swift Recovery
Runepriest Attack 7: Symbol of Cowardice
Runepriest Utility 10: Protective Scroll
Enlightened Word Attack 11: Celestial Lightning
Enlightened Word Utility 12: Touch of Hope
Runepriest Attack 13: Words of Fiery Fidelity
Runepriest Attack 15: Brand of Arcing Lightning
Level 1: Skill Training (Arcana)
Level 2: Dwarven Weapon Training
Level 4: Quick Steps
Level 6: Ritual Caster
Level 8: Solid Footing
Level 10: Weapon Expertise (Hammer)
Level 11: Lightning Reflexes
Level 12: Superior Will
Level 14: Superior Fortitude
Rare Herbs (Nature)
Pitcher of Ale
Bag of Holding
Bed of Rapid Rest
Gloves of Storing x1
Potion of Healing
Ioun's Revelation (level 13)
Last Breath of the Gods (paragon tier)
Dwarven Thrower Craghammer +3 x1
Ride the Winds
Medic's Amulet +3 x1
Summoned Wyrmscale Armor +4 x1
Silt Striders x1
Cord of Divine Favor x1
1. Dowsing Rod, Traveler's Camouflage, Purify Water, Banish Vermin, Fastidiousness, Gentle Repose, Explorer's Fire
2. Preservation, Bloom, Water Walk, Endure Elements
3. Battlefield Elocution, Undead Ward, Speech Without Words, Fool's Gold
4. Traveler's Feast, Enchant Magic Item, Transfer Enhancement
6. Ironwood, Mordenkainen's Ascent, Wizard's Escape, Disenchant Magic Item, Decipher Script, Leomond's Secret Chest
8. Gravesight, Raise Dead, Linked Portal, Remove Affliction, Share Husk
10. Eagle's Flight, Trailblaze
11. Land Ward
12. Reverse Portal, Mark of Justice, Hallowed Temple
Played by Alexander
Udoros Riverking is a physically fit middle-aged man that has lived and survived alone in the wild for his entire life. He is not quite human, and sometimes acts in a bestial manner, doing such things as running on all fours, climbing trees, and fighting with his bare hands and teeth. When his slightly unpredictable but ferocious temper wears thin, many have noticed that Udoros' teeth lengthen into terrifying wolf-like fangs. His senses, such as eyesight and smell, seem to be heightened when compared to humans. However, Udoros is well known for sometimes having inadequate social manners due to his lifetime of wilderness living. Many whisper that Udoros is the son of a woman who was raped by a wolf or some other wild creature, though never to his face.
Udoros was born on a hilltop during a full moon under the Western Claw, an incredibly rare alignment of bright stars. At birth he was proclaimed to be a fabled reborn savior, destined to reunite the scattered tribes of his shifter people. He doesn't take to any of this destiny talk, being in adulthood an extremely practical woodsman and survivalist. Udoros has traveled far in his lifetime, and is the most accomplished wilderness guide in the Fallcrest region (earning his fearsome reputation and surname). He lives alone and spends most of his time alone, living off the land and enjoying nature's beauty. He has many animal friends near his home, and is content to live in peace and quiet - until his wanderlust strikes again.
The Snowfang tribe of shifters has lived in the northern Winterbole forest for hundreds of years. They are shifters with wolf traits. Mostly human, they exhibit animal-like behaviors when excited which improve their physical abilities. Being a shifter is hereditary. The chieftain of the tribe is not a hereditary title, rather it is the tribe's most honorable and powerful warrior. For the last six generations that has been Udoros' forefathers.
These great chiefs have dealt with the threats of their icy homeland admirably. One hundred years ago Chief Eunen rallied the Snowfang peoples and stopped the Tigerclaw tribe's attempt to take over the entire Winterbole forest. Thirty years ago Chief Utan (Udoros' father) took his best warriors and almost slayed the white dragon Bitterstrike, sending the dragon into hiding until very recently. Chief Utan was the first to stand against the white dragon of the north, and he survived. With a single strike of his pitch black scimitar, the chief gained legendary status as he cleaved the dragon's brow and skewered her left eye. Screaming in agony, the dragon turned tail and fled. For thirty years, the white wyrm disappeared from the valley, and the Snowfang's songs of victory spread. However, when Udoros returned home after adventuring with his companions a few years ago, the Snowfang tribe was facing its most dangerous threat to date.
