Olympus RPG Blog

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Browsing Posts in Player Characters

“Ho there, Stranger!” Rainald bellowed from his campsite toward the road, and the solitary old man walking it, who nearly started at the sudden noise. Recovering, having recognized Rainald’s accent, the grizzled traveler waved and responded in the Northlanders’ tongue, “Greetings, fellow North-man!” Rainald happily welcomed his elder countryman to share his fire, and his food, and the man gladly accepted his hospitality. The stranger showed no fear of the well-muscled, mail-covered, Northlander warrior with flaming-red hair, as he settled onto the ground near the modest fire. Rainald handed him some bread and asked where he hailed from, and where he was headed; the old man responded that he was from many places, and was going wherever the road would take him. The warrior laughed, for he well knew the life of the wanderer.

“You look no stranger to life’s hardships,” Rainald smiled, regarding his countryman’s weathered appearance.

The wanderer answered, “Aye, but a good life is often seasoned with hardship. Fortune has blessed me, that I have lost only my youth, and my eye. If I had to live this life again, I would change nothing. And you? I’d wager you have a tale of many hardships faced and defeated?”

Rainald needed no pause to ponder his thirty-five hard years for what experiences might qualify, but immediately began to share his story, in his way, as if the stranger before him were an old friend. “Aye, I have seen hardship as well. I have fought countless men, and orcs, and lizard-men, in many battles. I barely survived the fall of Blythe. I have slain dragons, and wizards, and things that have no name in our tongue. I have battled the locust-giants of Vasarheim, numbered like pebbles on a beach. I have faced death from all sides, at the hands of many enemies, and prevailed against them all. But none were so difficult as what I faced not so long ago. It started with a woman…”

“Ah, but doesn’t it always, eh?” the old man quipped, with a broad grin.

“Aye, it does,” the big man continued, unabated, with a chuckle of agreement.

“So there I was, after three years of war in the Otherworld was over and won, rewarded with land and title in Wallace, now riding the old roads back home to Grimswick to visit my uncle there, and the gods willing, finally see my love, Gertruð, after eight long years. After thirty-six days on the road, I was nearly home, just outside a neighboring village called Grenmarr, where by the roadside, I encountered a woman struggling against three men, who were bent on rape and murder by the look of it. As a Knight of Caithness, I am oath-bound to aid the helpless, so I stepped up and threw back her attackers; I did not know these men, or what they were about there, so I dared not slay them, but rather let them go. They swore they would have their justice upon the woman before they fled before me. As it was, the woman, called Hildra, was a slave taken from the mountain tribes, and she had killed her master, their brother, for he was a cruel and violent man. She was sorely afraid her master’s kin would return for their revenge, and pleaded that I should take her with me to Grimswick, where she was not known, and to tell all that she was my wife. I knew not what else to do with her—if I left her there, she would surely be murdered—so I agreed, though I knew this would not be the end of the matter. So I returned to my home village with Hildra, calling her my wife, as I’d promised; she was pleasant enough company, with a sharp wit and a sharp tongue along with it—too sharp, perhaps—and pleasing to look upon, though not like my Gertruð.

“Gertruð. I did find her at Grimswick, in the household of Jarl Olrik, as beautiful as I remembered, if a little thicker than she was in our youth, when I had asked to marry her. In those days, the Jarl’s son, Björn, had asked Gertruð to marry him just before I had, and she swore that if word of my deeds reached her ears before I returned from Caithness in five years time, that she would marry me instead. But now I was three years too late, and she had married Björn, but he had died some years before, and she was left childless and without a husband. I was greatly sorrowed then, for I was bound by my promise to tell Gertruð that Hildra was my wife.”

“That is a hard thing, I would agree, to give up one’s prize for honor’s sake,” the old man interrupted, nodding.

“Aye, but there’s more,” Rainald continued. “I found my uncle Hrothgar living, and well as I remembered him—his knee-wound by an enemy’s arrow still left him lame. He offered that I should stay with him in our old family home by the sea, so I did. And Hildra stayed with us, as I had promised her, and I told none of the truth our arrangement, save for my uncle. Though she served us as a slave might, I reminded her that she was free, and would remain so, if I had anything to say about it. One day, the kin of Hildra’s former-master found us at home, come to take her by force to do what they would with her. There were five of them, armed with axes and clubs, but we would not give Hildra to them, but we three gave them a beating instead; I did not bring forth Gramjarn, but fought them bare-handed, and threw them into the sea, scolding them that if they attacked again they would forfeit their lives. Again, they fled before me, this time promising that they would bring the matter before the Jarl, now that they had found Hildra. That was well with me, and I told them so as they fled. Some months later, it came time for the Þing, and freemen from all the Jarl’s holdings were gathered. Hildra’s enemies were there as promised, and they accused her of murder before the Jarl, and demanded her blood be spilled for it; Hildra brazenly confessed that she had killed the man, and scolded her accusers as cowards and women, before the Jarl silenced her. Now Jarl Olrik was a fair ruler, but there were no witnesses to the killing but for the word of the dead man’s brothers, and there was little choice but to rule in their favor. My friend Magnifico would have all the freemen there laughing to scorn the accusers and chanting to Hildra’s innocence, but alas, it would fall to me for her defense. So, I declared, publicly before the Jarl and the law-speaker, that I, Rainald Ragnarsson, also called North-Hammer, Knight of Caithness and Lord of Rainaldsheim, was her husband, and that the woman was innocent of murder; and if my oath-price was not good enough, then my steel would be. One of the dead man’s brothers, Thorgrim, a wiry but strong man of some renown, accepted my challenge to combat, and so we stepped outside to see it done, according to the law and before the Jarl and other witnesses. It was brief, for despite all his dancing about, with one blow of mighty Gramjarn, the man was felled where he stood. Jarl Olrik declared the matter settled, but anyone could see on the faces of the kinsmen that they would be satisfied with naught but Hildra’s death, and now, mine as well. And to make matters worse, I had just declared Hildra as my wife before the Þing, which dashed my hopes of a legitimate life with Gertruð like a trapped ship smashed to kindling by storm-waves against the rocks.”

The stranger clicked his tongue and shook his head, in sympathy.

The warrior continued, “I knew not what I should do, so I went to the seer, as one does. The seer told me that I was fated not for Gertruð, but Hildra, and that to put her away would mean my doom. I was angered, of course, and went home to drink to my sorrows, only my uncle met me at the gate to tell me that Hildra had run away. At that instant I became aware of my own horror at being without that woman, and I tracked her down, and found her not far away, trying to steal Bann One-Eye’s boat to sail away—the woman was crafty, but not so strong. She confessed that my uncle had been drunk, and accidentally told her of my longing for Gertruð, and her promise to marry me—I had not told Hildra of it all this time—and Hildra was distraught that she might stand between me and my desire. I seized her, and told her that I did not wish her to go…”

The warrior sighed, pausing briefly to reflect, and the traveler motioned for him to continue his story. “What happened there after that is none of your business,” Rainald added with a knowing wink. “It is enough to say that things were ‘better’ between Hilda and I from then on.”

