Heroes of the Realms

From the archives of the old Nexus Library. Histories of past Hero's long gone. Book pages that have not yet crumbled to dust or were deemed worth re-copying for safe keeping.

Barbarians

Most of these histories were taken first hand while the Hero still lived. Doubtless all are long dead by now.

Arkenon

Class: Barbarian
Race: Half-Giant

It all began one blistery hot summers eve in a small village of half-giants. Arkenon was born on Ruvur, the thirteenth of the month of the Dragon the first of many in his family. Even at birth, his size and power was greater then those around him. He was walking well before the year was out and by 2 was besting those 5 years his senior in wrestling matches. He was destined for greatness from the start.

In this village the custom was of arranged marriages. Those who were to be paired off were done by the fifth year during the summer ceremony of life. Arkenon was brought forward during this festival and it was announced to a hushed crowd that he was to be matched with Allyn, the chieftains daughter. As the crowd took this in, they realized more then ever to fear the might of Arkenon. Over the years Arkenon grew truly mighty, leading parties of warriors into the woods for hunts by the age of 10... There was only one problem... everyone respected the power of Arkenon, though they did not respect him. Although Arkenon was not the brightest lad, he knew what they thought and realized that he could not lead those who held no respect for him. So one night, the date untold Arkenon wandered off, without a note, without a goodbye, into the night.

Arkenon traveled for many a day and night until one day he came upon the city of Nexus, but before he reached the gates he was attacked by a wandering band of Goblins... for the first time ever Arkenon felt fear as they overwhelmed him and as they went for the killing blow, Arkenon rolled to the side into some bushes... Much is not remembered of that night.. there was much running and hiding for Arkenon, and to this day he will not recall this event to others. Somehow in his wanderings that night he came upon the ferry to Falcion and boarded it...

Waking up on the beach, Arkenon wandered until he reached the gates of Falcion knowing what he must do... he had left one home devoid of his power of Arms, he would not do so again. So into the city he went and learned all he could. Training hard but making few friends as his brash nature and overbearing personality did not endear him to many. He did not care, he had given his life new meaning... It was during this time he decided to dedicate his life to Erisar.

Many wonderful and fearsome adventures have passed through the years and Arkenon has humbled some. He has grown and led great warparties against any threat of Nexus. His power has become a gathering point of strength for all in Nexus. His sister has now joined the fight and brought news to Arkenon that Allyn after all these years is still waiting for him. Soon, very soon, he will return to his homeland, not in shame and not wishing for the trust of those he left for foolishness. He returns to bring his whole tribe to Nexus... to join with the forces and to aid in the defense and perhaps even marry who can tell what the future will hold?

 

Banzai

Class: Barbarian
Race: Human

Banzai stepped through the doorway and looked around at the customers in Kalim's Tavern with a scowl on her face. Many recognized her, some shrunk back into the their seats, while others hailed her. She ignored them all and stepped over to a small man sitting alone at a table in the corner. "Jaccobe?" she asked warily. The man nodded and Banzai slipped into the chair, "Ok, let's get this over with!"

"As you know my name is Jaccobe and I am a researcher. I have been tasked with recording the history of some of the older adventurers in Nexus," stated the small man. Banzai grunted, "History!? I have no history! And who are you calling old?!" The man replied carefully, "Just tell me about yourself. Start wherever you want. How did you come to Nexus? Why do you follow Tilnar?"

Banzai glared at Jaccobe, let out a big sigh and said, "very well..... All I remember is always being on my own and fending for myself. I have traveled from town to town never staying in one place for too long. I would sleep in the alleys or out in the forests. Sometimes, for certain 'favors', I would eat well and sleep comfortably." Banzai grinned at the look on Jaccobe's face, "I'm no saint! I do what is necessary for my survival and if I find it enjoyable, then all the better!" Banzai smiled, a little sadly, "Hardship and loneliness have never bothered me, they have been my companions for too long."

Banzai stopped suddenly and called over a barmaid and gruffly ordered a tankard of ale. She sat and glared at those who were staring curiously at her and her companion but said not a word. When the barmaid returned with the ale, Banzai gulped some down and continued....."When I first arrived in Nexus, it was a small village in desperate need of warriors to help keep the goblin hordes at bay. So, I decided to stay a while and fight, earn some gold and keep busy for a few days. As the days turned into weeks, I began to notice that I had none of my normal feelings to leave and travel again. I had been in many fights; led, and lost, some hearty adventurers into heated battles; been injured on more occasions than I can count, but still stayed. And, I h ave begun, for the first time, to make friends. So, for now, I will stay here in Nexus. I may not be smart, but I know a good thing when I see it."

During this time, Jaccobe had been frantically scribbling on some parchment. He now looked up and said one word, "Tilnar?" Banzai nodded, "Tilnar! During my early days here I found that the vaults within the cemetery were an ideal location to sleep an d be protected from the weather. I would get the feeling of being watched, but I never felt afraid. People assumed from the beginning that I was one of his." Banzai chuckled, "I suppose Tilnar and myself realized they were right. I would wake up and find armor or a nice sword beside me, I would dream of villagers and such that were 'easy' targets so that I had gold to buy food. I was introduced to Darkblade, my first true friend here. From what I have seen here, Tilnar is the most honest and truthful God. The other Gods shunned me somewhat because of my 'methods' of survival. So, I have pledged myself to Tilnar for eternity!"

Suddenly Banzai stopped talking and with a slightly embarrassed look on her face stood up, gulped down the rest of her ale, wiped her mouth and said, "that's enough about me" and walked quickly out of the tavern.

 

Billy

Class: Barbarian
Race: Half-giant

Boy- now I never really think about my life before I came to Nexus. It really wasn’t that great. I was slow. I was dull and I was so stupid I couldn’t understand any sort of language when I did get here. I was an uncivilized beast, an animal of the world, wandering from place to place. Let me think now... I don’t know who my parents were because it seemed like I had somebody new telling me what to do and somewhere different each night to sleep. But once I learned the basics of survival I was out and on my own.

About the time I was twelve I was taken captive and forced into slavery of the goblin hordes that have been attacking our city ever since. It was terrible. The only good thing I got from it was my strength. I was always moving big, heavy things almost all the time. Pushing and pulling, building and tearing down. I actually enjoyed some of the physical labor I had to do, but at the same time I didn’t. Deep in my heart I knew what was going on was wrong. I wanted to be free.

Around the time I was sixteen, my slavemaster was forced to give me up to the soldiery unit. I didn’t know at the time this meant a trip to their Alchemists. I was so oblivious and stupid to what my fate had in store for me, I didn’t do a thing when a squad of goblin soldiers came to take me away. They bound and gagged me and left me in a cage of wood for almost a day. That night, a different group of goblins came to me. They laughed and sneered at me, pulled my hair, hit and beat me to unconsciousness. I awoke laying on my back, still bound. Rain was splashing against my face and I was feeling miserable. The sounds of crackling wood turned my attention and I saw the entire group crowded around a large bonfire. I was alone for the moment. I had never been treated so terribly in all my life. I was lucky to be under such a lenient slavemaster before and nothing I had experienced prepared me for what was about to happen...

One of the goblins was looking at me, he pointed and said something unintelligible. As I caught eyes with him my vision, slowly at first, then more quickly, was clouded and red. The chains binding my limbs snapped as my body mass grew and I was filled with an energy, a lust, a wrath... Well, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway I felt invincible and that night I was. None of my captors were left alive or got away to tell about it. I was free, for the moment. I took whatever provisions I could find off the corpses and ran off into the darkness.

Just that next day I was found by a group of adventurers, a couple of humans, a dwarf and an elf. I was badly hurt and half-conscious when they came to me or else I would have run off. To my surprise one of the humans and the elf began to chant and I felt incredibly better. They tried to ask me what had happened but all I could do was grunt and wave my arms about frantically. They were the first people I met from Nexus. I followed them home...and home is where I am. I’ll stay and fight for my home. This place gave me a reason to live, a brain to use and friends to love. I owe everything I have to it and its people.

 

Bogardan

Class: Barbarian
Race: Half Giant

Unknown even to himself, the young half-giant leaves from his concealment. Looking around he sees many creatures strewn about laying here and there as if some kind of big celebration had taken place. No one stirred as he walked through the brood. Sour smells of ale and other things filled his nose, and he held back the need to vomit.

Tall trees some five times his towering height were all around this natural clearing he was in. Exploring the perimeter he finds a path leading east and south. He looked up at the broad leafed trees as they gave him shade from the two suns. He enjoyed this and although this place whispered home in his head he felt a longing for elsewhere. So with not a look back again he took the path quickly almost running towards the unknown.

After running quite some time, the half-giant has to stop completely to keep from falling off the cliff he did not see until it was almost too late. Looking out south easterly he sees a lush forest, greens and other shades he is not familiar with. He feels a chill as the winds blow at him from all sides seemingly at once. He decides to move on taking a rough path down the cliff's face. As he finds his footing he is able to look around himself a bit. A large river is something he sees and his instincts tell him things live there that would eat most anything alive in minutes.

After finally making his way down the cliff, he tries to find a way over the river. Giant crabs skitter about at the river's edge. Then he realizes there are no alligators and instincts suggest the crabs and the half-giant chuckles as he moves on south.

Traveling parallel to the river he finally finds something which might help him, a bridge. He studies the bridge while walking and stumbles haphazardly to the ground. Picking himself up he spies a bag bulging with its contents. Now for the first time he notices all he wears is shredded leathers. And now after searching the bag's contents he finds several pieces of clothing, and after a bit he manages to fit some of the clothes on himself.

Now he approaches the bridge and a lone bridge-keeper stands at attention as he proceeds towards the bridge. The keeper is adorned in shiny armors and brandishes a pike with a sharp spear head at its tip. He lowers the pike as the half-giant approaches and speaks, "In this time of war, none shall pass into the Eldane without my permission. Who are you?"

The half-giant mouthed his name before he spoke it, "I, I am Bogardan."

The keeper replies, "And your business?"

"I seek shelter in the forest."

"Then you will follow that path there and seek the city of Nexus, as only those of your race who are protectors of the town are able to live in that forest. Unless your part of the black hand, which in that case, you will not try to cross or this pike will find a new home in your belly."

"I will go to this Nexus." And Bogardan waited for the bridge keeper to raise his pike before proceeding down the path to Nexus.

Bogardan was sent to Falcion after finding Nexus, he did not even get to look around any. He thought it was kinda hurriedly done but others like him were going to the city as well. After talking to others around him on the way to the island, he learned that all these were to train in Falcion in the many different professions needed in order for Nexus to survive the goblin hordes. The sloop passage was paid and soon all were on the grounds of the city of Falcion. They were met by a man named Kragesh who quickly sorted out the new lot into the many fields needed. Bogardan was taken by a trainer with a few others and quickly he learned he knew many of the tactics he was being taught for most of them were the natural survival tactics he knew he knew but not knowing how he knew. Putting the matter aside he decided one day he would find out his past but for now he would train.

Finding the flail most useful in his hands he was able to keep up with the trainer in the daily training and after a year of steady training he was set out into the world as a barbarian. Bogardan hunted the sewers below Falcion killing rats, sewer dwellers, speckled turtles and even a brown slime here and there. He made friends in the hunts he participated in and knew that these friends would one day be the ones that like himself, would fight the war against the hordes. That winter after he started his training in the sewers Bogardan's skills were to be tested to the extreme.

The first falls of snow were tremendous and the city was torn apart. Monsters Bogardan had never seen in the city of Falcion were many and the sewers were taken over by one who called himself the Wererat Master Assasin. Many corpses lined the sewers in useless hunts. the numbers of corpses were outnumbering the wererat leathers Latashia carried in her shop. A hunt was organized and after many more deaths, the W.M.A. was finally silenced, but then after the sewers were cleared the winds cut down buildings and the town had found itself fighting roofs which rolled down the streets of Falcion. Everything was in chaos, but as all things come to an end so did the winter.

He was finally told he could leave the island and after reaching his tenth tier he paid the sloop master the toll and set out to Rymek. A large ship was pulling into the Harbor as the sloop made its landing and immediately he was forced into fighting for his life as well as for Rymek. He saw many heroes of Nexus fighting off the pirates as well. Again many died, but more pirates than heroes and he saw many great warriors and priests and wizards fell a lot of pirates.

He finally made it to Nexus where he still fights today trying to fill his role in the battle to save the city.

 

Dachek

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Dachek was a very large and strong boy. He was favored by his mother, a thing that made his bigger brother Dachurak a very angry boy. His mother didn't let the older brother (Dachurak) hit the younger brother back. This made that Dachek grew strong and big, although his older brother became tougher. The two brothers lived in the slums of nexus, were their mother was working as a Barmaid. They walked through the streets begging and then they fought against other boys who tried to steal their Money .