After their defeat one hundred years ago, the Tigerclaw tribe's remnants stayed in the Winterbole but moved away from their Snowfang conquerors. On a scouting mission to determine what the Tigerclaw had been up to, Udoros discovered that the Tigerclaw had been raiding small farms and human settlements in the south and taking slaves for a long time. The original tribe of shifters, calling themselves the Tigerblood, only made up a small percentage of the overall group now. Most of Udoros' enemies were snow enslaved human warriors, called the Tamed; barbarians that obeyed their Tigerblood masters and were effectively part of the Tigerclaw tribe. With such a great force at his disposal, Udoros knew that the Tigerclaw Chief Scargash would inevitably attack the Snowfang again. Udoros rushed home and warned his people to prepare for war.
The preparation was long and disciplined. Chief Utan, now a proud old legend of the north, refused to request any aid from outside the tribe. The Snowfang were as ready as they could've been when the Tigerclaw finally came. Chief Utan believed that his people could not lose. They were the rightful and respectful peoples of the Winterbole, while the Tigerclaw had only moved here from the far east a handful of generations ago. Chief Utan knew that his warriors were better than the Tigerclaws, if fewer. Shortly before the battle joined, a third of the Snowfang tribe fell ill. Whispers blamed Tigerclaw poisoners or some sort of curse. Regardless, two days later the Tigerclaw attacked. The Snowfang fought with honor, and the Snowfang lost.
Tigerclaw Chief Scargash personally slayed Udoros' father, Chief Utan, and took the legendary black blade for his own. Udoros made a difficult decision when he saw the battle was lost, to fight to the death and the end of his tribe, or to retreat to fight again another day. Udoros led his people away, repeatedly risking his life in a series of skirmish tactics to allow for the weak and injured to escape. Eventually, less than half the Snowfang tribe arrived in the south at the human town of Winterhaven. Udoros' lieutenant Sasha took over getting the tribe settled and healed after their harrowing escape, while Udoros immediately returned north to find his enemies' weaknesses and plan for the counter-offensive. The big shifter lived hidden in the snowy woods alone, watching the Tigerclaw take a few of his surviving tribesmen as slaves and plotting his revenge.
One moon after Chief Utan's death, the white dragon Bitterstrike returned. Visibly shaking with shame and rage, the beast desecrated the chief's grave, and destroyed the remnants of the Snowfang tribe's villages. Afterwards, Scargash and the dragon spoke for some time. Udoros watched this helplessly from the woods, himself filled with rage and shame. Seeing that his enemies were simply too powerful, Udoros put off his revenge and returned south to make sure his refugee tribe was taken well care of back in Winterhaven.
Sasha had led the Snowfang well in his absence, but Udoros had no more success than she had in convincing the Winterhaven ruler, Lord Padraig, to allow the Snowfang to live in the city walls. Udoros' heart ached to see his noble people treated with such disdain, and he knew that with their lessened numbers they could never directly assault the Tigerclaw and reclaim their home in the forest. Their tribe was hereditary, and Udoros would never expand on their numbers through slavery as the Tigerclaw had done to ensure victory. Udoros' mind turned to the idea that his people needed a new home altogether where they could be safe and grow their numbers for the future. He knew his best friends and fellow adventurers from his youth in Fallcrest could help him with this, and so the big shifter traveled back to his old stomping grounds after years of being away.
Reunited with his friends Crixus and Jeddin, Udoros traveled to Winterhaven and then north to the Winterbole forest, where he helped stop the invading army of Thulsa Doom. Slaying the werewolf general, Udoros was challenged by Scargash of the Tigerclaw tribe. Udoros slayed Scargash in single combat and reclaimed the ancestral blade of his tribe, the Snowfang. Regaining his people's honor, Udoros desecrated the body of his honorless foe according to tradition and returned to Winterhaven victorious. Erban the priest disagreed with Udoros' desecration of Scargash, and attempted to defame the Snowfang tribe, and the Lord of Winterhaven almost accepted the priest's honorless whispering until Udoros intervened. Angry, Udoros set out to claim the Gardmore Abbey as a new home for his refugee tribe, away from Winterhaven and the cities of others. Erban agreed to help in this task, and Udoros forgave him, but Erban quickly revealed himself as a liar - abandoning clearing Gardmore and beginning to say negative things about the party to the citizens of Winterhaven.