The old man chuckled, and said, “That doesn’t sound like the end of the tale.”

“Not the end at all,” the flame-haired North-man responded, shaking his head in amazement at his own remembrance of what happened next. “That winter, I came home from fishing to find my wife gone, and my uncle beaten; he said our enemies had taken her, no doubt, to lay a trap for me when I come after her. I went immediately to bring the matter before the Jarl, but he refused me to take my revenge upon her kidnappers, as he had now been told of the truth of my false-wife, that I had given false witness before the Þing. He would not suffer any more bloodshed amongst his subjects on that matter, and said he would forgive me my former ‘weakness’ were I to leave it well alone, to wed Gertruð instead, and become his huscarl. Perhaps it was as he said, or perhaps his judgement had been bought—I know not, to this day—but I told him that though she was not my wife before, she was so now, and I would have a husband’s justice upon those that had taken her. He declared me an outlaw on the spot, and ordered his men to seize me, but they could not hold me, and I escaped. Oh, to have had my friend Gabriel at my side then, for there was bloody work to be done! Hildra, crafty as she is, had taunted the men as they carried her away, such that they would strike her and she would fall into this or that; I was easily able to follow the trail, quickly, to where her kidnappers had taken her to prepare a snare for me. As I found them in surprise, I fell upon them like a god-cursed shield-biter, berserkir, and I slew them all, every one that bore arms against me and those who pleaded for mercy alike. After none remained, as I cut her bonds, I told Hildra that I had been declared outlaw now, and we fled together to a hidden place in the mountains, to live there, out of the Jarl’s reach.”

Rainald had been waving his arms wildly in illustration, but now he settled down somewhat, as he spoke on. “We lived there in a cave, in peace, for many years. We had little, but needed little but each other. I hunted game. We traded with the mountain clans, sometimes. In time, she bore me Ragnar, my first son (named for my father), and then another, Arn (named for her father). We would still be there now, I think. But early in the spring of this year, my uncle came to us there—only he knew where we lived—and warned that Grimswick was about to be raided by a tribe from the North, and had not enough warriors, and the Jarl would not help. He pleaded with me to come help them fight. I told him that the Jarl would surely have me put to death if I showed my face in his domain, but my uncle insisted, saying they would surely fall if I didn’t risk it. A hard choice, like none other; I never refuse a challenge to fight, but Arn was so young, not even weaned off the breast yet, and what if I were to fall? I looked to Hildra, and without speaking, she made it known that I should go do this thing, for honor, and for home. So I promised to return, and left with my uncle, and we went to convince Jarl Olrik to help.”

The warrior sprang up from the ground and began pacing back and forth as he continued his story with excitement. “As we expected, the Jarl had no sooner spotted us coming than he commanded his carls to bind me. He was puzzled at why an an outlaw would brazenly stride into his village, knowing he would be slain for it without recourse, and I told him of the oncoming invasion, and my desire to aid in his lands’ defense. He said that he did not believe that this raiding party would attack, but would pass by on their way to Kethalos, and I said that we would have nothing to lose for making a show of our defense, and if they pass by, they may remember it. He said that if they did attack, we could not prevail against them, and I told him what I have seen of battle, that a small, defiant force can often worry a larger force, far from home, until they have not the stomach to continue. He asked how it could be done, and I told him of my plan, a plan I have seen used many times, forged in the fires of the Otherworld by Dane Sardock the General, himself. So inspired by the cleverness of the plan was he, that the Jarl wanted to see it for himself. So I was released to go and make the preparations. And it came to be that the Notherners did come to land at Grimswick, as it was said, to raid. But the people were ready, and the enemy smashed against the village defenses like water upon rock, and were thrown back to their ships, to flee. It was a magnificent battle, worthy of song, I can tell you! Many heroes were born, and died that day. The Jarl himself was gravely injured, and might have been killed had I not come to his rescue, as I had for my uncle ages ago in Caithness, when I swung Gramjarn for the first time. Would that my friend, Brother Mendel the Healer, had been there, for many more might have lived. My uncle was wounded as well, run through by a spear; though he clung to life, we feared he would not last the night, but he is a stubborn man, as was my father, as am I.”

Rainald slumped back down to his seat by the fire, seeming exhausted, as if he had just fought that battle all over again. “There was a great feast to celebrate the victory, and remember the fallen, of course. There, Jarl Olrik declared that I and Hildra were no longer outlaw, but pardoned of all crimes. I introduced Hildra as my true wife, and my sons, and we lived in my family’s house by the sea once again. But though my uncle still lived, after a month, his wounds would not heal, and he feared he would not tarry in this world for long. He made me promise to take him to Caithness, and to help him settle his accounts there, before he died. Jarl Olrik tried to convince me to stay, and I wanted to, but I had promised my uncle; I told the Jarl where he could find me in Caithness should the need arise one day, and promised that I would help if I could. And so, within the fortnight, myself and Hildra, my sons, and my uncle, we took up all that we owned, and left the Northlands behind, to travel to Caithness, to live on my lands here.

“So there you have it. Hardship. Maybe not like the Christ-god hanging on the World-Tree for nine days to save mens’ souls, but difficult nonetheless.”

The son of Ragnar finally fell silent for a moment. After some time had passed, the old stranger asked, “Would you change any of it if you had to live it again?”

“No, elder, I think not,” Rainald replied with a smile, after another introspective pause.

“Where is your family now? They are not here?” The wanderer looked around, as if he might have missed them hiding nearby.

“Back down the road about a day. I ride ahead to clear the road ahead of them from time to time. It’s been near two months now, but our journey is nearly done. My lands are not far from this spot.”

“Well, then…” The elder Northman smiled broadly, pausing, before he continued. “I thank you for your hospitality, and your story, Rainald Ragnarsson. Though I must confess to you that I did not find you here by happenstance, but I came to find you to deliver a message. There is a tavern another mile down the road here. A friend is waiting for you there. Though it may take you from your intended path, you should follow him. There may be hardship, of course, but should you endure it, you will find happiness on the other side, as before, I promise you.”

Now the big man looked puzzled. “Are you a seer, old man?” he asked politely.

“Of a sort, I suppose,” the one-eyed stranger replied with a smirk, before getting up off the ground and dusting off his breeches. “Off you go, now. Your friend is waiting,” he said with a wave toward his host’s nearby horse.

As the big fellow got to his feet and looked to his horse, he turned back to say goodbye, but the old man was nowhere to be seen, only the caw of a raven in the distance.