When they were eight and nine their mother told them that they could no longer live there. The two boys wondered why, but they weren't smart enough to argue against their mother. She told them that she was too poor to fed two growing boys. Something that was true as two male ogres in puberty isn't a pretty sight.

Nice and quiet as they were they packed their bags and left towards the Nexus gate. When they got to the town-square they got into a bit of problem, Dachurak was sure that their mother had told them that they should exit trough the South Gate.

Dachek on the other hand was very sure that the right way should be trough West-gate. They argued about the question a few minutes and then they agree to take the West-gate. As they walked out of they city it had already become night, although it was pitch dark the two brothers were not afraid. They made a torch of a piece of wood and started to walk towards the north.

When they had walked for about half an hour, they suddenly heard something shouting behind them. They turned around to look and there they saw a large goblin sitting on an even larger wolf, now the two brothers were no cowards but they weren't so stupid either. They both turned and ran as crazy. After a half an hour of constant running Dachek collapsed. He fell down on the ground and did not move. To his surprise he wasn't attacked by the Goblin-wolf rider. Instead the Goblin and his beast ran after Dachurak.

After about an hour of hiding Dachek stood up and started to walk towards the gate. He entered the gate and decided to try the southern gate.

As he passed southern gate he asked one of the guards if this was the correct way to Rymek. The Guard smiled and said: Of course it is....

So Dachek lifted his things a started to walk. After few weeks of wandering and getting lost, Dachek knew his way around a Forrest. He knew many things about what and what you cant eat when you are in a Forrest.

So he cane to Rymek and he came to the sloop. He was about to board it when he heard an oily voice say: excuse me sir but you can bring you luggage onboard at the same time as yourself, because the boat will sink.

Dachek looked at the man and said: what am I supposed to do then?

The man smiled and said: I could guard your luggage for you and bring them over.

This seemed like a smart idea as the man was very small and the sloop could take his weight and Dachek's luggage. Said and done, Dachek boarded the sloop and crossed the waters, but he stood waiting for his luggage a long time but it didn't seem to arrive. After a while he became angry and said to himself never to trust a thief. He entered the great city of Falcion and begun his training.

 

Gorlick

Class: Barbarian
Race: Orc

Walking hand in hand a massive Orc and beautiful human girl stroll through a field near Tilnars Vein. The girl looks up her companion smiling, and reaches up on her toes to plant a supple kiss upon his soft tan cheek. Stopping at a mound in the field they sit down and take in the sight of the forest. Holding her in his arms Gorlick smiles happily and picks her up with ease and sets her of a soft blanket….

Hours pass on and they awake to the sight of the sun setting beyond the ravine. A bit startled the girl holds Gorlick clenching his sides. He lets out a chuckle, "“Dun be‘fraids, Drow dun come out till laters".”

Quickly gathering their things they do not notice a pair of Goblin scouts watching them from the fringe of bushes in the field. The scouts watch as the couple walks towards the trail. With speed only meant for a bird, they quickly run to their small encampment. They stop at a large, tattered tent.

"Commander Dret, we have spouted an Orcish farmer with his woman, she is from the city of Nexus. We saw her come from the city and meet the Orc at the bridge sir. They are leaving the field by the ravine now."

A malevolent voice growled within, "You ingrates! You did not come to me when they first entered the crimson trail!"

Stepping out from the tent came a massive Fire Giant, with a cool guise about him he walked over to the scout closest to him. With no hesitation the giant clutched the scout's head and throat, ripping them from each other. Blood spattered over the giant and remaining scout. Glancing at the other scout he could see that it had wet himself. With a thunderous laugh he threw the corpse at him, knocking him down. "You are a funny one."”

Looking about the camp he commanded all present to prepare for a small incursion into the Crimson Trail. Among those that came forward were all of goblin descent; two soldiers, a striker, a mage, and an assassin. Muttering about how ill prepared his troops were he sent them off towards the trail. He called after them, "I shall be right behind you! Lets try not to screw this up!" With that he grabbed his armor and grabbed a giant axe leaning against a tree. With a maniacal grin he headed towards the trail ...

Walking down to the trail was a simple task completed within 15 minutes easily. And being with his love made it seem all the more short. Renewed with a sense of great pride he walked her to the bridge. He could go no farther he knew, for her parents forbid her to see an Orc. It seemed quite ironic that the city of all races would have within its walls a family that did not approve of marriages of different races. What he found even more odd was that they thought him ugly, an orc ugly? He let out a chuckle. But she did not think so, of course and that was all he needed.

As they approached the bridge they took no notice of the movement within the bushes. It was a forest after all. Looking into each other's eyes they embraced in a passionate kiss, as if knowing it would be their last. Suddenly she was jerked from Gorlick’s arms. Opening his eyes he nearly lost control of his bowels. Before him stood two Goblin Soldiers clutching his lover's arms. He felt a great uneasiness in his stomach. What could he do? He was but a farmer! Had only his brethren been here. Standing motionless Gorlick stared dumbfounded by what was happening. A swirl of mist appeared before him, and there was another goblin! A mage in fact! This was getting worse by the moment! Looking about he spotted a log by the side of the trail. It seemed like a rather heavy log but he worked his farm for years with his father; moving logs had become a thing of ease.

Not knowing exactly what he was doing Gorlick rushed towards the log. Grasping it within his two hands he turned and swung at the Mage's head, crushing the skull with a horrendous blow. More surprised than anything, Gorlick started towards the soldiers. But he could not swing, he might hit his lover! Anger welled up within him, his face flushed a deep crimson.

Suddenly he felt a searing pain in his back. Swiftly spinning on his heels he turned to find a Goblin Assassin sneering at him with stone dagger in hand, covered in blood ... his blood. Reaching above his head he brought the log down on the Assassin's shoulder. There was a loud crunching noise as the collarbone snapped and broke through the skin, incapacitating him. Gorlick turned around in time to see the soldiers straining with the girl. Rushing towards them with bare hands he jumped upon one soldier quickly seizing his neck. His scimitar dropped to the ground and an ivory hand quickly grabbed it. With a distinctive crack the goblin ceased moving. Before Gorlick could look up the other soldier fell to the ground, a scimitar wedged between his legs. Quickly looking up he saw his lover sprayed with blood. She looked wretched tears streaking her face with blood covering her. Clasping her with the gentleness only obtained by love he held her tightly. He whispered into her ear that it was all over, not to worry about it. She crumpled from exhaustion. Grabbing her in his hands he carried her to the bridge. Looking up he saw a gargantuan giant. Well that's it then, he thought. Please make it quick. He lowered his head accepting his fate.

A hand reached down and patted him on the shoulder. Disgruntled he looked up to see the face of a smiling half-giant. II am Linotaur, that was quite impressive what you did over there. What guild do you hale from?"

"I dun have no guilds, I live by farmings. I never fights only farms." Gorlick was relieved that this wasn't his resting place. A mighty laugh came from the half-giant. "You should look into joining the barbarians guild son, you have quite some fighting skills even if you are a farmer."

Gorlick smiles pleasantly. "Could yous take my lady friend to her family? She lives in Nexus." The giant nodded evenly. "As long as you go to Falcion damnit, I’d like to see you helping us."”After some consideration Gorlick agreed. What could be so bad about fighting. Handing his lover to Linotaur he set off down the trail to gather his things.

At home Gorlick grabbed his burlap sack and a all his possessions. Quickly making his way back towards the bridge he noticed that Linotaur had already taken her to the city. Smiling to himself he waited.

Gorlick sat down by the side of the trail waiting for Linotaur to return. Soon enough he heard a rumbling down the trail. Standing to meet his new found friend. The sight he was greeted with made him want to cry. Coming around the bend was a massive Fire Giant. Quickly taking stock of the situation Dret glared at the Orc.

"A farmer?! A damn farmer killed my detachment!?! What is the horde coming to!" With a furious charge the giant was upon Gorlick. Gorlick had no chance and he knew it. Luckily because of the size difference the Fire giant missed upon his first two strikes. But on the third his axed met its prey. Seemingly the axe melted into his arm causing him excruciating pain. The next blow would kill him for sure.

Suddenly there was a stirring within the bushes. A goblin striker jumped out and rushed towards the giant's side. Glancing down at his recruit Dret quickly turned upon the Striker sending him hurling towards the trees mortally wounded. The giant called after him "That's what we do to cowards!"

Focusing once again the giant swung at Gorlick. Luckily he missed again. A sound roused Gorlick's attention, looking at the face of Dret told him something was amiss. The Giant's mouth was agape and blood was spewing from it. Looking past the giant he saw an Orcish nightblade he had met before. Praising Erisar for his luck thus far he watched Delray get the Fire Giants' attention. Then another rather large figure rushed from across the bridge carrying with him a wave of bloodlust. The Fire Giant was getting battered with such savageness Gorlick almost felt pity for him—almost. Without warning the Fire Giant turned once again upon Gorlick. Unable to get the giant's attention Delray and Linotaur yelled at Gorlick to flee south. Quickly picking himself up along with his belongings he ran as fast as his legs could carry him. He soon heard a thunderous cry from his rear.

Coming to the sea soon enough Gorlick hopped aboard the sloop and crossed to the Isle of Falcion. There to greet him was Deriseus the mage. "Hey you! You look like a stout fellow. How bout we go slaughter some goblins at the murals?" With a slight laugh Gorlick glanced at the mage and followed him to the astounding city, quickly rapt in dispatching the enemy Gorlick wondered whatever happened to his love.

 

Gotenut

Class: Barbarian
Race: Half-Giant

Once, long ago, in a secluded village in the Crystal Mountains lived a small tribe of half-giants. Among these half-giants was a proud blacksmith named Gotera. He was a gifted blacksmith who could craft quite a fine blade. Gotera supplied the village with the weapons it needed to defend itself from the Giants, Goblins, and other monsters that threatened their small village. He was quite a skilled fighter himself, having mastered sharp and blunt weapons.

Though he was an asset to the community, he was also part of its corruption. He had a problem, he could not seem to control himself, in several ways. First off, he had a tendency to go into berserk rages when his anger flared, which, in battle could be beneficial, but when he went into these rages while teaching a new apprentice or hunting, these could be quite dangerous. He also could not control himself in that he slept with numerous women, many of whom were married to others within the village.

Because of this, Gotera fathered many children. One of these was Gote. Gote was born to the wife of the village's chief. Of course, the chief was rather outraged to find the child was not his, but not wanting to upset Gotera,as he was an intregal part of the community, he instead took the baby into Gotera's smithy, placed its head upon the anvil, and smashed it with Gotera's forge hammer. Thinking the baby dead, he took into the woods and dumped it.

Gote lay there for hours, struggling to hold onto life, when a young elf happened to stumble upon him. This elf knew much in the ways of healing. He healed Gote's wounds, not leaving any scars even, though he could not repair the damage done to the child's brain. He kept the child until it was old enough to walk on its own, then, he returned it to the spot he had found it.

Gote, now 2 years old, made his way back to the village. He said not a word to anyone, as he did not know how. People gawked at him, but he didn't seem to notice. First he went to the forge, there he found Gotera passed out drunk on the floor and a half finished sword along with his forge hammer on the anvil. Gote grabbed them both and left.

By now a huge crowd had gathered around the boy. When he saw the chief and his mother, his anger mounted and he went completely insane, something in his brain that had been held in check by a thin tissue had snapped. He brutally murdered the chief in front of the huge crowd of spectators. Several men tried to stop Gote, but they were mutilated by his flailing hammer and sword. His Mom yelled, "Gote, Gote stop!". The crowd hearing this, yelled, "Gote is a nut! Gote the nut! Kill him!" As the crowd massed, Gote became even more enraged. The whole village was then massacred, even his poor mother.

When the village was found years later, it was a ghost town. They found only clues and didn't seem to realize what had happened here. They came across a stone with "Gote the nut" carved into it. Then they came across a now full grown half-giant, the only one in the village. He was brutally strong but immensely slow. These people thought Gote would make a good fighter and decided to take him back with them to train him. They nicknamed him Gotenut, for Gote the nut.

Now he resides in Nexus, the place the men who found him took him to, and he trains now, always struggling to keep his rage under control.

 

Jim

Class: Barbarian
Race: Orc

Jim was born and raised on the vast plains surrounding the Rosehelm outpost. His family was one of nomadic foragers, constantly moving from one hunting spot to the next. His tribe consisted solely of the other members of his family, his mother, his father, his two sisters and six brothers. Jim was the third born of his family, and was also the 'runt of the litter.' His father, mother, and all his brothers and sisters grew to be at least eight feet tall, while Jim was left a mere seven feet high. This in and of itself made life hard for Jim, his brothers and sisters constantly picked fights with the 'little one,' and his father treated him as a failed attempt at a son. However, Jim still took part in the daily hunting rituals performed by his father and brothers, and proved himself to be a very capable hunter of small and large game. He received his first tattoo from his father at the age of eight, the longbow crossed diagonally over a claymore - the symbol of the Lord of the Hunt, Erisar.