Udoros and his friends killed the orcs of Gardmore, and declared themselves the Lords of Gardmore. Udoros' Snowfang clan of shifters moved to the village, along with some of Kun's dwarven clan. Later Udoros traveled north and slayed the dragon Bitterstrike. Using ancient magic, Udoros broadcast this vision to all shifters, solidifying his place in shifter legend and his leadership of their people. The Tigerclaw remnants merged with the Snowfang tribe not long after this. Udoros had Bitterstrike the white dragon made into armor, which the shifter wears with pride.
Udoros then met with Ajani Swiftstrike in the north, and the two met with the great nature spirit of the Hunter of Winter. An ancestor-spirit, their meeting with this being solidified their faith in their mission to rescue all shifters and reunite them into one great tribe for the sake of safety and the betterment of their people. The Hunter blessed Udoros as the Western Claw, and Udoros began carrying ice blades and gauntlets after that point. These complement his white scale armor forged from Bitterstrike.
Udoros has since begun a relationship with Zarel Gardrin and currently battles to save Argent from the primordials.
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Udoros, level 20
Longtooth Shifter, Ranger, Pathfinder
Build: Two-Blade Ranger
Fighting Style Option: Two-Blade Fighting Style
Ranger Option: Prime Shot
Redemption Seeker (Redemption Seeker Benefit)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 23, CON 14, DEX 15, INT 11, WIS 21, CHA 9
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 16, CON 13, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 8
AC: 36 Fort: 34 Ref: 27 Will: 31
HP: 131 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 32
Athletics +23, Diplomacy +21, Heal +20, Insight +23, Nature +20, Perception +22
Acrobatics +12, Arcana +10, Bluff +12, Dungeoneering +15, Endurance +19, History +10, Intimidate +9, Religion +10, Stealth +12, Streetwise +9, Thievery +12
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Sohei Attack: Sohei Flurry
Longtooth Shifter Racial Power: Longtooth Shifting
Hunter's Quarry Power: Hunter's Quarry
Ranger Attack 1: Twin Strike
Ranger Attack 1: Marauder's Rush
Ranger Utility 2: Invigorating Stride
Ranger Attack 3: Ruffling Sting
Sohei Utility 6: Sohei Clarity
Ranger Attack 9: Attacks on the Run
Ranger Utility 10: Resume the Hunt
Pathfinder Attack 11: Wrong Step
Pathfinder Utility 12: Act Together
Ranger Attack 13: Off-Hand Diversion
Ranger Attack 15: Blade Cascade
Ranger Utility 16: Wolfjaw Blows
Ranger Attack 17: Untamed Outburst
Ranger Attack 19: Cruel Cage of Steel
Pathfinder Attack 20: Slasher's Mark
Level 1: Divine Healer
Level 2: Weapon Proficiency (Bastard sword)
Level 4: Heavy Blade Expertise
Level 6: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 8: Improved Defenses
Level 10: Wintertouched
Level 11: Icy Heart
Level 12: Lasting Frost
Level 14: Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Level 16: Prime Punisher
Level 18: Prime Quarry
Level 20: Called Shot
Potion of Clarity (level 5)
Potion of Healing
Potion of Elven Fleetness
Potion of Resistance (heroic tier)
Potion of Cure Light Wounds
Fey Step Potion
Speech Without Words
Helm of Seven Deaths
Blood Fury Bastard sword +1
Gloves of Ice (paragon tier) x1
Nature's Fervor (level 3)
Mind of Two Moons
The Fading One - Ghostfoot
Climb the Giant
Speak with Animals
Potion Bandolier x1
Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier) x1
Unguent of Darkvision
Dice of Auspicious Fortune
Stone of Earth
Tattoo of the Penitent Martyr x1
Pixie Music Box
Cold Iron Shackles
Gem of Colloquy (paragon tier) x1
Symbol of Shared Healing +2
Lesser Elixir of Speed
Potion of Resistance (paragon tier)
Potion of Vitality
Planestrider Boots x1
Elixir of Flying (paragon tier)
Potion of Clarity (level 15)
Siberys Shard of Merciless Cold (paragon tier)
Dwarven Nagascale Armor +5 x1
Steadfast Amulet +4 x1
Frost Bastard sword +4 x2
Transposing Javelin +3
Ring of Retreat
Broom of Flying
Whistle of Warning
====== End ======
Played by Gordon
White-haired human male with a large hat and a horribly disfigured missing eye.