He packed up his things and rode on, as the old man directed, and indeed, there was a tavern about a mile down. Seeing it there, Rainald remembered the place—the ale was a bit watered-down. After he dismounted his horse and handed it off to the stable-boy, he smiled knowingly to himself, and whispered a prayer to Odin for safe travels for his family—for once in his life, now if ever, he felt those prayers would be heard. Then he pushed past some high-born dandy in a rush to get out of the inn’s door, scowling at the man’s rudeness as he entered.


The master of the house was fled, his cousins, the band of troubadours, and so all his knightly honor.  Cawdor-in-the-Dell, far beyond the walls and sight of Fordham, lay in the hands of Maxwell the Bandit King, indeed at present comprising the whole of his nascent empire, and safe perhaps for a week before Sir Hunchback could return with any help from the city’s troops.

Safe? The word, a single syllable, held layers of meaning that mocked him, thought Maxwell as he sat in the chair of state–as modest as the manor’s other appointments–at the head of the empty feasting hall.  How was one to enjoy the conquest of the house when one hardly dared stir out of doors? Oh, this had been an ill-conceived raid, to which only hunger and a hard winter could have driven him. No great stores of fine wine were there to be taken, and the knight’s table had not been a luxurious one. No, most of that beef–as fine as any he’d tasted, it must be admitted–had gone to feed the damnable pair of damnable dragons, brought to life by the magics of the Demon Wars and kept as pets and curiosities by the damnable owner.

They’d been away from the grounds, his scout had sworn, on the snowy evening chosen for the taking of the house. It would have been fitting had the scout been killed as the beasts assaulted Maxwell and his men, but no, luck had spat on him again, and his man lay moaning in an upper bedroom, agony having replaced his sword arm below the elbow. There was aqua vitae enough to keep the man drowsy and to fight the dragon-fever, and to cheer the rest of his band for a few days–but how would this end? If the dragons hunted by night or day, how could the Bandit King ever leave? And what would happen when the whisky ran dry?

The men knew, and the muttering would return with sobriety. They were penned as surely as the horses in the stable, and in truth their predicament more resembled that of the cattle, waiting to be devoured one by one.  Last night that commotion had woken all, and today the thought hung in the air like battle-smoke. Here in the hall, the enormous window bore not only stout shutters of oak, but heavy iron bars.  What these implied was frightening, but that they still stood?  Reassuring.  It might be that they could slip away, one at a time.

Thus it was that any interruption was a blessing. “Boss!” called Tacker, “there’s one at the gate!  Dragons didn’t get ‘er. Askin’ fer you!” Her? The women of the house–three by his count–had all vanished with the rest in another black mark against the invasion. If one had been found, he would soon know how the rest had gone, and where, and why.

Some laughter echoed beyond the hall, though not of the bawdy sort he would have expected. Dread surely had not killed all the spirit in his men? A lone woman, captive? He should already have had to break up a fight, which in itself would not be a bad thing. A bit of loot is good, but boredom and growing unease would spoil the spoils, as it were.

Tacker sounded almost tired beyond the door. “Get in there, old woman, and bow before Maxwell, king of the bandits.” Through the arch came a figure bent with age and bundled against the cold, righting herself with a walking stick after a rude shove. The stick clattered to the wooden floor, and a long moment passed before the figure bent, and bent further, clawing for it with hands crooked with rheum.  “Hail,” cried a thin, shaking voice. “Hail to Maxwell, king of Cawdor! Thou shalt be a greater king hereafter!”

Amused by the woman’s words, Maxwell leaned forward. “Do you make prophecy, old one? Or do you flatter?  If you know me a king, you know what sort of king I am. Not one known for mercy, no. Are you a wise woman, come to foretell magnificent deeds for coin? I have met a few of those.”

“I invent no prophecy, my lord,” snapped the woman. “I come to visit vengeance upon the house of the false knight who once sat where you are. He wronged me, long ago, and steeped as he is in sin, has fled the justice of Our Lord, who says, ‘as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the licentious, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire’.” She slowly drew back her hood and lifted her face–God, that face!–into the light of the window.

Maxwell grimaced, but determined to show no other reaction to that hideous, pustule-ridden excuse for a face, incongruously covered in paint in a parody of all that was womanly beauty. “So you can hate, I see, grandmother.” Sneering, he asked, “Did this hunchbacked knight deceive you, or beguile one of your daughters? How did he wrong you, and why should I care? Where are he and his house fled to?”

Nodding, the crone crept forward and whispered loudly, “Great lord, you understand aright. Deception”–here she gritted black teeth and hissed alarmingly–“deception is indeed his crime, and was ever his only virtue. He robbed me of my comeliness, and years of my life, and thanks to his sin I am cursed never to bear children.” Raising her piercing voice, she ranted on, eyes on the window or some ancient hurt rather than on Maxwell. “But your coming, great lord, is also foretold, for does not the Scripture tell all men to prepare the way for a new king, who comes not in peace but bearing a sword?”

Her lips quivered, and the wrath in her wrinkled eyes unnerved the king of bandits; he was dimly aware that Tacker had started forward involuntarily, and that two more of his men had entered the hall. “The Lord God conceived of chivalry as the flower of knighthood, and curses most of all those lords who laugh at it, who lie and with their lies bring poor women to ruin, even as you see me. What should I not do to a man who has done me this evil, stolen from me my good name and turned me into a beggar?” The grating voice, rising to a shriek, drew a roar from one of the dragons outside, and a shadow crossed the shutters.

Distinctly uncomfortable with this display, he gestured to Tacker to remove the mad woman. He had to snap his finger and repeat the wave of his hand, so enthralled was his man. Leading the strange visitor away, Tacker was less rough than accustomed, and the others drew away as she passed, lest some of her insanity infect them all. Before they gathered their courage to speak, or to jeer, she spoke again. “But do you want his treasure, my lord?  You have his throne–would you be crowned by his jewels, hidden where no living man may find them?”

“Wait. Bring her to me,” Maxwell ordered, and his stern words seemed to awaken his band. Tacker was joined by others who grabbed the woman, half-carrying her before the dais and their leader. “You spoke madness before, but now you truly have my attention, crone. I want you to talk, clearly, with no more raving. What is this treasure, and where is it? You’ll have my gratitude–the gratitude of a king, if you will–but if you lie, or waste my time, I will cut your throat.”  From his vest he drew forth a knife capable of making good that promise. He let it sit in his lap, and sure enough, the mad woman’s gaze fixed on it, or on something beyond.

“Is this a dagger I see before me?” she wailed. “Nay, lord, stay your hand, and I will requite. You seek the knight’s treasure, and I will see it in your hands, and so dies my revenge. The key to all the wealth he won in the war hangs beneath his chair. There, my lord. It is yours, if you will but take it up.” Her eyes widened, pleading, and in them Maxwell saw himself the king of her harangues, jewels flowing through his fingers while about him men and women shouted.