Throughout Jim’s childhood, his days were comprised of hunting, sparring with his siblings, and eating. His father taught him that every type of animal could be used for food, even the humans, elves, and fellow orcs. After Jim’s 10th birthday, his father took him to the Eldane forest, to begin some advanced hunting lessons. Little did he know, but Jim's new quarry was to be the elves of Talmet rather than the gazelle and rabbits of the plains.

Jim and his father sat perched in the trees outside the town, waiting for an unsuspecting 'dandelion-eater' (as Jim's father called the elves) to happen by. After several hours of waiting motionless in a tree, a young elven boy wandered underneath the tree that Jim and his father were perched in. Jim's father whispered to him, 'Watch carefully, son,' and leapt down onto the unsuspecting elf. However, to both Jim and his father’s dismay, the boy was no mere boy, but instead one of the guardian rangers of Talmet. After a brief skirmish, Jim’s father lay dead in the grass surrounding the tree, while the elven ranger cleaned his sword upon the dead orc's bloody clothing. At this point Jim started to hear a sound like that of the waves of the ocean in his ears, his vision slowly> clouded with the red haze of battle lust, and he leapt from the tree, branch in hand, with murderous intent. The ensuing fight was heated, but very short-lived, even the strong elven steel of the ranger’s short sword could not stand up to the vicious beating doled out be the infuriated orc. With tears in his eyes, Jim carried both corpses back to his family, for preparation and consumption.

Now Jim’s eldest brother was head of the family, and the times were quickly changing. No longer did the gazelle or rabbits occupy the plains around Rosehelm, but instead the armies of the goblin horde had dominated the plains. Jim's family was forced to choose between being enslaved by the goblins, or moving their residence into the mighty Eldane. The choice was simple, and soon enough Jim’s family lived in the hollowed out bole of a large oak tree in the Eldane.

Jim quickly became dissatisfied with this existence of cowering in the> forest; waiting for the day the goblin horde would claim that too. Jim gave a few briefly muttered goodbyes to his family, and headed out for the city of Nexus. With his recently found battle rage, and his inborn skill with heavy, blunt weapons, Jim thought that the barbarian's guild would be ideal for him, and joined promptly upon arriving in Nexus. Since then, Jim has participated in many battles in the defense of Nexus. He has personally witnessed the resurrection and destruction of gods and demons, and once followed Novind, and now Erisar. He has met some of the most worthless, gods-awful people in the fair city of Nexus, and made friends with some of the greatest heroes to grace that same city. Jim will continue to defend Nexus until the day he dies, which will hopefully be in battle, and not due to old age.

 

Jukka

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Urmila shrieked in horror as she saw her malformed newborn. As tears ran down her leathery face, she wrapped her large hands around the child, wrapped in blankets, as she cried out, "Jukka. . .Jukka. . ." An elven priestess watched sympathetically, searching for a way to reassure the grief-stricken mother. She gently placed her arms on the newborn, and attempted to take her out of Urmila's hands, but Urmila screamed and pushed the lady aside. The newborn had a large piece of flesh missing from his upper lip. The cleft lip extended to the newborn's left nostril, making his toothless upper jaw and the back of his throat visible from a fair distance. The child, still somewhat slimy and wet from delivery, wheezed softly as his crying mother held him. Urmila gently stroked the child's fine, thin scalp. She gave another hard look at the newborn's upper lip and sighed in dispair. Then, exhausted from her delivery, she lay back down on the sleeping pallet she was sitting on, placing the baby by her side.

**

Jukka sat in the forest, looking around curiously with large brown eyes. His eyes quickly focused on a sprite, glowing slightly as he flittered about the forest. Jukka arose, eyes fixated on the sprite, and attempted to grab him. The sprite darted away, screaming, and Jukka began chasing the sprite down. The sprite flittered deftly through the forest, easily outrunning a slow, cumbersome Jukka. The sprite whizzed by a goblin soldier and soared up into the trees. Jukka's attention moved to the goblin. Jukka stared at the goblin obliviously, apparently unaware of the sword in the goblin's hand. He slowly approached the goblin, and examined the goblin closely. The goblin grinned slightly, and smiled at Jukka. The goblin began raising his sword when a frightened scream startled him. The loud thumping of footsteps followed the scream, and the goblin turned his head to see Urmila, club raised above her head, face red with rage. The goblin parried her powerful blow and slashed a large wound across her body. Urmila winced, and swung her club down on the goblin's head. The goblin moved his sword up to block the powerful swing, but the club shattered the blade and struck the goblin clean on the head. The goblin crumpled to the ground. A part of his scalp flew off the goblin's head, revealing a thoroughly mangled skull. Urmila released her iron-tight grip on her club as the red in her face dissipated slightly. She looked down at her stomach and saw several organs hanging out of the enormous wound. As she grabbed Jukka's hand, another goblin approached her, armed with a spear. The goblin was dressed in black, and wielded a long, barbed spear. Urmila, face red once again, charged the goblin, swinging violently with her large club. The goblin dodged the blow, and thrust his spear deep into Urmila's midsection. Urmila screamed in pain, and broke the spear tip off. Urmila shrieked once more, her hand mangled from touching the barbs. As she screamed, she swung her club at the goblin, hitting the goblin in the chest and sending him flying across the forest. The goblin's body flew into a large tree. Urmila ran sluggishly at the injured goblin, and swung her club at his head. Her club decaptitated the goblin's head, causing blood, bone, and flesh to fly outward. Urmila then collapsed, surrounded in a pull of her own blood and guts. Jukka looked over to her fallen mother, and ran to her. He touched her lifeless body and began crying uncontrollably. For several hours, he continued to cry over his mother's dead body until his traumatized body was devoid of tears. His cries slowly turned into a whimper as he rested his head against his mother's side. As his energy wore down from his mourning, his trembling body leaned against that of his mother's. Tears continued to stream down his face as his weary body fell from consciousness on his mother's dead body.

Kasia smelled the forest air; something in the air did not seem right. She had walked this forest countless times, and she knew nearly everything about the forest that there was to know. Unable to explain her odd feelings, she decided to scour the forest for something unusual. She spotted a discoloration in the ground and walked to it. She kneeled down to examine the area, and picked up a small sliver of dirt from the ground. She examined it carefully, then sniffed at it.

"Blood . . ."

She carefully combed the surrounding area, noting several splotches of blood. After several minutes of searching, she came upon a hulking mass of flesh, slumped against a tree. She carefully walked over, unsheathing a claymore from a back scabbard. On top of the pile was an adolescent ogre, face down on top of a mangled female. Kasia gently touched the leathery skin and found that he was still alive. Startled, she hastily lifted the facedown body and laid him on his back on the forest ground. She put his hand up by his throat and held it there intensely for several moments. "His pulse is weak," she mumbled to herself. "Hey there, wake up . . . wake up," she prodded, gently nudging the unconscious ogre. She examined the ogre for wounds; she could find nothing serious; just some gashes and cuts that were easily healable. Sighing, she looked around quickly, and then hefted the heavy ogre as gently as she could onto her shoulder. Grunting slightly at the weight of her load, she walked back to her home, hoping she would find help for the boy back there.

**

"How's the child doing?" asked a concerned Kasia. After an exhausting trek from the forest, she gave the child up to the healers, and waited outside. Although worried over the child's well-being, she was overcome by her exhaustion, and fell asleep for several hours as she waited.

"The child's wounds were not physical. I take it that the child's mother died and he was overcome with grief. He was prone to fits of rage, even as we attempted to deal with his wounds. There was one wound that I should tell you about. The child has a large piece of flesh that is missing from his upper lip. We looked over it, and attempted many healing spells to fix the condition, but the missing flesh remained. With that piece of flesh missing, I cannot imagine him ever mastering the art of spoken speech. Unless he can get his lip fixed, his life is going to be a difficult one."

Kasia nodded solemnly. "Have you finished your work with him?"

The priest nodded.

"He will be my responsibility then until he matures fully."

The priest looked at Kasia and said, "Your duty will not be an easy one. He has a severe handicap, and simple communication will be a mighty chore."

"I understand the difficulty involved, but I will not let him suffer any longer."

The priest nodded. "I will bring the child out, then. There is nothing more that I can do with him, at the moment." The priest walked through a door into his chambers. Several moments later, he returned, with the ogre behind him. The ogre seemed about six and a half feet tall, and held a look of numbed shock on his face. Four of the ogre's upper teeth were clearly visible. Kasia sighed as she greeted him warmly.

"What's your name, child?"

The ogre frowned. He attempted to say something, but all that could be heard was hissing as air blew through his mangled upper lip. "Zhgju..Zszhgu...Shzzussgu..kaaa..."

Kasia looked at the ogre for a moment, frowning. She began muttering some words to herself. "Zukka. . .Shukka...Jukka...Jukka." She suddenly stopped.

"Is your name Jukka?" Kasia asked the ogre.

The ogre smiled slightly and nodded.

Kasia smiled uneasily. "Well, Jukka, follow me. I'll take you to your new home. I'm sure you'd like to settle in quickly." Kasia turned to the priest. "Thank you for helping this child." The priest chuckled and said, "It is but my job."

Kasia walked out of the Healing Hand, followed by the young ogre, Jukka. The priest followed them out the door and stood outside. He smiled warmly as he looked at their hulking figures, fading away as they walked down the road.

 

Kabanor

Class: Barbarian
Race: Half-Giant

A large figure pranced along the forest edge near the Nexus game trail, his feet leaving deep indentations in the fresh fallen snow. This trek began early in the morning as excited eyes had watched the falling snow the night before and he had anxiously awaited the day that he could go out and enjoy the new weather. He was well prepared, wearing an old white fur coat given to him by his father and held what once was a young tree, now smoothed of its branches, its bark cut away. With this tree he would fend off the wolves should they decide to bother him. Much to the dismay of his father, and only living parent, this morning was not a first. Oft times would venture out of their safe secluded log cabin to "wander around". He would often run around the southern forest but never had he ventured so close to the game trail as he had done this day.

Walking along the edge of the game trail was certainly a new experience for the young Kabanor. Small herds of deer charged through and the occasional wolf attacking prey. 'Wha' be wrong wit' walkin down the trail' he thought as he recalled the words of his father who had once scolded him for coming too close to this trail. His father was a hunter and would often travel along the trail hunting game. Kabanor recalled stories his father would tell of catching animals and talking about the seasonal cycle that existed. His thoughts turned to other stories he had heard from his father. Of the ancient tribe they had come from and their glorious stand taken against the goblins in defence of a wandering band of orcish warriors. He thought he could hear the clangs of steel on steel..

Having been lost in thought he did not notice that the trail had taken a twist and he had come upon a great massive wall of stone. Sounds of battle could be heard from the North. Gripping his walking stick and club he ran up to the north when he was thrown into the bushes by a greying man. His father had his sword drawn, he gave Kabanor a firm look and charged into the frey. By poking his head from the bushes that he now hid in he saw his father charge into a large grouping of goblins aiding several guardsmen. The situation seemed dire as new arrivals of goblins appeared, led by one in tattered robes.

The Guardsmen were now scattered and his father with them ran to the south and north as from watching posts by mighty gates claps of deafening sound came as the very earth seem to tremble. Bolts of lightning streamed through the air reflecting off of barriers on several of the more powerful of the goblin men. The gates slowly opened as a group of the most impressive warriors Kabanor had ever seen charged out ahead of their leader - a man wearing dark black robes and holding forth a sharp edged sword of obsidian. His eyes turned to the young Kabanor and seemed two burning orbs amidst black skin.

The battle seemed to flash in and out of reality. The poor young half-giant could only recall the words Imapaled .. frozen and dead as they escaped the lips of the Goblin Weavemaster. His father was then cut asunder by frozen icicles that pierced his body so much as he could not be recognized. He then felt the bells of Tilnar echo through his mind and let out a scream of anger charging after the defiler of life, the man who had taken his only family.

Kabanor awoke with a head now magically preserved at his side and the drow he had seen at the gate staring through him with his crimson red eyes. "It is a gift." the cleric spoke. His voice was as daggers piercing his very soul. "There is a time of great choice soon to come for you." Having said those few words he walked away leaving at Kabanor's side the preserved head of a goblin weavemaster.