Jeddin is from the somewhat isolated Library of Highforest, a small center of learning operated by priests and sages of Ioun and Bahamut. Being invited to study at this remote isolated institute was the honor of a lifetime.
200 yrs ago a scholar named Greldin fell under the influence of some unknown evil and caused havoc to the area, and though he was stopped and slain and his fell knowledge eradicated.. his legacy on the Library was that the sages there became uneasy about sharing any information about darker magics.
Jeddin delved too deeply into these hidden mysteries and was asked to leave the Library.
Since then he has joined the Lords of Gardmore, recovered the Necromancer's Dagger, learned the secrets of life and death, and stopped Bageron from summoning the Black Maw. Jeddin took Bageron's place as the Black Maw's apprentice, sacrificing the corrupted Tear of Ioun to the being in exchange for knowledge of the creation of the world. Since then, Jeddin spends almost all of his time in his tower. Inside that tower, Jeddin has created a universe of wonders that only Kun has glimpsed. Jeddin has made apologies to the party for taking the Tear and assured them that he represents no danger to them or the Vale. However, he still has secrets that would destroy his relationship with his friends, and his power (and dark reputation) continues to grow.
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Jeddin of the Five-Way, level 10
Build: Deceptive Warlock
Eldritch Blast Option: Eldritch Blast Charisma
Eldritch Pact Option: Star Pact
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Convert (+2 to Insight)
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 14, DEX 10, INT 16, WIS 11, CHA 20
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 14, DEX 10, INT 14, WIS 11, CHA 16
AC: 18 Fort: 20 Ref: 22 Will: 24
HP: 71 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 17
Arcana +14, Bluff +19, Insight +13, Intimidate +15, Religion +13, Streetwise +15
Acrobatics +5, Athletics +5, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +7, Heal +5, History +8, Nature +5, Perception +6, Stealth +5, Thievery +5
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Scholar Utility: Use Vulnerability
Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Warlock Attack 1: Eyebite
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Blast
Warlock Attack 1: Dire Radiance
Warlock Pact Boon 1: Fate of the Void
Warlock Attack 1: Arms of Hadar
Warlock Attack 1: Curse of the Dark Dream
Warlock Utility 2: Shadow Blend
Warlock Attack 3: Frigid Darkness
Warlock Attack 5: Roaring Storm of Cania
Warlock Utility 6: Rending Fear of Khirad
Warlock Attack 7: Mire the Mind
Warlock Attack 7: All the Sand, All the Stars
Warlock Attack 9: Iron Spike of Dis
Warlock Utility 10: Bridge of Shades
Warlock Utility 16: Eye of the Warlock
Level 1: Improved Initiative
Level 2: Wand Expertise
Level 6: Skill Focus (Bluff)
Level 8: Killing Curse
Level 9: Ritual Caster
Level 10: Implement Expertise (Wand)
Level 10: Implement Focus (Wand)
Summoned Leather Armor +2
Magic Wand +2
Eye of Deception
Potion of Healing
Bracers of Mental Might
Dagger of Sacrifice
Lens of Reading
Power Jewel x2
Gloves of Eldritch Admixture (heroic tier)
Vial of Darkness
Mystery of the Hidden Veil (level 8)
The Eye of Vecna
Medallion of Death Deferred +2
Speak with Dead
====== End ======
Played by Nick
Dorrin Hillgrave was the graveskeeper of a small community of Shadewood, just like his father was, and his father’s father was. Strongly built, balding, tall and not very pretty, in his early 40’s. He was always considered a bit dim and dour, but then, that’s what his job called for. He was mostly content with digging holes for a living, well into adulthood. That was until a particularly harsh winter, when a traveler brought a dangerous plague to Shadewood. Nearly the entire community was wiped out by the disease. The bodies piled up, and Dorrin had to spend day and night putting the blistered, wasted bodies in the ground. After four days straight without sleep outside of troubled naps, he believed that he met the Raven Queen.