“Back, all of you!” shouted Maxwell, taking up the dagger and waving it at his men. His left hand fumbled beneath his seat, and there it was, a large key of iron, wrought in the shape of a dragon. He grinned broadly. “You do not lie, hag, so you may yet live. Where is the lock that fits this key?”

His grin was matched by hers, and more than matched. Madness lit those eyes, and again she cried, “Hail, king of bandits!” Raising an arm she pointed at the chair. “On the floor, behind the seat of state, is the lock that when opened will reveal the treasure!  All the wealth that was his shall be thine. I swear it, I who know thy worth!”

Whirling about, he let the dagger drop with a clang, and drew his sword, leveling it at the crone and his men. “Stay put now,” he babbled. “Keep away!” Backing slowly, he drew behind the chair. A glance confirmed the tale, as set into the floor was a metal plate with a keyhole. He knelt, and found it a perfect fit.

There was a click, and a pause, and the grating of metal on metal, behind him. Then there was an incongruous whistle from the aged crone. “Boss?” said Tacker, looking up, and then came a great clang as the iron barring the window fell. There was a rush of wings, and a roar that mingled with screams.


The next morning, Sir Magnifico awoke and stretched in a bed that had never seemed more comfortable. The last of the greasepaint had been scrubbed away. The servants and family would soon return from the caves, and were there any beef left, would eat well and merrily. The dragons, he imagined, would not need to be fed again for another whole day.


On the day of his father’s funeral, a day that he should have been in deep mourning, Marcus, the new lord of Shambray, instead chose to visit the city’s baths.

It was more than simply a minor slight aimed at his late and frankly unlamented father. In a very large way, this was him celebrating the old monster’s demise in a way he’d never been allowed to before. When he was alive, Sergius had flat out forbade young Marcus from visiting these houses of ill repute, ostensibly for the damage they would do to his reputation, no matter that he himself was a regular visitor. In fact, Sergius’ last wife had once been an attendant at the largest of the bathhouses – to his continued discomfort, Marcus had recognized her for he too had tasted her charms during one of his illicit visits in his more rebellious youth, though thankfully, she had not seemed to recall his face. Of course, it had not been his face that she’d been focused on in those days…

So here he was, striding boldly into the largest of the bathhouses with a cocky smile and a spring in his step, no longer cowed into submission by a man more than capable of having his only son beaten and abused for refusing to obey. It was a good day. Sergius was dead, Marcus himself was now the new lord, and finally, he could direct his attention toward repairing the damage wrought by his father’s foolish and utterly senseless war against the archbishop. The man that now held that rank also was new, having replaced the late Nikolai when that archbishop passed under mysterious circumstances Marcus still suspected his father of being involved in, but thus far, this … Zabka had stirred from his fortified monastery deep within Serrun only rarely (and even then, only when surrounded by a wall of steel.) There were rumors about this man, of course, whispers that stated this archbishop was scarred or a provincial sort out of faraway Caithness or even – and this was Marcus’ very favorite – not even a man, but rather a diabolical goblin raised high by the Church but no one paid them any more attention than they had paid the nonsense Sergius whispered about the late Archbishop Nikolai.

Waving off his guard, Marcus slipped into the exclusive bath normally reserved only for the wealthiest of citizens and pushed the door closed. A dozen feet across, the room itself was dominated by the bath which was sunk into the floor. Diaphanous white sheets hung down from the ceiling, acting as curtains designed to hide the less than appealing walls or to conceal the movements of the staff. An open roof window let warm sunlight in, as well as the less appealing smells of the city, which was why there were so many scented candles scattered around on the wall and hidden behind the curtains. Shaking his head, Marcus slipped out of his clothes and stepped toward the steaming bath.

In that moment, the walls moved.

There were six of the would-be murderers, all dressed in white, including swaths of cloth concealing their faces, and bore bared blades. They advanced on silent feet, their eyes hard, and Marcus froze in sudden, shocked surprise. His eyes darted quickly toward the door – it was too far away! – and then, he cast around for something, anything he could use for a weapon. He drew breath to cry out for his guards.

Cloaked in silence, a seventh figure, also garbed in white, dropped through the open roof window, landing briefly in a crouch behind the rearmost of the assassins. Marcus saw a flash of steel as the newcomer drew a slender blade.

And then, men began dying.

It was over almost before it even began and later, when Marcus had time to think about it, he still wasn’t entirely sure what happened. He saw two of the assassins crumple almost instantly, and then, the man in white flowed toward a third man who reacted with blatant surprise at his appearance. The would-be murderer made a wild swing which the newcomer evaded easily, even as two more of the assassins sprang toward him. For a moment, Marcus couldn’t see what was happening – there was too much movement, too much cloth blocking his line of sight – but a third man toppled, crimson spurting from bloody wounds, and then a fourth. The newcomer twirled through the curtains, before his thin blade flashed again. With a gurgle of surprise, a fifth man dropped to his knees, his hands automatically going to his stomach where he frantically tried to hold in guts.

Which left only one of the assassins. He made a frantic thrust, but the newcomer caught the man’s blade and then made a sharp twist of his own weapon, tearing the assassin’s sword free. It struck the stone floor with a clang, but the man in white hooked his foot under the blade and somehow flipped it up into the air before snatching it with his free hand. Marcus stared in disbelief – was that even possible? – and it just as clearly caught the assassin by surprise as well. Under the swaths of cloth, his eyes widened.

And then, the man in white thrust the newly captured sword into the assassin’s chest.

The would-be murderer gasped and looked down at the yard of steel in his chest before dropping to his knees. He coughed once before he slid sideways into the water. The man in white held onto his captured sword and it came free, blood dripping down its blade. He half-turned toward Marcus and then leisurely tossed the blade toward him, hilt first. The action caught Marcus by surprise, but he was not completely rooted in place and managed to snatch the slow-moving weapon out of the air before it could hit the ground. He looked back at the man in white who was already backing away into the curtains. With his now free hand, the stranger lifted one finger to where his lips should have been – Marcus could see nothing but smooth leather under the man’s hood – and then nodded toward the door. Marcus glanced toward it, just as his guard captain stormed through the doorway, his own weapon bared.

“My lord!” Claudius exclaimed, his eyes wide as he took in the corpses scattered around the bath. Behind him, Marcus could see the bath-owner and the other two guards, all staring with open shock. “Are you … are you well, my lord?”