This life changing story has led Kabanor on to many things. He did take the head and throw it into the Anduin river and forsook the hate that had built inside of him. Many close friends have softened his heart and he has accepted once more the love of Dilanis. Having left to train at Falcion when reaching the accepted age he felt relieved in battle, he would not allow the goblin tyrants to exist anymore. The scarring of his father's death has never left him, but it drives him to fight and fuels his rage.

 

Kafnut

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Kafnut came into the world in the goblin camps. His mother, a slave held for breeding purposes, gave birth and watched as another of her children was stripped from her embrace. Kept and treated like a hunting dog with several other ogre and troll children, Kafnut quickly learned that strength and aggressiveness were the only assets to be respected. By his third year, Kafnut was as aggressive and strong as the children a few years older than he. During this time, Kafnut was never taught how to read, write, or even think. All of his actions were instinctive. If he wanted something another had, he either took it by force and savagery or did without. The same actions protected his few possessions.

The malicious trainers who held sway over his brood took note of Kafnut and started training the young ogre in the ways of battle and bloodshed. His respect for those who trained him was conditioned through punishment and fear; the thought of rebellion never entered his thick skull. Combat and the crude bludgeoning weaponry came naturally to the young ogre who never had to think about his next move; they just flowed from his massive limbs. His trainers rewarded him with better food and living conditions as he grew increasingly more able in the way of weapons. Though the elements improved, Kafnut still had to fight to keep what was his or gain that which he desired. This "preferential" treatment did not win him any friends among his savage living companions

It was a dark night, ravaged by an unseasonable storm, when Kafnut entered the rage for the first time. Two conniving trolls who bunked in the cave along with the ogre thought to seize his latest reward - a tender lamb. When Kafnut awakened from the rage, he stood over the broken body of one of his assailants as the other cowered in fear. Drawn by the sound, his keepers were pleased to find they had another battle-rager in their training group. After this, Kafnut's anger was fed through torture and abuse. Nothing came to him without a fight. As the training increased, Kafnut grew into young adulthood and entered the ranks of the shock troops.

Battles allowed him to focus his fury and be truly free in the violence of it all. He reveled in the fights, his rage unleashed like the lightning from those fateful thunderheads. Battle after battle passed without notice to the young battler until one day.

Kafnut's troop was out on a raid when the massive warrior found himself cut off from his group. Looking up from his latest victim, he found himself surrounded by Rosehelm fighters. Kafnut grinned savagely and let out a thunderous bellow as he waded into his enemy. They wavered for a moment, fear filling their hearts as their sword cuts garnered coarse laughter and more roars from the bestial berserker.

Their blades cut deep but he continued to fight, paying little attention to the damage. Finally, one of his enemies landed a dreadful blow to the ogre's neck. Though he tried to breathe, Kafnut could gain no breath and collapsed into a pile of his fallen enemies. The Rosehelm warriors collected their wounded, burnt their fallen, and left Kafnut for dead.

The screech of carrion birds snapped Kafnut from his sleep. Unsure of where he was or how to get back to his troupe, the ogre heaved himself to his feet, attempting a groan, but emitting only a wheeze. The need for water overpowered any other desire as he stumbled through the nearby forest in search of a stream. Finally, Kafnut came to a pool surrounded by mushrooms, sitting in the middle of a calm glade. After taking the smallest of sips, the ogre collapsed at the edge of the pool as his lifeblood seeped into the reeds.

As he fell into a deathly still slumber, Kafnut was surrounded by sprites of the forest. Their leaders held an impromptu council and many were in favor of finishing the wounded warrior off in his sleep. After much argument, it was decided to allow the ogre to awaken and then determine if he was a threat or not. As he would be too weak to endanger the sprites, they could take care of him if he proved to be a problem. With this decision, a swarm of sprites descended upon the warrior, cleaning his wounds and inspecting him. Kafnut's injuries were many, the most grievous of which was a laceration to his neck. Somehow, his enemy's blow had severed his trachea and his voice box, but had missed the major blood vessels. A giant bed of pine needles was prepared and the freshly cleaned ogre was levitated to this bed, unmoved from his deep slumber. For the next four days Sprites tended his wounds. Kafnut awoke with a sprite standing on his nose, pulling up an eyelid. The ogre attempted to bellow his anger at this affront, but only a wheeze came out of his gaping mouth. The sprites flitted to a safe distance from the warrior and watched intently. An attempt to sit up ended in the ogre's collapse into his makeshift bed. The bravest of the sprites levitated some fruit to the ogre's mouth and slowly fed him. After a moment of hesitation, he reached out a weak hand, his hunger a tyrant over his suspicion. Following the food, a leaf full of water was levitated to his mouth. As he was being fed, a throng of sprites gathered to watch their new guest. With dozen's of sprites flying about, Kafnut sighed and passed out from this exertion.

A few hours passed and Kafnut once again came to with fruit piled up around him. Glancing around, Kafnut reached out and grabbed some of the fruit, eating it slowly. Soon, his hunger was abated and he watched the sprites with curiosity. The elder sprite and nominal leader landed on Kafnut's chest and made mystical gestures. At the finish of these gestures, all anger fled the warrior and he looked about the dale with calm eyes.

With this newfound peace, Kafnut set about his recovery. As the weeks passed, the sprite healers worked with Kafnut to mend his wounds and regain his strength. With his renewed strength, Kafnut became a tool of the sprites. He comfortably assumed his new role in the sprite society as he moved large objects and performed other manual acts for them.

Kafnut would have been content to live in this manner for the rest of his existence. The sprites, however, found that having a pet ogre put a large strain on their society. Kafnut consumed more food than the entire sprite village put together. Try as he might to be careful, he was constantly crushing plants and mushrooms in the glade. Simply, Kafnut, though meaning well, was eating and tromping himself out of house and home.

The sprite leader was afraid to send Kafnut off on his own for fear of him falling back in with the goblin forces or wandering on his own until he met his demise. As a result, it was decided to take the ogre to Nexus. The sprite leader collected some items for the ogre and gave him what gold the village could muster. Kafnut blindly followed the sprite to town. After a long talk with Kragesh, the sprite elder hugged Kafnut and flitted off to his home. Kafnut was given over to the barbarian guild for training and education on the ways of the City of All Races.

Though lonesome for his sprites, Kafnut easily adapted to his new regime and quickly learned as much as the trainers on the island had to teach him. After much thought, the trainers of the Barbarian Guild decided it would be prudent to attempt to allow Kafnut to embrace his rage during battle. So far, Kafnut has always been able to ride the rage out and focus his anger on the enemies of his adopted Nexus.

Kafnut has befriended many adventurers. Some of these look on him as a protector and others as one to be looked after. Though not a mental giant, Kafnut's loyalty to these friends has never been suspect. These adventurers and his trainers have succeeded in teaching the ogre the rudimentary alphabet and some basic hand signals. His neck wound has never healed so as to allow Kafnut to attempt speech.

 

Kalid

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Aalur, the Sixteenth of the month of the Phoenix, in the year 1,638 since the Godswar, and year 1221 of the empire. Nothing more then a few chickens, deer, and birds. They all flocked around one large, ogre woman, sitting the middle of an open field with her husband by her side. Not much time had passed since she had realized that he was coming ... today. Before long, a small, cute ogre child with twinkling black eyes and furry black head. The mother reached down and picked him up, smiling and cuddling the newborn. "Kalid ... I think we should call him Kalid, after his grandfather ... wouldn't you say," said the mother with great joy in her voice and heart. Kalid's father, Nkar, nodded.

As Kalid began to grow, his father had already been training him for battle and working. At the age of two, Kalid was nearly 3 feet tall and was able to lift very much for one of his age. Nkar was very proud of Kalid and would often show his appreciation by taking Kalid on nature "walks". His wife had always known though, that Nkar had always loved Kalid, even if he chose not to show it.

Before long, around age six, Kalid had grown immensely. His muscles were constantly bulging from the armor his mother had made him and often let him run in the nude as she worked on making him new sweaters and pants. Kalid had always enjoyed his freedom, and this was a sign of it. Nkar never pushed Kalid too hard, just enough that he would be exhausted at the end of the day. Kalid's mother wasn't to happy about this, but after Kalid ate a hearty meal and his dessert he was ready to go back out and work with his father some more.

Shortly afterwards, a tragic thing happened to the poor, young, seven year old Kalid. His mother had fainted suddenly at the dinner table. She had died from some type of rare poison, hardly seen in ogres. Sometime when she was out during a walk, she must have been cut on a poisonous plant, common around Kalid's hometown. She had died nearly instantly after she had fainted, but before she did she regained consciousness and smiled at Kalid. "You will be a strong boy, Kalid. I want you to grow up and be just ... just ... just like your father ...". With her dying breath and those words said, she collapsed.

There was a burial several days later, which is what Kalid's mother had always wanted. Many of Kalid's mother's friends came and they felt very bad for Kalid, many offered him money and gifts, and even one very nice woman offered to take Kalid into her household. This woman later became Kalid's stepmother.

As Kalid slowly grew up even more, his father stopped working him so hard and began to spend more and more time with his wife. Kalid was also allowed more time with his stepmother. This delighted them both, seeing as how they both barely knew Kalid's mother.

It was finally time for Kalid to go and train to become a real warrior. His father sent a mail to Kragesh. Kalid was escorted by a few Falcion guards through goblin territory to the great Island of Falcion, a slight southwest of where he was, in northern Eldane. Kalid had trained as hard as he could, all in hopes of one day to help his village defend against anything, go home and help his father, and most of all, become a great warrior like his own father.

 

Karkaroth

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Karkaroth was born in a small and rather weak tribe of nomad Ogres. In the first three years of Karkaroth's life, the tribe was forced to flee from their lands to new ones, each time,, they went more and more westwards, deeper and deeper into the woods. After a well planned attack of Fire Giants, most of the tribe was decimated or captured to be sold to the goblins. One of the captured Ogres was Karkaroth, sold by a Fire Giant Captain to a Goblin Weavemaster named Krazanth. From the Goblin he earned his name and many other things. The mad weavemaster, chose not to submit the ogre into blooding, as he liked to idea to control an idiot and dumb creature by his own overwhelming intelligence and power. Instead of blooding Karkaroth, forcing him magically to submit his will, he had his own ways of dealing with slaves.

Krazanth made numerous magical experiments on his new slave, to the Ogre they were physical and mental never ending tortures as the patience and resolve of its master were only matched by his madness. Though, the very first experiment was never forgotten by Karkaroth, the mad weavemaster inscribed magical runes all over the body of the Ogre and as Karkaroth seemed to resist the pain rather well, to please his sadistic mind, the Goblin tested his newly created "dragon fang" knife on the chest of the helpless Ogre. Seven long and deep cuts were opened on his chest, a festival of blood to soothe the madness of a fool.

Some years passed and Karkaroth was "trained" by Krazanth's guards the use of weapons and armors. Not only he suffered at the Mad weavemaster's hands but he also was used to amuse the Guard's of his master. They trained their weapon skills on him, assisted by a shaman that healed the Ogre's wounds as soon as his chair bled. Hundreds of times, he felt the bite of Goblin steel on his massive body, a rather easy target for his "trainers".

Then one day came when Karkaroth was released from the grasp of his mad master. Some would say it was luck, some would say it was the direct interference of a God that took pity on his soul and silent wishes to die. The ogre crushed under his feet, a crystal amulet that was resting on the floor of the laboratory. As the amulet shattered and many shards pierced his feet, the magic stored on the device was released.he appeared on fountain of Falcion.

Then Karkaroth began to trace his path as a Barbarian, sometimes seen as dumb, sometimes seen as mad but sometimes seen as an efficient ally.

 

Karnak

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Raised by two placid ogres with no wish to fight, in a rather large hut to fit the large people was a baby ogre. He looked amazingly like his father in every way, so he was named after him. His name is Karnak.

The boy was brought up by loving parents and got all the attention he deserved being the only child born to the couple. At 3, being a healthy strong young boy, he was lifting heavy objects with ease and often worried his parents by going into the forest near their home and wrestling wolves and bears.

His parents loathed any violence and hated the "warmongers" as they liked to call them living in the City of all Races. They often talked about Karnak's habits and upbringing. Obviously, he was immensely strong and loved to fight and was already asking questions about the city visible to the north and from which his parents hastily tried to draw his attention.

Throughout his life, Karnak honed his skills, knowing someday at sometime he would fight. Karnak never got that smart, though his parents tried and tried with many tutors. He would always daydream about fighting during the lessons.

One tutor came along by the name of Tirik. He was a stout hobbit who loved to tell stories. Karnak and Tirik became great friends. (This was a useful skill to get along with other races, seeing as how he would need it in the City of All Races). Tirik told stories of the city north of them. Karnak learned that the city's name is was Nexus. Tirik told him of great stories of dragons who could eat another dragon whole and of enchanting creatures that lived there.