To hear him tell it, he had finished digging into the frozen ground, and when he was about to climb out of the hole – meant for a pair of young, twin girls – he thought to himself what the reason for this was? Why did so many perish so needlessly? When he turned to climb out of the grave, he saw a woman standing there – a pale skinned, raven-haired woman wearing a dark dress beneath a light blue cloak. He believes that he spoke to her, and was able to understand after that – Death was the one thing all creatures had in common. For many, death is the end to suffering, for others, it was a punishment. For him, he would aim for a Good Death – to send as many who deserve death to his Lady of Winter as he could before finally dying himself. He started travelling, and got training within one of the Raven Queens death cults.
The part of the interview where they ask him “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” His answer is, simply, dead. He will spread the gospel by notoriety. Face the Knight of Winter and meet the Raven Queen yourself. Try to live forever, and he’ll cure you of that, too. Raise the dead, and he’ll make you join them in the ground. And after all that, after he has fought to his last breath, he will be rewarded with a spot at his Lady’s side, to stand vigil in the afterlife.
The resurrection magic that the party can allegedly use concerns him, a little. Dorrin does not want to be in league with people who dodge death, but at the same time, he feels the Lords have more to protect reality and… well, he heard the Raven Queen speak to him while in their service, or at least he believes she spoke to him. Surely she would have mentioned that his colleagues needed to be killed if what they were doing was wrong. Maybe if he could get them to find some liches or vampires to hunt down, he’s sure he would see that they’re on the right side vs. those who would seek to exist too long.
Played by Eric
Appearance: A large human, born and raised to be strong, to protect, to survive. It was only out of survival that Quinn developed his large, muscular body. Swords were never his thing. Because of his forging background in the village, hammers were more of his style of weapons. Due to his size and instinct to go toe-to-toe with his enemies, plate mail was needed for protection. Nothing fancy or shiny, he often repaired it himself when needed. Out of battle, Quinn wears basic clothing, not flashing any shiny trinkets.
Personality: Quinn mostly keeps to himself. He is self-sufficient for the most part. Only recently he has gained faith to rely on others for his well-being. Quinn certainly loves his ale, but is much more in control of his consumption than in the past. While he has seen strange places, he is hardly a man of travel. This has all change recently with the group he now considers his family.
Motivations: Somewhere in the back of his mind, Quinn hopes his brother is still alive, but he has accepted his brother for dead. By exploring and travelling more, he hopes to reconnect with villagers that may have fled the past invasion. With this, he hopes to learn more about what happened and perhaps learn the true fate of his brother. Quinn is somewhat motivated by treasures and wealth; mostly for survival, but has learned recently that the world is a much bigger place. Not wanting to fail, he is motivated by doing the right thing, protecting people of good and eliminating evil.
Background: The village of Arkaneel, my village, is what I called home. Life was fairly dull besides the hunting for food or building and upkeep of shelters. I spent my spare time collecting items that seemed rare. I became quite the tradesman trading items in need for these rarities.
It was a small village; don’t try to find it on a map. It’s gone. We were attacked in the early hours of the morning, before sunrise. I tend to blame the ale I had consumed only hours before the attack. Surely I would have risen to fight for the village, for the people, for the protection of my brother.
A few years past, my parents were travelling between villages when they were ambushed by petty thieves. The thieves got away with almost nothing, but took life away from the few that stood their ground. I know this only because of the cowards that fled the caravan lived to tell the tale. I, of course, was upset. However, my brother was never able to let go of that past. He was mad, scared and not really the fighting type to do anything about it. Although I tried for years to train him to fight and hunt, he never was really interested. I tried to comfort him with assurance; I will be by his side to protect him, forever.
I failed. The village was destroyed. I am not sure if it was luck or fate that kept me alive. I woke up hours after the event. I let them all down. I failed.