“I am,” Marcus said with an ease he did not actually feel. He glanced in the direction of the man in white, but saw nothing. “But I fear this bath may need a good scrubbing.” He flashed a smile at the bath-owner as he toed one of the corpses over. “If you would be so good to bring me my clothes,” he said, “I believe that I shall return to the keep.” He strode forward, casually tossing the bloody sword aside. It struck the stone floor with a loud clatter.

Only Claudius noticed how his arm shook.


Under the suspicious eyes of his guard captain, Marcus fled to his quarters deep within the keep almost the very instant they arrived.

His hands trembled nonstop as the delayed effects of the would-be murderers set in. Never before had he realized how close Death was for him. Oh, he knew about the Empire’s predilection for assassins – this year, poison was once more back in fashion; last year, it had been death by whores – but until now, it had never really struck home how tenuous his position was. He was not even twenty, by God!

Once the shaking fit passed, his mind sprang back into activity. Who could be responsible for such an attack? His father had possessed few allies and those that did were too weak to make such a strike. Of the lesser Houses, none would fare well should he fall – one of his first acts as lord of Shambray had been to take steps to ensure their fortunes were tied to his success. No one won if he fell this early. It simply did not make sense. Unless … unless …

“’Twas a near thing today,” a soft voice stated. For the second time today, Marcus froze in shock. His head snapped around to the origin of the voice and found the hooded man in white standing there, directly in front of a small open door. The man should not have even known about that escape tunnel – as far as Marcus knew, his father had the men who constructed it put to death, and then had the guards responsible murdered. He swallowed the fear pounding in his throat.

“It was,” he said in a voice that sounded much calmer than he felt. “I have you to thank, sir,” he added. He took an extra moment to study the figure standing there, still unsure about how to proceed. This close, he realized the man was not entirely dressed in white – there was quite a bit of red as well, and silver glinted underneath the stranger’s clothes. A featureless mask of hardened leather or white wood covered the man’s lower face. Embossed bracers protected the man’s arms and upon them, Marcus could make out stylized dragons that instantly caused him to inhale sharply in recognition. Only one kind of man would dare wear such symbols in Megalos.


“Those men were the archbishop’s,” the hooded stranger stated. The curious mask the man wore prevented identification, but his words were strangely accented, as if he were foreign or at least long out of use at using the Emperor’s Tongue. Marcus frowned.

“That makes little sense,” he declared. “I have no disagreement with him.”

“He sees you as weak,” the stranger replied, “an impediment toward his rule.” The man tilted his head slightly. “Your father died because Zabka wished to avoid his predecessor’s fate.” Barely contained fury leaked into the stranger’s voice when he spoke the archbishop’s name. “You are an unknown quantity, my lord,” he said, “so he struck first in the chance that you are your father’s son.”

“And what is your role in this, Hooded Man?” Marcus demanded. “I am no fool. No one places themselves in the danger you have without expectation of payment.” He glowered. “Is it gold you want? Gems?”

“Neither.” The man in white shifted very slightly. “I desire greatly to … treat with the archbishop and repay him for injuries he dealt me.”

“Then do so,” Marcus snapped, lingering fear loosening his tongue. “You had little difficulty stealing into here. The archbishop’s home-“

“Is magically warded against me,” the stranger interrupted. “Zabka is no fool either. He has surrounded himself by cultists and worshippers of darkness who play at serving the Lord while profaning the Church with their every utterance.” The man’s head shifted slightly away from them.

Without warning, the door to his chambers flew open and Claudius sprang through it, his sword bared and his shield ready. He took two rapid steps to place himself between Marcus and the man in white and, from his body language, Marcus thought his old instructor meant to attack. Acting on instinct, he reached out with one hand and gripped the captain’s shoulder, anchoring him in place.

The man in white did not move even a step.

“My lord!” Claudius began, but Marcus held firm.

“Stay your blade,” he ordered. “This man saved my life today.” Claudius opened his mouth to speak again, but Marcus continued, this time directing his words toward the hooded man once more. “You would not have risked capture or death to come here if you had no purpose. Speak it plainly.”

“The streets of Serrun are rampant with murder and violence,” the man in white said. “Much of it can be traced to Zabka and those he surrounds himself with.” Marcus felt Claudius stiffen in surprise – he too had expressed similar beliefs ever since the new archbishop arrived to take office so many months ago – but wisely, the captain held his tongue. “With your permission, I will seek out and find the pit where these snakes hide.”

“And then?”

“I shall be merciless.” There was no rage or fury or even the hint of concern in the man’s voice, only a cold confidence that chilled Marcus to his very core. At the same time, though, a sliver of excitement filled his belly. This stranger had killed six men in a handful of seconds without making a sound or taking even a scratch. Yes, his actions would no doubt cause the streets of Serrun to run red with blood, but they were already soaked in it. If by another handful of deaths order could be established, then was that not a worthy goal?

He nodded.

And without a sound, the hooded man backed away, pulling the tunnel door closed behind him. Instantly, Claudius darted forward, securing the small hatch from the outside and shoving one of Marcus’ heavier chairs against it. He then turned baleful eyes toward Marcus.

“What in God’s name have you gotten yourself into, my lord?” he asked.

“The higher one ascends,” Marcus replied wryly, “the more treacherous the footing, it seems.” He nodded toward the open door of his quarters and Claudius quickly stomped toward it, pushing it closed. “You knew I did not kill those men in the bath today,” he said simply.

“I did,” Claudius answered. “You are a competent enough bladesman, my lord, but that is beyond you, I fear.” He frowned in the direction of the escape tunnel. “But a man wearing dragon-marks?” he said. “That I can believe.” Shaking his head, he glanced back at Marcus. “This will end in much bloodshed, my lord,” he said. “A great number of men will die because of the decision you made this day.”

“Death comes for all of us,” Marcus said calmly. “If they are meant to live, then God will grant them shelter. And if not…” He shrugged.


The first body appeared the very next day.

Though the man claimed to be a butcher, everyone in Serrun knew that his true trade was murder and the discovery of his corpse, propped up just outside the monastery gate caused such a commotion that Marcus was forced to take publicly note of it. With Claudius at his side and a selected group of guardsmen, he inspected the body – there were no signs of torture or abuse, and the killing blow was so precisely placed that he nearly overlooked the thin crease in the dead man’s shirt – before pronouncing before the populace that his militia would investigate.

Another body turned up that same evening, this time of a defrocked priest who had been cast out of the clergy by the late Nikolai for buggery and other unnatural acts, but somehow clawed his way back into the monastery’s good graces since the new archbishop came to power. Again, the body was found resting against the wall of the fortified monastery and again, no one knew how it had come to be placed there. The whispers began almost at once.