His parents unfortunatley overheard one of these conversations and fired Tirik. It was too late, though. Karnak already had his mind set on travelling to that city and one day fighting there. He knew that sudden fits of rage he went into would help greatly. He attributed most of his strength to that.

When Karnak turned 12, he ran away to Falcion in hopes of finding someone to apprentice him. When he was on the island he showed great feats of strength and skill which impressed his trainer a lot. During that time he longed to go visit his parents but the insatiable appetite for battle kept his roots on Falcion.

When his trainer told him his skill was sufficient enough to travel to Nexus he did so and promised himself he would visit his parents along the way.

When he came to the small village he used to live in the sight horrified him. Burnt down homes littered the area. most likely a night attack. some fire was still burning the houses' foundations had not crumbled so he knew the attack was recent. If only he would have been here to help!

When he plucked up the courage, he proceeded to the area his hut last stood. He went into a fit of rage, for two corpses, just recognizable lay there freshly burned. He looked to the north, filled with rage and marched on with his club ready.

It was not long before he stumbled upon a stray goblin camp. They were all sleeping. He wondered for a split second if these were the same monsters who decimated his own village, but he didn't care. With the element of surprise he brutally killed all of them while they slept. He walked on, unmoved by the massacre he had just done.

Now in Nexus, he swore that until he died his last death or cured the pain of his parents' deaths he would defend Nexus from all evils.

 

Kurdt

Class: Barbarian
Race: Unknown

Kurdt's story begins with a young savage boy who like most kids played in the dirt and was just adventurous. His parents were well known in their village of Maala, His dad was the assistance to the chief and his mom was the chief's wife's aid. Kurdt was the Chief's prize, even though it wasn't his son he treated him just as well. More like Kurdt's godfather. Well Kurdt was trained very well in the ways of his tribe so that one day he could take over as chief of the tribe cause the chief had no sons.

The chief did have a daughter her name was Kaitlen. She is very beautiful and smart. She and Kurdt were very close and were to be married but Kurdt didn't know much of love or anything cause he saw her as his best friend whom was more like a sister. Kurdt's village began a journey down hill. They are located in a secret location north of the Oasis in the desert to the east of Nexus and the weather got bad and they were forced to get supplies and resources to move on. Kurdt didn't want to leave. That place was his life and so he stayed behind. He too found it difficult to live and eventually was forced to move on.

He traveled further north on the edge of the Desert and Taeviral. They resettled up there but they were not happy with him for not staying with them and not allowed him to stay. So he went off and begins to live alone and tried to survive. Life was hard and all the people who he meets wanted nothing to do with him.

After a few seasons of living on his own he made it a little city called Rymek, some how completely missing Nexus. When he arrived in Rymek he was meet by a few guardsmen and Local Archers who took him in gave him a place to stay for the night. He told a few lies and made up a few details to his true past so people would help him. They were willing to help him get back on his feet and showed him his way to Falcion. He thanked them and went on his way on the Sloop to Falcion. Upon arrival he meet some other people on the isle with paths just beginning and told him his story as well and they too began to help him.

Once he had trained enough to try to join a new calling in life, the guild of the barbarians. He felt lead to make up a total false story to one of the members for acceptance into the guild. His interviewer saw through his Lies. He did not lose his composer he stuck to his guns. He played it off that perhaps the interviewer did not know what he was talking about. So he just failed and had to wait many weeks for another opportunity. This time a great guy interviewed him and he told him a more correct story but it still was filled with filler to make him not sound like a deserter to his village and he was accepted.

To this day he has been faithful to his new guild and has no plans on turning on them. He feels he has been given a second chance and is taking this with great responsibility. He hopes that someday he can make up for his past actions and lies but for now he is living it by the day.

 

Linotaur

Class: Barbarian
Race: Half-Giant

18 years ago, a half-giant Wizardress and a Half-giant Barbarian met in the field of battle against a small group of Goblins leading a battle against Traenol. In this meeting they fell in love almost immediately. They moved away from Traenol and to a small home near the top of the Crystal Mountains. They lived happily till they decided they wanted to bring another life into the world. They had one child. A half-giant baby boy. They named this child, Linotaur.

For the first few years of his life his mother taught him to be intelligent how to solve problems and speak correctly. She also taught him proper etiquette and manners. After the child grew to be much larger the father took him training and fighting against small animals and forced him to grow much stronger. He taught him how to protect others in battle, and he taught him the ways of killing.

From this mix of intelligence and brute strength. Linotaur became a Barbarian of the more intelligent type. Being able to distinguish things, solve personal problems, and being one monstrous weapon against the hordes and the other evils of the world.

On his 17th birthday Linotaur's home was raided by goblins. He ran out the backdoor of his house as quickly as he possibly could. That night he slept in the forest. He returned to his home to find that it had been burned down and his mother and father had been brutally murdered. In a violent rage he grabbed what he could and ran from the area and down the mountain. Into the forest below.

For several days the boy killed what he could until he came upon a force too strong. Before he could be killed he passed out from exhaustion. When he woke he found himself apprenticed into the town of Falcion. He had been given what he needed to grow stronger and become a warrior.

He met many great allies in Falcion and just the same, many enemies. After long he became a great warrior. And he headed off to Nexus only to return everyonce in a while to keep ties with old friends. He went back to his family's grave site and reclaimed his father's blade. And to this day he holds his grudges in making a mockery of Goblins and killing them for fun.

And to this day he continues to battle and slowly is becoming as great warrior as his father was....

 

Mortis

Class: Barbarian
Race: Unknown

Standing afar one could only see blood and flesh flying in every direction. In massive arcs, clubs could be seen doling out the blows with horrendous results. But in the midst of this battle were 3 brothers of Ogrish descent. They hailed from the Clansogre sect, under the Banner of the house of Dreyd. Fighting with a ferocity unmatched by all others in battle, these kin were the only force opposing the Goblins. Sliver was the eldest of them also the most intelligent, Mortis and Junipe were twins both of equal strength but Mortis took to studying more so than Junipe.

The battlground was a flat land in a valley of the Crystal Mountains. Upon arriving at the sight the brothers were met with a rush from the shocktroopers from 3 sides. Immediately taking charge of the situation the eldest brother ordered the others to take to one side. Dropping their foes with deadly precision, they were still losing ground, until the goblins came full circle. With a war cry that echoed throughout the valley, each brother's face contorted with rage, while their eyes turned into red goblets. Instantly the goblins fell back only to be beaten down upon with a renewed blood lust. Upon the grounds were heaps of goblins only to be reinforced with others.

A thunderous crack erupted from the skies and there above all of the horde was a Goblin Warlord, flying upon an Ancient Black Dragon. Ominously the dragon lowered his head, all knew their fate.

An angelic voice rang out, over the battlefield. Looking towards the tree line, standing hand in hand were 2 Elves. The lady immediately let out an incantation unknown to any present. The Dragon quickly jerked his head to see from what direction this chant was coming from. Straining to hear, he felt the magicks gathering. Then with a sudden realization the dragon threw the Warlord from his back and flapped his wings with dire urgency. Looking back he knew it was of no use. Shedding a single tear he was instantaneously consumed by the spell, Hellfire. Ashes fell among those still fighting. The battle ended quickly rather quickly as the brothers had taken little notice of the dragon, concentrating on slaughtering the goblins quickly.

Rushing towards the Elves the found both had erupted into flames. What remained was only dust. With a terrible realization they quickly gathered the dust, and ran to get the clerics of the house of Dreyd.

The clerics spurned them when they told them that they were Elves. Enraged Mortis blurted out that these were elves that raised them in the woods. Quickly covering his mouth, his brothers glared at him. For it was against the law to associate with the elves of the forest. Sliver the Patriarch of the family sadly stepped forward. Clutching Sliver's shoulder Mortis was quickly grabbed by Junipe and Detin, a distant cousin. Standing before the crowd that had gathered Sliver called out "I Sliver Patriarch of the family of Dreyd take the punishment of us all".

Gasps were heard in the crowd. Furthermore the Ogre spoke, "They were the ones that sheltered us when our mothers and fathers died! And I was the one that lead them to us! Therefore I should take the full punishment!"

The clerics nodding among each other decided it to be so.

Sliver, relieved that he had been able to convince them to agree with him knelt before the High Priest. Quickly withdrawing his blade he slit his abdomen from navel to breastbone, as Clansogre law ordained. Flooding out, his entrails were steaming in the snow.

Taking his chance now Detin jumped atop the platform and cried aloud "The brothers have been defiled!! They cannot lead us! Banish them!" For Detin had always been jealous of his cousins power. There were cries of approval amongst those gathered. Detin with a sense of accomplishment gave Sliver a devious grin.

Enraged Mortis and Junipe jumped towards Sliver and carried him to the only place that he would be happy to die at, the battlefield. Seeing that the life had drained from Sliver they set him down amongst those dead. Glancing up they saw a dark shadowy figure hovering above the corpses.

Before any could speak a gruff voice whispered "Do you wish thine brother to be amongst the living again?" Quickly again he spoke "I could make it happen. All I wish in return is for you to leave your village. Also I need one of his kin to allow me to draw upon their life essence, for your brother has been dead for too long."

Quickly Mortis took charge of the situation. Knowing that this must be a powerful entity he took no time to question that it could be done. Mortis agreed to the terms and was quickly engrossed by a swirling mist. His skin soon began to turn a morose bone white and peeled. Dropping to the ground, he was unconscious.

Looking at Sliver, Junipe saw that his brother's wound was closed and that he was breathing. Glancing at Mortis he saw no breathing whatsoever. Aghast at what he thought was happening Junipe quickly attacked the figure. Suddenly the figure threw off the cloak from his head. Quickly a corpse of a shocktrooper grabbed Junipe! There before his eyes stood an angelic being with scaled hands, it appeared to be a Daemon of some sort.

In a fury the Daemon yelled "Idiocy! For what I have given you! You dare attack me!? Insult me!?!"

Mortis finally gathered enough strength to look up. The Daemon grabbed Junipe by the throat, muttering something. Junipe dissolved into the mist. Looking upon Mortis, he spoke again "Your brother is a fool! And for that he has been cast to a land faraway. Also for his folly you shall be punished as well. I will hide Sliver in Tilnar's Realm. Mind you not deceased but unconscious to rest for all eternity until you manage to find him. Begone from my sight!" With that the Daemon cast his hand over Mortis and watched him disappear.

Gathering himself Mortis found himself looking at chest and a fountain...

 

Norp

Class: Barbarian
Race: Gnome

Deep within an unknown forest was left a baby gnome to fend for itself. None is know about exactly how old the baby was or how it got were it was. It was then that the gnomish baby was found by a female elf walking in the forest in search for flowers. She then took the baby back to her house in an elven city named Tar'uka.

In this city all were elven except for the baby gnome of course. The lady that had found him was a wizardress of the city and was not married. She loved the gnome baby as her own and named it Norp because the tree where the baby was found had the name Norp carved in it.

Norp grew up not liked by the children in the city of Tar'uka. Though he was taught the elven language and would have seemed completely elven if you had not seen him, the children picked on him because he was little and different. He would often come home crying each day from something the children would have done or said to him.

When he got of age for the children in the city to start learning about a certain group of skills, he continued to be made fun of because all the other children considered of his age where very much older than him. Since the elven people and even gnomes were not very good at melee combat, there were no guilds of Fighters nor Barbarians. In fact none in the whole city even knew of such, beside seeing the goblins and giants fight as they did. The elves in the city saw their combat skills just to be a special ability only given to such monsters.

When Norp could not make up his mind of what he wanted to be educated in, he was forced to be enlisted into the mages guild in the city of Tar'uka. Norp did not like magic and was often beaten by the guild instructors for refusing to learn magic.

In the city, few times when the elves were attacked by the giants, they would capture one alive. When they did they would place the giant in an outside ring with an elven mage of high stature. Then they would have the mage kill the giant to show all the small children how magic was the better way and telling that the giants has a weakness of lacking the knowledge of magic. Norp watched this happening a few times and grew interested in the giants form of combat, a one without magic.

Since there was not any weapons at all found in the city, Norp stole a small smiths hammer and ran out into the woods one day. At first he swung the hammer around just for play, but soon discovered this type of combat was the one for him. He tried many times to mimic on how he saw the giants do battle but never could and got very mad a lot.

The city of Tar'uka was attacked many times by giants and such but none had even passed the gates to do actual harm to the city. But one day things changed. The giants raided the city and began burning it. Norp's mother panicked and she and Norp ran to an underground shelter. Many days past and Norp and his mother remained in the shelter. But then the doors of the shelter began to shake and then a mace penetrated through one of the doors.

Norp's mother panicked and told him she would find him someday and right before the doors where broken down, she casted the teleportation spell on him. Norp was then teleported to a desert where he was later found by a wise mage.