Smoke rose from the ashes of buildings, of people. I was sick. Why am I alive? I never found the remains of my brother. He surely couldn’t have lived through such an attack. Perhaps he ran? Taken prisoner? I only hoped he was still alive.
I spent a couple days going through the mess, gathering what I could use or sell to stay alive. I waited for someone, anyone to return. No one came back around. If people had fled, they surely would have come back by now. That settles it. No, he couldn’t have been alive. He was dead, gone. I failed.
I packed for a 3 day journey to the next village I had only heard of. I never travelled beyond the great river, so I had no idea what I would run across. I never found any village of size but was able to find some shelter along the way. I was able to feed myself off the land fairly well. It seemed like months, but in reality, it was only a few weeks that I came across this group.
Played by Joe
"Must you leave so soon, Cy?" Tyralandi cooed from under the covers.
"I must." Cyrus shook out his jacket from the pile of clothes on the floor.
"Can't I convince you to stay a little longer? Maybe one of the twins could join us." Her voice was as smooth and enticing. The bedsheets tugged around her body, hiding each little curve.
"You know how I feel about those… two." Cyrus shuddered. "Where's my hat?"
"What hat, my love?" She spoke with a hint of playfulness.
He turned to see her nimble, red tail swirling his hat by its brim.
"Now, now, love. Careful with that." Cyrus said cautiously.
"Oh, Cyrus," she mocked, "He loves his precious hat."
He approached the bed slowly. "He does. Give it here!" He grabbed for it but her tail flipped it away quickly.
"I will give it… in exchange."
He scowled at her. "Exchange for what?"
"A story." Her eyelashes flicked at him.
"Ty, I don't have time for—"
She cut him off. "A simple story, of your childhood."
"My childhood?" He laughed. "That's all?"
"Yes." She flipped her tail and the hat landed awkwardly on her head. "Then the hat is yours."
"Fine." He sighed. "My childhood."
He looked out the window towards the bustling city.
"My earliest memory is the streets: the thick cobblestones, the dirt, the slime, the smell. I could be a million leagues from Scuttlecove and instantly recall every tiny detail of those streets. We lived and toiled on those streets… Adjannah and I. Our parents died of a plague of some kind or another. And Adjannah, well, she raised me. We moved all across the city, finding whatever little hiding place we could. Sometimes in an abandoned warehouse. Sometimes someone would take us in. Sometimes we'd hide out at the docks.
That's when I first learns to love the ships. With their giant sails, foreign sailors, and the smell of the sea. Its also where I first learned to steal and later to fight. The docks were always busy and we could easily find a couple of purses to cut or a bit of cargo to run off with. We were the lucky ones, I guess. I'd seen so many other children who were caught for stealing. They'd suffer a beating or worse.
But the ships, sometimes I couldn't take my eyes from them. From the moment I saw one, I knew I had to have one. That would come many years later, of course.
But for Adjannah and I, as children, our lives were an endless chase. Either running to the next hiding spot or running from ship's guards. We were always on the move in this city.I quickly learned to adapt and that a quick word was as much a weapon as a quick knife."
He paused and smiled down at her.
"And that, my dear, is my childhood." He bent down, kissed her, and grabbed his hat from her head.
"The rest… well, another time perhaps." He twirled the hat onto his head.
Malachi Vol’Tiri adjusted his vestments. The cloth was heavy, itchy, and uncomfortable. But when you have a meeting with the First Templar, such decorum was necessary. He smoothed over his dark hair for the hundredth time and brushed it back from his face. He was average, for a tielfing. His height was equal to most others. His horns were no longer or more curved than anyone else. Even his face was plain, neither handsome or ugly.
The large, double doors before him opened without a sound and the robed guardsman gave him a nod. The nod meant the First Templar was ready to see him.
Malachi took a moment to collect his thoughts. The First Templar had very few visitors. While Malachi was a cleric of some renown, this summons could only mean two things: something bad or something much, much worse.
He stepped through the doorway, his vestments giving a soft rustle as he walked. The room was immense, elaborate, and expensive. Every piece of furniture had gold accents or gold handles. The floors were polished marble, imported he guessed. The walls held several ornate tapestries. The high-set windows were framed in gold. Everything in the room spoke of money, importance, and, most of all, power. The First Templar was known for his lavish lifestyle; even so, the entirety of wealth in the room completely shocked Malachi.