Over the next week, a half dozen more bodies appeared, always arrayed against the monastery’s walls and always of decidedly dark reputation. There were the two brothers believed to have been the false butcher’s enforcers, the whore who had murdered four girls and stolen their babies only to suffocate the infants when they did not stop crying, the innkeeper who half the city believed to be responsible for a dozen missing children, and both of the wealthy noblemen who openly bragged about how they had stalked and murdered a trio of prostitutes. Even in the keep, so far from the common people, Marcus could feel the sudden shift in temperament of his city. His guards watched everyone more carefully now, the cooks and servants were trying very, very hard to avoid being noticed, and even his priest was a bit more reticent than normal.

And then, the sightings began.

No one was quite sure who was the first to see the Hooded Man, but word of his appearance spread like wildfire and soon, he was frequently noticed near the bodies, almost as if he were encouraging reprisal attempts or allowing himself to be observed. One of the more violent gangs that operated mostly out of the small harbor let it be known that they would find this hooded man and tear him apart.

Instead, he sought them out first.

And they died. All of them.

As spring turned to summer, the bodies continued to appear and even the nobility were not safe. Nine of the minor Houses lost scions to their lines and it would not be until later, when things settled somewhat, that the dark deeds of these men and women came to light. One was a molester of little children, another buggered sheep, yet another trafficked in the dark arts, but they all had one thing in common: they’d visited the archbishop and the monastery to seek false absolution before returning to their wicked ways.

Rumors and innuendo filled the city, and soon, the smallfolk of Serrun whispered that the angel of death had been summoned to the city to root out corruption and cleanse the Evil that stained their home. Churches that had fallen into disrepair thanks to the archbishop’s repeatedly stated preferences found their congregations swelling once more and His Grace’s favored locales were abandoned en masse lest one be accused of having ties to him. Nine priests of varying ranks, all with close ties to Archbishop Zabka, were found dead, most by their own hand. The poorer deacons who had been pushed aside when Nikolai passed found themselves suddenly thrust into positions of surprising authority. Most clung to their principles and refused to abuse their newfound power. Two did not.

And the Angel of Death, the Hooded Man, the dragon-marked man in white visited them as well.

Throughout the long, bloody summer, as the death toll continued to climb and the bodies kept appearing, Marcus’ conscience warred with his desire for order. He lost five advisers in those weeks, men he would later discover to have been spying on him for the archbishop, as well as his favorite courtesan, but he took no action to curtail the Hooded Man apart from a token effort to hunt the man down with his guards – that effort paid dividends as well, however, as pursuit of the man in white allowed his men to uncover a small coven of demon worshippers which they very promptly put to the sword. Because he alone of the great Houses in Serrun was left alone by this mysterious man in white, the people of the city began looking to him as their rightful lord instead of the archbishop. He wisely swallowed his instinctive desire to begin issuing orders and directives – it was well known that power corrupted and he had no desire at all for the Angel of Death to visit him.

Claudius never once spoke against him or revealed the knowledge he possessed about the Hooded Man, not even when Marcus, in a purely political move, ordered his guardsmen and militia to abandon Serrun’s tradition colors of gold and green in favor of white and red. The smallfolk cheered the decision – to them, Lord Marcus was officially declaring himself the Angel of Death’s ally and the more superstitious (and unlearned) of them hoped this would spare them from his wrath. That this action would allow the Hooded Man to operate even more freely throughout the city never once entered Marcus’ mind.

Or so he claimed.

Autumn crept by and the archbishop’s power structure shrank even further. The number of monks found outside the monastery grew – most were discovered long after the Angel of Death visited them, but a small few went directly to Lord Marcus and threw themselves upon his mercy, speaking tales of horror and darkness from within the confines of the archbishop’s tiny fortress.

And then, the night before the tradition Harvest Festival, everything changed.


Word came to Marcus as he was reclining in his bath – men, both guards and shopkeepers alike, had observed the Angel of Death enter the monastery just after dusk. The end times were nigh, the fearful moaned. Judgement had come to Serrun. Marcus ignored their superstitious nonsense and looked at Claudius.

“Assemble the militia,” he ordered. “And bring me my armor.”

He rode out of the keep at the head of his small force of soldiers and, to his surprise, found the streets thick with people. All of them – all of them – were wearing cloaks of white and Marcus tried hard not to adjust his own ermine-trimmed garment. His men had eagerly donned surcoats of argent and crimson, and even without looking back at them, he could tell they were marching in perfect unison. Fear was in the air.

Once at the gates of the monastery, he reigned his horse in and allowed the militia to form around him. The sounds of the city were strangely muted, as if all of Serrun was holding its breath in anticipation for what came next. Claudius gave him a wry look hidden mostly behind the old man’s helmet that almost conveyed a question without words. What now?

“We shall advance in mass,” Lord Marcus bellowed. “Up spears!” The clatter of weapons being raised echoed hollowly over the quiet streets. “Forward!”

They were greeted with only more silence as they spilled into the monastery’s courtyard. Here and there, they found bodies of fallen monks – there were not as many as Marcus feared to find, and those he did see were invariably near weapons. Some small few even still clutched to their blades, even in death. Fires were already beginning to spread from the larger building to the smaller – there was very little chance of it spilling out into the city proper, not with this great wall enclosing the entirety of the monastery, but Marcus gave orders for his men to begin spreading out and containing the flames as best as they could nonetheless. He cast around for some explanation for what had happened, but found none.

“Look!” one of his soldiers exclaimed, pointing up to the roof of the great monastery. Marcus’ head snapped around and, for a moment only, he saw a figure in white standing there, surrounded by smoke and fire.

And then, the Angel of Death, the Hooded Man, the dragon-marked man in white was gone from sight.

“Get those fires out!” Marcus roared. He glanced once more toward the roof of the monastery and then put it out of his mind. There was work to do. In the ashes, they would find hints of devil worship and darker sorcery, signs of genuine faith suborned and corrupted into something else. The archbishop’s body was never found – some believed he was taken by the fire, others were certain he had been dragged down to hell by the Angel of Death. A very small but fearful minority whispered that Zabka had escaped, and had fled to distant lands, always looking over his shoulder and knowing that the Hooded Man was hot on his trail.

On days when he was feeling very low, Marcus wondered if he had chosen the correct path. Upon discovering the idols of darkness, he had given orders to raze the monastery and salt the earth – it greatly angered the Church for a time and he came perilously close to excommunication, but in the end, the Holy Order of St. Michael Olybrius sided with his decision and the Abbot of Evrow himself, Father Jobert, spoke before the Curia in his defense. For his part, Marcus chose not to say more than what he had to – he left out conveniently damning information, such as the Hooded Man’s vambraces that identified him as a blademaster, and refused to speculate on the possibility that the man responsible for so much death was anything other than a mortal being, driven to terrible lengths by hate and fury. Serrun had survived the onslaught, though, and for him, that was truly all that mattered.

But still, he could not help but to wonder about who the man was, why he hated Zabka so, and whether justice had indeed been done.