The mage kept Norp in his cottage for some time. As the days passed, the mage taught Norp the common language, but for some reason Norp was never able to speak the language. The mage also told him stories of a place named Nexus. Norp was very interested in the stories when the man began to tell of warriors using weapons by means of skill and madness.

One morning though as if all things seemed to be going well in Norp's life, Norp awoke to find the mage he lived with to have died. Norp thought since the mage was of very old age for a human that he must have died of old age. Norp stayed in the cottage for a few days thinking about the mage, Nexus, and mostly his mother.

Since the mage spoke about Nexus having a large amount of people, Norp thought there might be hope that he would find his mother in Nexus. So the next day Norp took the map that the old man had and set out for Nexus. Norp had walked east for many days and then came upon a band of giants and was chased east even more. Norp ran east as fast as he could and when he turned to look for the giants while still running, he ran into the east gates of Nexus.

Norp was then knocked out and was sent to the healing hand of Falcion, where he awoke and chose to train as a barbarian. Even though Norp is still made fun of by people saying he is weak, small, and different, he fails to give up in hope on seeing his mother once again.

 

Oderus

Class: Barbarian
Race: Orc

As the scribes continue to bug me, I suppose I should just write this down and get it over with, then perhaps I'll have a bit of peace. My past is no stranger to the bloodshed of many men and foes. I was born into battle and it has been my life ever since...

I was born into a rather large family, several brothers and sisters. I was in a large barbarian tribe, we were in a feud with another such tribe. I was young when they overran us, too young. All were slain, my parents and brothers were slain before me and the other tribe, not knowing what to do with me took me in as their own. At the time I didn't understand, but it soon became all too clear. When we reached their camp we were sold to some strange men, they took us off and started training us in battle. We were all young, barely old enough to hold a sword. They threw us into battle, mere children. An army of children, few of the more 'civilized' races had problems killing children, I suppose that is why they used us, to exploit this weakness.

After one rather large skirmish, nearly all on each side lay slain. The few that remained fled. My sword was slaked with blood, as was the ground around me. A staggering sea of crimson, a towering mountain of ravaged flesh. I was young, abandoned, I had nowhere to go. Something my mother once told me came to mind, she told me of how humans and elves and many other races were eatible, and rather tasty. I found a less mangled corpse of an elf and tried cooking it, but quickly realized it took out most of the flavor. I had enough food to last me ages, as long as it didn't rot. I scavenged weapons and clothing, and loaded as much food as I could into my pack. From there I set off, even farther north.

North into barren wastelands, bitter cold all about me. I ventured for weeks, mayhaps months by myself. Killing anything I could find for food, sleeping little. For years it was like this, I killed men that came across my path for food, I took their clothing and supplies. It was kill or be killed. Years passed and I eventually came upon a rather large city of orcs. I opted to enlist in their army, they accepted reluctantly. I was an outlander, and moreso a crude uncivilized barbarian. How would I ever survive in their army?

I moved up in the ranks quickly, my battle prowess showed. My skills were honed, eventually I came into command of a small group of men. Men...hardly, they gave me all the rejects. All the ones like me, the uncivilized and the sword fodder. I trained them hard, harder than any training our army had. I taught them how to survive, those that didn't like it either left, or were killed in battle. We were crude and ruthless, the majority of higher ranks despised us.

It wasn't until a battle against a large tribe of barbarians that they did it, they made an attempt to kill us off. The general I was under was in alliance with them, he was a traitor. He set up a trap for us, to finally rid him of us all. He told me we were to make a stealthy night assaulte on a small group of soldiers, he insisted it would be a cake walk... it wasn't.

Their numbers were thrice what we were told by the 'scouts.' It was a death trap set up by a traitor with a vendetta against us. The night air was cold, a fog had rolled in. The fog was our only ally, we set off at midnight, it was an hours or so march from our camp. They were waiting for us, and it was eerily quiet.

We snuck as close into the camp and rushed a small group of guards, they fell quickly. A clarion blast pierced the silence and we were quickly surrounded by an overwhelming number of warriors. They told us to drop our weapons or die, they would have killed us either way. The men looked the me, I began to lower my spear to the ground, the barbarians cheered wildly, they thought they had won. I let out a war cry and charged them. My men charge behind me, the bloodbath began. My spear hammers into the chest of a warrior, a bright red blood erupts from his lips as he falls to the heather. I turn aside a vicious swordthrust and my own blade snakes out to cleave the neck of the attacker, shearing through his veins in a shower of dark red. An enemy blade opens my shoulder to the bone, but I sweep my axe out in a deadly arc, its iron head rending armour and biting deep into flesh. Bloodlust consumed me, my men were falling fast. There was no way out, I was going to die as a warrior and not a coward! Cleaving bodies left and right, a head falls with each swing of my sword. I had a handful of men left, we fought valiantly. Blood stained our armor and faces, our foes had never seen such rage, some fled, some stayed and died. When the sun rose our opponents had all either fallen or fled, the morning mist was stained red with blood. Only five of us remained out of our original five hundred. Myself, and my first Lieutenant Flattus suffered minor wounds, the rest were in terrible shape or on the verge of death. Indeed there would be hell to pay when we returned to camp. We carried those that could not walk.

The look on the generals face was priceless, it was a twisted mix of shock and horror. We arrived to the camp drenched in blood, my gaze met the General's, he quickly turned away and went to his tent. I sent Flattus off, our medics took care of the few of us that were left. I told the General what happened, he made a horrid attempt at an apology and said his scouts were misinformed. I merely smirked and told him I knew. I swore I would have my vengeance and left the tent. In the midst of the night I was informed the general was going to have me executed for treason, the traitor had was smarter than I thought. In the night I snuck into his tent when he was gone, he returned to my blade. His abdomen yawned open and he staggered back as his intestines spewed forth in a pulsing mass. I sunder his head with another blow as he falls and his skull yields to spill its steaming contents to the earth. That night Flattus and I set off for Falcion to hone our skills once more. It was a long journey, and we were tailed by many scouts. They were dealt with appropriately.

Perhaps the scribes will leave me be now..

 

Oku

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Oku was born on Ruvuhe fourth month of the Icedrake, 1, 644 years since the Godswar, year 1227 of the Empire.

All that was known to him regarding this was that he came from the North of Nexus, and that he was ten years old. Written records of Oku speak of him as a simple ogre with savage hate towards Enemies of Nexus, and a straightforward friendliness to those he meets. A Nexus scribe began to search out people who knew of Oku when he entered the City of All Races.

After much traveling and many pages of writing and images of war, the scribe sat down to write what he knew about Oku. The scribe was suprised by how much Oku could think of food and in what quantities too. The scribe had little appetite after having heard about half the battles Oku had been through, all the tales of bloodshed and rage. Trying to put the facts together, the cribe dipped his quill into the inkwell and set it to the paper.....

OKU

Words that describe Oku include bat aren't limited to: brutal, crude, unruly, stubborn, impuslive, non judgmental, and easy going. i have found that after a few days of studying him, he is an interesting specimen of ogre that is worthwhile to take note of. Therefore, I have composed the following writing for both his guild's reference and for the City of Nexus itself. After interviewing a few of his friends and relatives, I have been given a picture of a...well, adventurer, you shall see yourself before I spoil your fun....

Oku lived his childhood in a small village near the Crystalline Mountains, his parents being former city ogres. The village was primitive and still held on to some older traditions. Oku always found a good fight amongst the other ogres and stood up for his family. One time, he killed a wolf that had invaded his cave to steal his food. The next day, he had forgoten the conflict completely and found himself wondering what a smelly wolf was doing in his cave. Oku heard stories of the Barbarians' Guild from his uncle, who was a retired adventurer. He thought of one day becoming a hero of Nexus by seeking apprenticeship with the Barbarians' Guild.

Oku was somewhat dimwitted, a trait that his trainers tried unsuccessfully to cure him of. Because of lack of memory, Oku counted each year of his life with a scar across his fingers, one scar per year. Whenever he's how old he is, he simply looks at his hands. As he grew older, Oku's parents began to grow impatient with him and asked him what he wanted to do. He told them his thoughts and they agreed. One day, he ate as much food as he could handle, and took some for the journey, setting off south towards Nexus. Before leaving, Oku took the smelly wolf that had been lying in his cave and hung it on a tree with his name etched on the tree in the wolf's blood. Oku had ten scars on his hands that day. Within Nexus, Oku stood high above the crowds in the streets. People shot them puzzled glances occasionally then went about their business. Oku's first impulse apon being inside the City was to buy as much food as he could from the vendors and eat it quickly. The small gold his parents had given him emptied quickly from Oku's pockets. He had a good meal then looked at the crowds with uncertainty.

Beginning to become puzzled, Oku seized a man in the crowd and held him up. Oku questioned him about where the Barbarians' Guild might be. After some contemplation of the directions the man had given him, Oku set him down. When he walked into the guild, a the trainer within simply sized Oku up, handed him some armor and a weapon, and pointed in the general direction of the Sea of Tears. Oku knew he was now to go to Falcion.

Oku did well within Falcion, and soon met again with his trainer to discuss going back to Nexus. The trainer first asked what Oku wished to do once he had returned. Puzzled, Oku looked up from his musings of battle.

"Well?" Said the trainer. "Me bashum good. Me kill tose evil to the city. I bring honor to guild. Me try keep Nexus safe, set example for lil' barbarians." Oku said, not completely sure it was entirely what he planned to do. He pondered what there was beyond the goblins that sporadically attacked the city. He had high aspirations of developing his battle skills. Then Oku remembered his home village, and his uncle who had once been a great hero. He thought of what the smelly wolf had become hanging on the tree, and before he knew it, his stomach had grown hungry. Oku looked around the room and nodded to his trainer that he was ready.

The trainer sized Oku up again and nodded back to him. He handed Oku some gold for the boat fair and grunted at him as he left.

Arriving at Rymek, Oku hurried past a warehouse that reeked of the smell of death. He headed north to the city but soon found himself disoriented in a dirt field. There he saw a farmer and asked him what was going on in the field and where he was. THe farmer simply shrugged and told Oku that there was a little rustle in the cellar and that he had come to take a look at what it was. Oku hurried quickly into the cellar, eager for a fight as ever.

After a few minutes of battle in Nexus, Oku's mind focused narrowly on food. He went around hunting constantly as anger gripped his mind and his appetite demanded. Oku developed quite a taste for foods that some races other than ogres would think odd. With new friends fighting by his side, Oku grew strong quickly.

*The scribe looked up from his writings and mumbled to himself* "Another day, another smelly ogre to write about. Isn't that the world for me?" He set his quill aside from the paper and called it a day.

The latest account the scribe included about Oku was him returning to his village, with a new wolf to hang on the tree, this one much larger than the last and more fierce looking. When he did so, Oku's parents looked at him and asked him where he bought the wolf.

*As if I couldn't kill one easily, Oku thought*

Oku answered that he smashed it with a club, and that he wasn't hungry for wolf at the time. After talking with clan about his adventures, Oku devoured a large dinner and said goobye until a later time. He went back to Nexus to meet his trainer and continue perfecting his skills. Even the largest and most weather worn ogres of his clan acknowledged that Oku had done well for himself, judging by the size of the new wolf that hung from the tree.

 

Rothgar

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Rothgar was born in a small tribal village out in the desert of Altin. Although he doesn’t remember much from that time, one small piece has anchored in his memory, and that is the name of the village, or more the name of the warriors in the village, and the walked by the name of "Uruk-Hai". The name itself had no real meaning, it was just what they yelled the seconds before the plunged into battle.

Nothing particularly happened the first five years in Rothgars life, except that he began to grow and started to eat like a horse. But one evening, when Rothgar was out walking in the desert, a large squad of Mudiir scouts spotted him, and began chasing him over the sand dunes. Rothgar took several arrows in his back before he fell to the ground, and the mudiirs left him for dead. The he passed out, in the desert, with the suns high up in the air.

He woke up when someone threw a bucket of cold water in his face, his wounds bandaged and the first thing he noticed when he looked around was that he was chained to the wall with chains around his feet’s and his arms. A man came up to him and started to touch him, feeling on his legs, arms and everywhere. Then the man turned around and said something in a strange language. Rothgar had no idea what was going on. The first man tossed a purse of coins on a table, the second man took the purse and walked over to Rothgar.

He tied a rope around the neck of Rothgar, and then he opened the chains. Instinctively Rothgar tried to flee, but with a hard pull, the man holding the rope dragged Rothgar back, and with a hard punch he sent Rothgar to the dreamworld.