"Come in, son." The First Templar stood with his back turned over a large table.
As Malachi stepped closer to the table, he saw it held a very large map. He glanced at it only momentarily as the First Templar turned around. He was younger than Malachi expected. His skin, as it was with most tieflings, was a dull red. His dark hair was only beginning to show the signs of age. His horns were long, nearly curling down to his shoulders. His robes were almost plain in comparison to the room. His eyes were bright and curious.
Malachi closed his eyes and bowed slightly. "Your Grace."
There was a momentary pause before the First Templar gave a tiny "Hmm", signifying his approval of Malachi deference. Malachi stood at attention and fixed his gaze on the far wall. Even the slightest glance could be seen as an indiscretion.
"Cleric Vol’Tiri," the First Templar’s voice was cool, "Thank you for coming on such short notice."
Malachi nodded but said nothing.
"I hear you have reached your Anointed rank."
Malachi couldn’t tell if it was a question. "I have, Your Grace."
"In nearly record time… for someone so young."
Malachi resisted the urge to look at the other tiefling. "I suppose so, Your Grace."
"You suppose so?" The First Templar chuckled. "And so modest, as well."
Malachi didn’t know how to reply to that. So he didn’t.
"I have a bit of work for you, Vol’Tiri." The First Templar turned back to the table and map.
Malachi glanced down at the map and saw the words "Nentir Vale".
Played by Naim
Dorry and the Thieves
Dorry d'Exham struggled to no avail against the ropes binding him to the chair. His possessions had been laid out on a nearby table and a gnome and a scarred eladrin were busily sorting through them. When they finished they turned to him.
"Well," the gnome intoned, "I must say I’m surprised. I didn’t expect a haul like this from one such as you. How does a human come to own so many ancient artifacts? Were you planning to sell them to the Lords of Gardmore?"
"Who? I don't know any Lords. And who are you anyway?"
A dagger suddenly appeared before his eyes, "We’re asking the questions, ugly!" The eladrin leaned closer to Dorry’s face, "Did you think you could just come to Mithrendain, ask your little questions, and be on your way with none the wiser? People notice humans here, especially ones as ugly as you!"
"What my partner means to say," the gnome sighed, "is that it was unwise to try to skulk in the shadows; it just made you more noticeable. Everyone who pays attention knows you’ve been asking about how to get to the Nentir Vale and they even know that you departed this morning. Sadly for you, only we are aware that you never quite made it. But now, back to my question: What is your connection to the Lords of Gardmore?"
Dorry opened his mouth to protest again when an agitated young gnome burst in the room, "He’s here! Uncle, he’s here!" He was followed into the room by a female eladrin.
The older gnome and the scarred eladrin turned to face the new arrival. No one noticed a tiny patch of blurred air detach from the young gnome’s shadow and join the darkness beneath the table.
"Calm down, Kellen. Who is?" this from the scarred gnome.
"The, the pixie! The one you described last week. He’s at father’s inn!"
"This better not be another mistake, runt," the scarred eladrin growled.
Kellen shrunk away, "I made sure, Berriyeth. He has the blue tattoos and the red hair."
"That does match Appletree’s description," the uncle again. "You’re certain he’s at the inn?"
"He was in his room when I left. He’ll be there tonight for sure, he said he wanted to keep a room for a week at least."
"Excellent!" The gnome turned to the female eladrin, "Jellena, I want you to call everyone. They are to rent every empty room in that inn. Fit as many as you can in the building and have everyone else stay out of sight until sundown. Save one room for Berriyeth and me. And be very clear, no one is to act unless I give the signal."
The eladrin bowed, "As you wish, Eldon."
"Kellen, you take this sending stone and go back to the inn. Call me only if the pixie is not in his room come sunset."
"Right away, uncle."
They both left the room.
The scarred eladrin spoke up, "We don’t need to involve everyone, Eldon. It’s just one pixie." He drew his dagger again, "I can go there right now and slit his throat, our shares of the bounty will be much larger if we only have to split it four ways."