The watered-down ale did little to wash the travel dust from his mouth, but Gabriel Auditore swallowed it nonetheless as he glanced around.

Were he honest with himself, he would have said the tiny roadside tavern was barely a step up from sleeping in the woods, but God help him, he was tired of rocks for mattresses and he wanted a real bed. And a bath. That even before a bed. Hunger was hardly an issue, though he would not turn down something hot and filling. As this was Caithness, he had doubts about the taste, but he’d eaten far worse over the years.

The door to the tavern slammed open and a swaggering fool of a man strode in, pausing briefly to actually preen in full sight of the tavern inhabitants. His clothes were of an exquisite cut and fashionable, but the sword at his side had more jewels on the hilt than most brothels this side of the Blackwoods and Gabriel doubted it had ever been drawn in anger. Even the man’s mustaches were oiled and tapered to a razor point. Gabriel felt his lip curl up in a disgusted sneer. Nobles. Feh.

“Have you naught but pig-swill?” the dandy asked of the tavern keeper, a highborn Megalan accent slurring his voice into something barely comprehensible. He peeled off his leather gloves and idly handed them to a hulking brute of a man who Gabriel suspected was there solely to keep this peacock from getting killed. Shaking his head, he tuned the fool out and turned back to his inner reflection.

By his calculations, he could reach Wallace in four or five days. Less if he pushed, but Cometes was getting old and though the charger could still outrun the wind, Gabriel always felt bad when he pushed his loyal horse that hard. So … Wallace in five days, a visit to Rainald and perhaps Dane, and then on to Tredroy. If the rumors were true and Zabka had survived to go there, the Gabriel meant to find the bastard and introduce him to a world of pain the man could not possibly imagine.

“You there, peasant.” The dandy loomed over him, posturing once more. Gabriel had never completely lost track of the man – one of the first lessons he’d learned when he sought out the Masters was how to keep track of all potential threats, even when he was not actively paying attention to them – but until now, he’d not given the little man-child his full attention. When he looked up, Gabriel noticed instantly how the nobleman’s guard tensed. He almost smiled – at least one of them knew better than to poke at a sleeping bear. “I desire that seat. Move along.” The dandy gestured, as if he fully expected to be obeyed.

So Gabriel did nothing.

He stared hard at the fop standing there, calculating the nineteen … no, twenty different ways he could kill or incapacitate the little fool from their respective positions. The guard at the nobleman’s side shifted and Gabriel left his eyes jump to that man. He took in a dozen little things instantly – the way he stood indicated a weak right knee; the man’s weight and posture implied strength but little speed; the hauberk was of poor quality and loose on the left side; the noble had positioned himself in his guard’s way, which would give Gabriel two, maybe even three extra seconds to react – and was gratified at how quickly the man’s body language transformed from aggressive to worried. And now, for the coup de grace.

With deceptive calm, Gabriel lifted his tankard to his lips, allowing his sleeve to fall open. He was not wearing the vambraces at the moment, so the tattoo was easily observed. The guard’s eyes flickered to it and all color fled from his face.

“My lord,” he murmured softly. At the tone, the dandy finally took note of his minder’s caution. He glanced up, then back at Gabriel. He started to frown but saw the dragon-mark. Comprehension flared in his eyes – slowly, but it was there – and he forced a smile on his face.

“I have changed my mind,” he announced, as if it was not knowledge about impending death that drove him. “I do not wish to tarry here after all.” A moment later, they were gone, scurrying out the door with such speed that they brought to mind whipped curs. Less than a moment later, though, a new man entered, this one wide with muscle and scowling in the direction of the fleeing men. Gabriel’s eyebrows shot up as the newcomer glanced around and then grinned brightly when his eyes fell upon him.

“Gabe!” Rainald North-Hammer bellowed, his voice shaking the rafters of the tavern. He stomped across the floor and thrust out his hand in greeting. Tentatively, Gabriel reached for it and suddenly found himself drawn into a bone-crushing embrace. “My friend!” the barbarian exclaimed loudly. He pushed Gabriel back and half turned toward the tavern-keeper. “Ale!” he ordered. “And I don’t want that weak horse-piss you serve normally!”

“You are far from home,” Gabriel commented once his old friend had dragged a chair to the table.

“A long story,” Rainald replied, “for another time.” Gabriel nodded. “What about you?” Rainald asked. “How did you get here?”

“A long story,” Gabriel repeated, “for another time.” The North-Hammer laughed loudly – there was not much he did quietly as Gabriel recalled – and grabbed his flagon.

“To long stories!” he exclaimed. They drank and the big man almost immediately launched into an unlikely tale about how he recently encountered three improbably attractive witches who needed the assistance of a strong man who knew no fear. There was a bit more gray in his hair, but some things, it seemed did not change.

Gabriel wondered why that pleased him.

The below are the Wheel of Time Sword Forms converted to GURPS Techniques as Gabe will utilize them. Due to the sheer size of this, I’ve utilized the cut.

continue reading…


Magnifico the Clown, 2005

Dane in desert garb












1978- Dane is born at Castle Defiant; his family had fought in the Orcs Wars and has decided to stay with Lord Jerrik at Castle Defiant.
1985- People of Castle Defiant start disappearing; Orcs are seen outside the Castle wall. Dane is given a bow at a young age and is taught how to shoot from the high walls.
1994- Dane leaves with Lord Kerin to seek out help for Castle Defiant. Dane is sent to Wallace to ask for help with the incoming refugees from Defiant. Lord Wallace grants refuge for anyone in need. Castle Defiant falls to the Orcs
1996- Dane becomes a soldier in Lord Wallace’s army and quickly falls in ranks with the archers.
1998- Dane starts to train as a scout and is asked to watch the western dessert for any Orc movements
2000- Dane starts hearing rumors about missing miners at the mines. With mounting tension growing with King Conall and the Royalists; Dane is asked to stay close to Wallace in case defense is of the Castle is needed.
2005- Present* Dane is sent back out to the desert under the command of Captain Brontus and has been tracking the cause of the missing miners and has been given an order by Lord Wallace to find out everything he can, and by any means he can as to what is causing the trouble at the mines.

Recently Dane has received new order. He has been tasked with finding a group of people that have had contact with what is believed to be causing the disappearances in the desert. This is very intriguing to Dane and he is eager to find out what they have learned.

Name: Dane Sardock
Race: Human

1978: Born in Craine, Megalos, to wealthy aristocratic parents who were secretly Assassins descended from Italian Banestorm refugees. Birth name is Gabriel of House Auditore. He is the third son.

1980 (2): Baby sister is born.

1988 (10): Participates in his first assassination where he is used as a decoy. At the time, he thinks this is an awesome game cause he isn’t truly aware of what his family does.