When Rothgar woke up this time, he was in a wagon with bars around it, and the wagon was in a caravan across the desert. In the wagons behind him Rothgar saw other children, some ogres as him, others were humans, some where white and some where black. This was a new thing to Rothgar, because he had never before seen a human and he looked at the childrens for a long time, and tried to figure out what they was, and why they didn’t look like him.

After a while he passed out again, from the lack of water. A hard punch in the face woke him up this time, and he was brutally ripped out of the wagon and dropped on the rocky ground. If the situation had been different now, and if Rothgar had been at his senses, he would have tried to fight his way out, but because the lack of water he could barely get up, just to find himself kicked down on the ground again. A collar of steel was placed around his neck and he was dragged to a large building made in rock.

In there he saw the entrance to a cave, and some sort of wagons outside it. Here he received a cup of water, and he tough the worst thing was over. While he was drinking a group of large people came out of the cave entrance, pushing the wagons in front of them, and the large wagons was filled with rock, and the whole thing looked very heavy. Rothgar was pulled to the group in his chain, and one of the men, coming out from the cave with a whip in his hand unlocked the collar and spoke in some strange language. Rothgar didn’t understand anything, so when the group went back into the cave Rothgar didn’t move. The man with the whip began to yell something, and when Rothgar didn’t move, he received a whip over his torso. Rothgar fell to the ground but that didn’t stop the man with the whip. When 10 whips had been given out, the man stopped, walked over to Rothgar and began to drag him inside the cave. The cave continued into the mountain, always going downhill. When they had been walking for a while, they came into a large cave, lit up by candles and torches. In there around 20 men with picks in their hand was in the work of expanding the cave. The air was lousy, and the sound from picks repeated hits on the cave were overwhelming. A pick was given to Rothgar and another collar was attached to his neck, and the other end was locked to an iron bar in the middle of the cave.

Rothgar didn’t know what to do now, and received first one hit, then two and three, before he understood what he was supposed to do. So he began hitting the wall with his pick. Nothing interesting happened for the 5 years that passed, it was always the same thing day in and day out. Either he was assigned to the pick or to the wagons. Brutal punishments were given out to those who didn’t work, and as a result to this Rothgar has no right ear, as it was cut of after he had tipped a wagon. And parts of his left ear had also been cut away, as the head of the mining site didn’t think one ear was enough punishment. Attempts to escape was there an even more brutal punishment for, as the head of the camp thought a man could work with only one eye, no ears and no nose. So many of the workers in the site had only one eye, and Rothgar couldn’t understand why, until he saw one who attempted to flee got the punishment carried out.

One night, when Rothgar was 11 years old, the chief of the site was in a very bad mood, and because Rothgar happened to walk past him then he was dragged into the chief’s room, and was beaten almost to death by the chief and two of his men. The last things Rothgar saw from that night, was the faces on the three persons, and they was burnt into his memory for always. Now the cup was filled for Rothgar. He waited until his wound had healed fairly well, and then sneaked out one night from the barracks where the workers slept. He broke up the storage to the mining equipment and took two large knifes and a pick and began walking to the residence of the chief of the site. As he burst into the room, he sliced the stomach up on the first person in there, quickly advancing towards the second and with a swift blow with the pick he split the mans skull. The last person alive now was the chief. Rothgar grabbed the man’s tongue and with the knife he cut it of, and tossed it into a corner. The anger was madness in Rothgars eyes. He lifted the man up and placed him upon the desk and with a quick cut he split the stomach of the man, and ripped his guts out. The chief screamed in pain so Rothgar stepped back, and drove the knife deep into the face of the man, who instantly stopped screaming, of the simple reason that he was dead. Rothgar lifted the corpse up and on a nail on the wall where the coat of the Chief hanged he took one end up the guts and hanged it on the nail, leaving the chief hanging around one feet above the ground in his guts.

Then Rothgar quickly ran out. He waited in the darkness until the chiefs death was discovered and all the guards of the camp was busy with looking at the sight, he sneaked out in the night. He walked for days and night, eating or drinking nothing. His life force was almost gone, when an old man found him lying on the grass in a clearing. The old man took Rothgar to a sloop, and went across it. And thats his story, made possible my the use of a bit of magic and a patient scribe.

Signed: Feldor the Scribe. *A large R is etched upon the paper*

 

Trog

Class: Barbarian
Race: Unknown

Extremely weary from his latest battle, Trog sat on the steps at Town Hall to rest. While resting, he was approached by a very short, thin man wearing wiry glasses. He approached Trog and said, "My name is Alexander the Scribe. Are you Trog?". Trog did not look at the man, but responded, "Yes, I am. What do you want?" Alexander stated, "It has been requested of me to inscribe your history onto this scroll as I have of many other Heroes of Nexus." Trog looked at Alexander and let out a small growl which startled Alexander and he backed off a little. Trog then said, "Well, I will not yell my life story to you. If you want to know about Trog, come sit down here." and motioned for Alexander to take a seat next to him. "Please make this quick as I will be needed in battle again shortly.", Trog grumbled. "Yes, I will be quick and thanks for taking the time to help me with my task.", Alexander said. "Please tell me anything you can about your years growing up, your family, and what it takes to be a Hero of Nexus", Alexander quietly said.

"Well, growing up in the Wastes was a hard life indeed. It was made even harder by not having parents. My mother died giving birth to me and my father, Bandar, was also a Hero of Nexus and spent all of his time defending Nexus from the goblins. He never let me set foot near Nexus because of the extreme danger and I never saw him because of this. When I did see him, he was always in a rush and we had little time to spend together. He didn't teach me much. All that I learned came from the human family that raised me. They taught me to speak, to write, to read, and most importantly, to fight. My human father was too a barbarian, although smallish by barbarian standards. Let me put it to you this way. He did not impart fear in his enemies because of his size. It was the amazing strength he had in that smaller body that eventually, but usually much too late, put the fear into his enemies. He taught me everything he knew. He trained me for the day I would come to Nexus and help defend this city from the goblin horde."

Trog paused for a moment and suggested they take this conversation elsewhere. They both stood up and headed to Kalim's Tavern for a drink and to finish the interview. As they entered the tavern, the local citizens greeted Trog with a cheer and a smile. Trog sat at a table in the corner and ordered a couple of the stoutest ales. As they waited for their drinks, he continued his story.

"I will never forget the day he brought me to Nexus. Passing over of the Crystal Mountains was a very challenging adventure. Besides the bitter cold, we ran into many, how should I put this, less than hospitable creatures. We had to fight our way to Nexus and little did I know then, I would have to fight savagely and consistently to protect Nexus. It did not take me long to make some friends. I was thrown into the fire so to speak immediately. The goblin horde had come up to the Eastern Gates of Nexus and had to be dealt with. This was my first true test since arriving in Nexus. I was grouped with a bunch of other Heroes and we made our assault against the massed enemies. The battle was vicious. There were many casualties on both sides, but luckily the goblins suffered the worst and we were able to beat them back away from the gate. My first test was a success and a much needed confidence booster for myself. These Heroes I now call my friends. You want to know what it takes to be a Hero. It takes a lot of time, pride, and dedication to the protection of this fair city. It takes a willingness for you to sacrifice yourself for the safety of others. I have thrown myself into situations that would be considered suicide to help save fellow Heroes. I would not hesitate to do it again. As a matter of fact..". Trog paused as the barmaid set the drinks down on the table. Trog took one large gulp of the drink and emptied it. He looked at Alexander and continued, "As I was saying, I must be heading out now. I am needed for another battle. I hope this will help bring an end to your task."

With that, Trog stood, shook Alexander's hand and headed for the door. As Trog left for battle, Alexander jotted down the the last of his notes, finished his drink, and then headed for the library to file the scroll with all the others.

 

Uta

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

In this house, a child is crying. Her whimpers are muffled in the back of her throat, wrapped in darkness and swallowed whole. They curdle in the fist of her stomach, shaking and shivering her body despite the tight grip of her arms around her knees. The dark walls soak up her tears, curling protectively around this unclaimed child. Her cheek presses against the damp wood with bruising force, drawing strength to trap her hiccups and gasps into stillness.

In this house, two people are singing. The man's voice is the deep rumbling of mountains moving, felt from the base of the spine, just barely at the edge of hearing. The woman's voice is smooth as a warm summer night, rich with the scent of woodsmoke on the breeze. Together, they weave and blend, braiding like rising threads of smoke or the strands of a ribbon-tree. The song is a wordless one, spelling its story in textures and memories, building into the warmth of secure arms and the tickle of soft fur against a small nose.

The song flexes and turns, dancing between the two singers as though controlled by one mind, one heart. A small sound, the wind bending a branch to a window, or perhaps a child's sigh. The woman breaks off the song, which tumbles to the earth in pieces, shattered. She stands with the weariness of long practice, but the man places a restraining hand on her arm. He goes in her place, stepping ponderously into the other room of the house. The fire has burnt out in the last three hours of singing, he notices, the last embers completely cold. His jaw tightens as he fumbles on a shelf for flint and striker. As the flames flicker feebly into life, a small shadow in the corner becomes even smaller. Resignedly, he throws his hand into the darkness, connecting with his knuckles. A dull thump against the wall shakes down a fine layer of dust. The woman calls questioningly from the other room. As he rejoins her to prepare for the midwinter concert, a spill of darkness begins spreading to cover the floor.

A snow-covered track sleeps in whiteness. Isolated snowflakes drift down through the night, gentle, loving, numbing. Their sweet kisses dull pain and knowledge, hardening into a protective shell around the child who was told to sit, here on this log, until her parents come for her. As frost catches in her eyelashes, the scene sparkles with magic and mystery, a fairyland of dreams. The footprints of merrymakers returning home after the concert have long since filled up, so that she seems to be the first to mar this perfect world with her presence. Stray sparks of light on frost remind her of the bright beauty of sprites in the jars of her neighbors, before blurring together into white.

"... See chameleon, lying there in the sun, all things to everyone, run, run away." The voice is flat and badly tuned, the words unfamiliar. She irritably tries to block out the nasal sound and inadvertently sucks in a gust of sharply cold air. The ice coating the fresh cuts on her face crack, bringing stinging pain and the memories of other recent bruising and swelling back to demanding life. The voice fades down the trail, towards the distant barbaric city of the Nexus, still returning the jaunty refrain, "Run, run away ..."

She draws breath to call out, to make a sound, and finds that she doesn't know how. Her voice flutters and dies in her chest before ever reaching her throat. It's heavy, heavy, blocking her efforts to croak out a barely-remembered name. She heaves to her feet in a panic, scattering shards of pink-tinged ice in a flurry around her. The singer has passed into silence, but his footprints fall in carefully measured treads in the snow before her, slowly filling up with snow. She turns and thumps hard on the log she was sitting on, nearly reducing it to splinters. Snow settles inside, leaving a tiny dark opening at the top. There she leaves her voice, her memories, her pain behind, guarded by cold and darkness. Then lightly, lightly she turns, and follows the fading tracks down the trail.

 

Vladmis

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

Born in the ogre village of Kelbarn, a land far off from Nexus, Vladmis was raised by his father and what he called his dozen mothers. His father, Ralkvar, was the leader of his village, and commanded much respect in his town. His true mother having never been revealed to him, Vladmis never took up much respect to women. He was being groomed to take over for his father at the early age of 4 should that day arise, and the villagers were quite impressed by Vladmis' incredible strength.

Ralkvar, always too easy on his son, never took much notice to his son's lack of intelligence or lack of reading ability. Vladmis spent much time competing with the locals in wrestling matches and stone throwing contests where his physical prowess was intimidating even in his youth. Vladmis never truly learned respect for others as he was always the largest and most skilled at everything he did. There was no true competition. In his spare time, Vladmis spent time taking care of and playing games with the children of the town, whom he truly enjoyed being around and watching over. He also spent much time carving pictures of the lands' creatures into the walls of the city's protective barrier.

Though Vladmis had never realized, the town of Kelbarn was constantly under pressure from the goblin hoardes that were always in search of small villages to pillage. Kelbarn had remained a secret to nearly everyone nearby, and had always provided for itself. One night, Vladmis decided to run out and hunt deer in the field just outside of the town, across the river his father warned him never to cross. Upon returning, he heard some rustling in the bushes behind him and started running back towards the defense towers and main gate of the town. Vladmis yelled up to the guard and pointed out to the woods as the guard fired arrows in the direction of rustling leaves and swaying branches. The guards called to Ralkvar and informed him of the atrocity. He ran to his mantle and grabbed his mace, and headed towards the gate. Looking to his son, he notices Vladmis' pants, wet to the knees and pulls his mace under Vladmis' chin in a sign of warning, though he spoke no words. Vladmis knew he would get his.