There was a faint snigger from somewhere and the gnome scoffed "Just one pixie? Berriyeth, this Appletree fellow was able to steal something from right under the Prince of Frost's nose and in front of the whole Court of Stars. The only reason we know what he looks like is that he chose to let everyone see him after the fact." Eldon picked up his cloak and his hammer, "No, this is a slippery fellow. If we’re going to catch him, we’re going to need numbers and the element of surprise. Put away that dagger, will you? If all goes well you won't need it."
Berriyeth looked unconvinced, but did as he was told. He gestured at Dorry, "And what do we do with this one then?"
"I suppose our guest will have to wait until this situation is resolved." The gnome patted Dorry on the cheek, "When we come back you’re going to tell us all you know about the Lords of Gardmore and what they’re planning, I suggest you use the time you have to think about your answers." And with that they walked out of the room.
Once again, Dorry tried to free himself. He had been at it for less than a minute when someone said, "Not a very efficient lot, are they? How embarrassing to be caught by them."
Dorry’s head snapped up and he looked wildly around, "What? Who said that? Where are you?"
"Oh, sorry. Here I am, right in front of you." A pattern of knots on the wood of the wall moved and started gaining color, a moment later and the pattern resolved into the shape of a pixie. "They call me Appletree, what’s your name?"
"How did you do that?" Dorry answered instead. "Wait a minute, you’re the pixie they were talking about, how did you get here?"
Appletree chuckled, "Oh I just followed the little gnome. Do you know, I had to try five taverns and three different inns before I found someone like him?" He floated closer to Dorry, "Say, was it that feisty eladrin who tied you up?"
"I don’t know, I was unconscious at the time. Does it matter?"
"Not too much, I suppose. Hang on for a second," with deceptive strength, the pixie grabbed Dorry’s chair and lifted it.
"Hey! What are you doing?"
"Relax," the pixie slowly tipped Dorry over so that he was lying on his side. He then started cutting the ropes near his hands. "I’m just making it look like you escaped on your own."
"Oh," said Dorry, "Uh, why?"
"Because it will be funny," the pixie finished freeing Dorry, "and now for the finishing touch." He retrieved Berriyeth’s dagger from his haversack and tossed it on top of the discarded rope. "I took this off the eladrin as he was heading out the door." He smiled, "he’s going to have some explaining to do when they come back."
"I see," Dorry waited until his legs could bear his weight before standing, "I’m starting to suspect that the bounty on your head is due to your sense of humor, Appletree."
The pixie shook his head, "It wasn't my fault. If the Prince didn’t want me to steal his gift to the Queen, he shouldn’t have made it an apple!"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"An Ice Apple, made of ice," he added unnecessarily. "The Prince brought it from his homeland, in a small glass box covered with a cloth. He made a whole speech before unveiling it too. He talked about how the apple had taken centuries to grow from a stone tree in his fortress, how it would never melt, how it commemorated the time he had given a real apple to the Queen, and on and on. He was so proud!" There was a wide grin on his face now, "I couldn’t resist; I snuck inside the box and replaced his Apple with a normal one. You should have seen his face when he finally got to the great reveal!" Appletree sobered up, "Of course, I tried to return the Ice Apple after that, but the Prince didn’t give me a chance."
Dorry had stopped listening, he finished retrieving his possessions and asked, "So, how do I get out of here?"
Appletree took it in stride, "That depends, friend. There's an easy way and a hard way. Why don't you tell me what these gentlemen wanted with you and where you'd like to go?"
"I’m here because someone thinks I’m connected to the Lords of Gardmore. They’re wrong but it does me no good to tell them that. And I’m trying to go through the Feygrove near here to go the Nentir Vale because it was the last known location for my nephew."
"Hmm," Appletree muttered to himself, "I’ve never been to the other side, could be interesting … this might be the right time for it too. Maybe the Prince will calm down if I disappear for a couple of decades." Looking up, he exclaimed: "Easy way it is! You're in luck, human. I will personally escort you to and through the Feygrove." The pixie flew to the wall opposite the door and slapped a portable hole on it. He then gestured for Dorry to follow him.
"What is your name anyway?"
But the answer was lost as the hole in the wall closed behind them.