1990 (12): Eldest brother is killed while on a mission. It will later be revealed that said brother was captured and thoroughly interrogated.

1992 (14): House Auditore is targeted for extermination by some of their victims. Only Gabriel and his father, Claudius, manage to survive and escape, although the elder Auditore is badly injured and will never fully recover. They flee west into Caithness, specifically Durham. The events of Banestorm: Lingering Wounds

1994 (16): Claudius finally succumbs to his injuries after having extracted from Gabriel a vow to not seek revenge upon the nobles who targeted the Auditores. The events of Banestorm: Widow’s Kiss. As soon as his father is laid to rest, Gabriel heads east, vengeance in his heart. For the next four years, he will haunt the western cities of Megalos, targeting select individuals whom he knows to have been part of the grand conspiracy. He uses Caithness as cover and invariably retreats there if the situation becomes too bleak.

1998 (20): Gabriel returns to Craine on the trail of the last noble family he knows to be involved in his family’s death. He is instantly entranced by the lordling’s new wife and eventually learns that this is an arranged and loveless marriage. After helping him murder the lordling, they consummate an illicity relationship … but come the morning, she raises the armcry with the story that Gabriel (going then by “Julius of House Firenza”) murdered her husband before raping her. Gabriel narrowly escapes capture and flees. He turns to the Church for sanctuary, fully intending upon hiding there for a while before making good his escape.

1999 (21): Word reaches “Brother Gabriel” (who has become a tolerably decent monk) that the Lady who used him has been put to death on charges of murder; her third husband has died a mysterious death. The bishop of the monastery then reveals to Gabriel that he knew the Auditores and actually enlisted their services a time or two (which sours Gabe on religion somewhat – he’s pious, but has no patience for clergy or the Church as an institution since he believes all priests are corrupt.) That night, fearing that the bishop means to use his skills for dark purposes, he flees into Caithness. Over the few years, he spends a great deal of time living in the mud among the peasantry with only his father’s sword to his name. He gains a great deal of compassion for the down-trodden. The events of Banestorm: Mercy Kill.

2000 (22): The events of Banestorm: Old Friends. The events of Banestorm: Foul Wretches.

2001 (23): Narrowly escaped the fall of Blythe when it fell to Saurians. His employer, a merchant he knew only as Fat Tom, was not as lucky, and Gabriel lost a fine horse he’d spent a lot of money on.

2002 (24): Spends about a year in Harkwood. The events of Banestorm: First Impressions. Becomes romantically involved with Miratáriel, an elf lass whose name he can barely pronounce – he calls her Mira because that’s at least part of her name – but their relationship ends amicably when she realizes that he’s getting restless. It isn’t until after he leaves Harkwood that he realizes Mira helped him get past the last of the lingering anger and rage he’d been suffering from since his youth. While in Harkwood, he briefly establishes the identity of Gavriel Costigan, a Megalan dancing master. The events of Banestorm: Three Dances.

2005-2006 (27-28): Dark Clouds Rising I. Auqui becomes Gabriel’s student.

2006-2008: (28-30) The Huallapan Crusade. The events of Banestorm: King’s Gambit. The events of Banestorm: Murky Waters. The events of Banestorm: Missed Opportunities. The events of Banestorm: War Footing. The events of Banestorm: Wet Work.

2010: (32) Gabriel and Auqui clash. The events of Banestorm: Blood Vow. Auqui departs Caithness; Gabriel pursues. The events of Banestorm: High Ground. The events of Banestorm: Dragon Mark

2012: (34) The events of Banestorm: Blood and Snow

2013: (35) The events of Banestorm: Angel of Death. The events of Banestorm: Highway Robbery.

2014: (36) The events of Banestorm: Bitter Homecoming. Dark Clouds Rising, Book II resumes. The events of Banestorm: Into Shadow. The events of Banestorm: Shadows Linger. The events of Banestorm: Journey’s End.

PDF Character Sheet

GCA File  PDF Character Sheet

Born in Grimswick, a fishing village on the SW coast of the Nomad Lands, son of a sailor/fisherman.
1992 (12):
Father & brother killed in great raid on Kethalos. Left to find his uncle, believed to be in mercenary service in Caithness.
1993 (13):
Joined his uncle in Caithness; already a “big kid,” accepted as his uncle’s shield-bearer. Learned about mercenary work, and developed a taste for the local brew.
1994 (14):
Followed uncle into battle against Deneral of Mershall. Picked up warhammer from fallen foe & put to good use, protecting his wounded uncle from rebel forces. Later named it “Gramjarn” (Wrath-Iron).
1995 (15):
Uncle’s injury never healed well enough to allow him to continue his mercenary career, so he and Rainald returned home and attempted to revive the family fishing (& raiding) business.
2000 (20):
Finally made a move on the village hottie, Gertruð, who confessed that, Björn, the eldest son of a jarl and heralded warrior, had preceded him. She explained that she had told Björn that she would answer his proposal upon his return from his father’s foreign trade mission, in five years, and that if “word reached her ears” of Rainald’s Glory™ before Björn’s return, she would marry him instead. Rainald decided to wander South, and take up mercenary work.
2001 (21):
Captured by Saurians at the fall of Blythe, on his birthday; escaped before being eaten/executed, aggressively-recovered Gramjarn, and fled north.
2003 (23):
Ended up in Wallace, doing occasional work escorting gold-miners and such. Called “North-Hammer” by fellow mercs.
2005 (25):
Present. Pretty much given up all hope for Gertruð.

Talon was brought up in a Christian family, the older of two children. His grandfather and grandmother had left Megalos for the Cathiness frontier, and settled in Tacitus at the base of the Bronze Mountains. It was in the family home, that his father was born, and then a generation later, Talon and his younger sister Alarya.

Tragedy struck the family when two years ago a small orc raiding party attacked the homestead. Talon and his father were seriously wounded and presumed dead by the orcs. To their great fortune a dwarf who was travelling to the Bronze Mountains had witnessed the event, and was able to save them both. Sadly, the orcs had taken Talon’s mother and sister.

Refusing to give up on his mother and sister, Talon took it upon himself to hire mercenaries to find the orcs and reunite his family. Unable to fund this himself, he brokered a deal with Alderic, a nefarious money lender in the city of Carrick. The mercenaries were partially successful and were able to return his sister, but the whereabouts and fate of his mother are still unknown. As insurance that the debt will be repaid, Alderic holds his sister in Carrick, where she also works to repay the debt.

Tending to livestock and crops leaves barely enough gold in the coffers for the next season. This will not repay the debt to Alderic. The call to arms by King Conall presented an opportunity Talon could not refuse, it would give him money, training and experience.

Talon Dunbar – Character Sheet (PDF)

Talon Dunbar – GCA File (right click save as)