The guards yelled "I got one!" as Ralkvar ran out the gates with a couple of his best soldiers, and went out hunting down the remaining men. A few hours later, Vladmis stood at the gates to see his father and one guard return, panting heavily; the guard bleeding from his leg as an arrow shot through his knee. Ralkvar growled angrily towards his son, and said "I warned you never to cross that river... Perhaps I should have taught you a lesson on regret sooner than this." With that, he turns to the guards and says "Prepare for the worst. One of them escaped, and will be bringing an army upon us by next nightfall. I will inform everyone to prepare. Vladmis, you will stand guard tonight in the tower." With that, he turned away and started towards his home. He stops for a moment, turns and grunts at his son, "Not to worry son. Just prepare plenty of them stones." and he walked away.

Vladmis spent that night sitting there, staring out into the woods, wondering what things he had brought upon himself, and if he would see it to a good end. The townsfolk had already heard of what had happened, and were yelling obscenities up to him in his tower with the other guards. "Could I be to blame?" he thought to himself, as he sat a 200 pound stone on his lap. The rest of the night was extremely quiet, and even the frogs didn't let out their usual "ribbits" and the corn leaves didn't rustle. The silence drove Vladmis crazy as his thoughts, though few, ran through his mind.

The following morning, Vladmis climbed down from his post and headed home. He crashed down on his bed and fell asleep, not thinking about the consequences of his actions from the previous night...He just wanted to show he could catch a deer barehanded.

With a thunderous, crackling smash upon the gates, Vladmis was stirred from his slumber - The goblins made a day attack. Vladmis rose to his feet and lept out the door to see large amounts of glowing magicks being projected at the gates, and large splinters of wood went flying across the roads. Ralkvar growled to his son "Get the children to safety!" and turned towards the gates with a hundred of his men scrambling to gather their weapons. Vladmis ran to the small shack where the children were playing, but before he got there, he noticed a large dragon fly by overhead. It's red scales were gleaming in the sunlight, and it was truly beautiful. In a matter of seconds, the dragon let loose a powerful flame and torched the shack full of children and many nearby homes, including his father's. Vladmis, in a panic, ran into the burning building, hoping to see his small friends still alive. What he saw he would never forget, as he saw the children burn alive before his very eyes, and the shrilling screams echoed through his mind - a sound he'd not soon forget.

As the dragon circled, Vladmis ran towards the gates, trying to warn of the fires that would soon seer the flesh of many of his father's comrades, and maybe even Ralkvar himself. As he stopped at the gates, he yelled "B..B..Beeg..d.d..dr.. dragon!" and pointed to the sky behind him. The villagers and soldiers, in a fit of rage as the gates before them crumbled, screamed at Vladmis many more obscenities, and blamed him for their inevitable fate. As they threw stones at him and tormented him, his father turned for a moment and yelled "Run!" and pointed towards the mountains to the south. Vladmis stopped for a second, and looked to his father who turned away from him, and then ran off after a rock smacked him clean in the chest and bounced down. He ran towards the wall near a small cart, and used it to bounce himself over the wall by throwing a stone to the other end. He ran his heart out then up into the mountains.

Twenty minutes had passed before Vladmis ever stopped running and decided to turn around to see his village burn to the ground. Men could be seen running, engulfed in flames, through the town as they fell to their knees, and then stopped moving completely after their blood curdling cries ceased to be heard. Many men could be seen taken in as prisoners of war to the goblin soldiers which had pillaged his town and set it ablaze. Vladmis could only hope that his father was one of them.

Vladmis stayed up and watched as the last flames smoked out and clenched his fist in rage as he knew that it all was his own fault. After punching a tree down a cliff, Vladmis headed back down the mountains, in search of some place he may be able to call home...and one day effectively defend. Due to his lack of intelligence, Vladmis swore to only speak in [ More ]times of dire need, or in the event that he was educated and taught to read and write effectively. He also swore to never turn his back on his friends, and to always lend a helping hand to those he could trust or those in need. Revenge was also in the back of his mind for his father's fate.

Along his travels, Vladmis met a traveler who spoke fluent common, but was of a race he had not seen before. He was quite small, and his pointy ears made him chuckle. He made mention of a land called Nexus, and told Vladmis how he might find this magical city. Vladmis thanked the man with a small handshake, and headed along his way with a stern look of determination upon his face.

 

Volker

Class: Barbarian
Race: Ogre

As a youngster, Volker used to play with his pet-bird, Lightning, who was his only friend. All the other kids in the village where he lived teased Volker alot, because he was a little clumsy and ugly. One day when Volker was about fifteen years old, he decided that he had had enough of everybody in the village. So, he packed his belongings, which were a large wooden club that he put in his backpack, and a ringmail tunic that he had made himself and that he wore over his body. When he left the village to seek new adventures, he seemed to be a real savage-looking ogre. Of course he brought Lightning with him.

When he had wandered for a couple of days, he suddenly saw two creatures, that he knew as goblins, that were attacking a lonesome man. Volker emerged there, with Lightning on his left shoulder, while drawing his club. He tried to chase the goblins away, but they didn't leave. The whole thing became a tough fight between the two goblins and Volker. He bashed one of them to the ground, while he noticed the man hitting the other goblin on the knee with his staff. The goblin bent over, screaming in pain. The man saw his chance and hit it in the back. It fell to ground and stayed there, not moving.

Volker then asked the man:
-What was that all about?
-They tried to rob me. Thanks for yer help, the man answered.
-Oh, well, no problem, Volker said with a grin in his face.
The man looked around and said quickly:
-They never come this few. We better hurry away from here, before more of them come!
-Yep, Volker answered as they rushed away.
When they had gotten away a bit, Volker paused and asked:
-What is you name?
-Cervantes. What is your name then, he asked.
-Volker.
-Where are you headed Volker, Cervantes asked as they started walking.
-I don’t know actually, Volker replied.
Cervantes stopped for a while and said:
-May I suggest that you go to the city of Nexus.
-Hum, is it a nice place, Volker asked sounding a little bit excited.
-Well, yes, Cervantes answered quickly.
-Oki then. Will you take me there, Volker asked even more excited.
-Sure, Cervantes replied with a big smile and a nod.
-How long time will it take to get there, Volker asked.
-About three or four days, Cervantes said.
Volker nodded and smiled.

After about three and a half days of wandering and talking, they finally arrived to Nexus.

-What a big city, Volker said to Cervantes.

Cervantes nodded in reply.

-Look Lightning, here we might live for a while, Volker said pointing at the big gates.

Lightning screached in reply.

The first thing the two and Lightning did was to go to the tavern and get something to drink. There, Volker got introduced to several citizens of Nexus.

Today he knows those and a lot of other people pretty well. Since that day Volker has stayed in Nexus, with some exceptions for smaller trips outside the gate.

Bards

Most of these histories were taken first hand while the Hero still lived. Doubtless all are long dead by now.

Ashara

Class: Bard
Race: Human

Well, I have been outrunning a scribe for days now, and I think he is getting close to catching me, so I've decided I'll beat him to the punch. For some reason the Library of Nexus has decided they want to know what I did before I came to Nexus. So, to please them, and to give that poor, slow-running scribe a break, I will tell you, the whole, horrible truth.

Being a bard, I naturally prefer telling stories of others than about myself, especially since my past prior to Nexus is rather mundane in comparison. So consider yourselves fairly warned...

My parents, members of a the Bardic Troupe, The Marvelous Mendlers, have traveled everywhere possible around the City of All Races performing. Granted, that is not very far, so when I was accidentally conceived, it seemed natural for them to choose Nexus as the place to raise their daughter. Shortly after the Nexus Heroes freed Rymek from the clutches of the Goblin Hordes, my parents chose to retire from performing, settling in the newly restored fishing city. So there I grew up, living a rather sheltered and protected life, surrounded by fish, fishermen and endless stories of my parents' travels.

At the age of eighteen, I decided that I would use my well-practiced bardic abilities to entertain the Nexus Troops. One thing led to another, and soon I was drawn into protecting the Great City. There I met and fought alongside some of the greatest Heroes known to Nexus, such as Kalishar, Lordewok, Gifford, Renton, Tyrin, Dunsel, Ranamoth, Khadgar and of course, all those still working to protect Nexus. I have trained some of the most well-renowned bards in Nexus. I have witnessed the Births and Rebirths of the Gods Paelina, Andaras, Erisar and Dilanis and I can recall Judgements passed by Malakai and Chaos created by Novind.

Through my short life in and around Nexus, I have seen things that would horrify and amaze and I have innumerable tales to go along with each experience. However, to reveal them here would be so unfulfilling. I remain a faithful Nexusian, living with my husband, Pious and my children, Eithen and Kiara, with their grandparents nearby. So tis not far to go should you seek to hear a tale of adventure, a story of sorrow or a song of joy. And by hearing it aloud, you will be all the better....entertained.

 

Dragonslayer

Class: Bard
Race: Human

Recently, a Renis scribe approached me and asked if he might record my story, with particular interest in the origin of my name. It seems that since my arrival, many have wondered about how I came to be called Dragonslayer. He then told me that there are very few bards in the Nexus, and no bard has ever agreed to have their story recorded. I was honored by his request, and told him the following story of my life, explaining that this was the defining moment in my existence.

I will tell the story of my life and how I came to be known as Dragonslayer. I am new to your Nexus and hope that my skills will be of value here. All of my life, up to this point, has been spent in another city several fortnights from here. This city was known as Safehavenshire to all of it's inhabitants.

This city was guarded by a pair of white dragons, who had befriended the original inhabitants of our fair city. Yes, it is true, we lived in peaceful coexistence with a pair of dragons. They protected the city from goblins and other marauders, and we were sworn to stay away from them and their lair. Small amounts of treasure were left for them, and in return our adventurers were allowed safe passage.

My formative years were spent learning the ways of magic from my mother, Sapphire, and the skills of fighting from my father, Theseus. I spent all of my free time at our music academy, watching the performers, and learning all that they could teach me about the performing arts. Our walled city was quite safe, and the people were happy and productive. Goods made in our city were known for their beauty and lasting value. Visitors came from all over to shop in our markets and place orders with our craftsman.

My father was one of these craftsman, and had a wide ranging reputation as a maker of unrivaled armor and weapons. The adventurers of our fair city all wore some of finest armor and used the most deadly weapons ever produced, thanks to the skill of my father and the magic of my mother. Together they produced enchanted objects the likes of which had never been seen.

One morning several years ago, a warrior came to my father and attempted to commission a suit of armor made from materials he carried with him. Outside the shop, the Warrior pulled back a tarp that covered his wagon, revealing the body of a small white dragon! He wanted the scales formed into armor and a shield, and the tail made into a spear. In horror, Theseus ordered the man from the city, and had several of our adventurers accompany him to be certain that a good distance was put between the warrior and our fair city.

Several miles outside the city gates, our guardian dragons discovered the body of their offspring in the wagon. Thinking our citizens had taken part in the killing, they attacked and killed the entire party. Their mournful roars could be heard in the city, and all of the inhabitants began to arm themselves, for they knew what was coming next.

Theseus ordered me to take Sapphire and all of the women and children to a secret cave in the mountains outside the city and to remain there until we were summoned by another city dweller. Although begging to stay with the adults, I was sent away. Soon after we left the city, we heard the sounds of a pitched battle. The roars of the dragons told us that although they were obviously wounded, they were destroying our city and all of it's inhabitants.

After seeing my charges to safety, I sneaked out of the cave and made my way back to the city, not knowing that Sapphire had followed me. Arriving at what was once the east gate of the city, I gazed upon a horrific scene. The streets were littered with the dead and dying. The bodies of many citizens and one dragon were on the main street. Moving through the shadows, I made it to my fathers shop. Inside I found Theseus badly wounded, and in need of help. Summoning what magic I could, I healed him enough that he could move about.

At this point, the scribe knew that I continued this story with hatred in my heart, and sadness in my soul. To fully honor my parents, I agreed to continue.

Theseus gave me his best armor and weapons and told me to follow him out of the shop. Just then, Sapphire arrived and using all of her magic skills, cast an invisibility spell on me. Outside on the street, we came upon the other dragon, who was badly wounded. Seeing only my parents, the dragon instantly attacked them. Theseus was able to deliver a near mortal blow before he fell, mortally wounded. Sapphire was able to cast a stun spell on the dragon with her dying breath. In a rage, I was able to inflict a mortal wound on the dragon before the invisibility spell wore off.

I concluded my story by saying, The few survivors who had witnessed the death of the dragon began to call me Dragonslayer.

After bringing the women and children back to the city, the name stuck with me. I stayed in the city long enough to see the city rebuilt, but was never again happy there. Leaving on my eighteenth birthday, I wandered the countryside for many months, until I came upon the nexus.

The scribe then asked my reason for remaining in the Nexus, and wanted to know the name my parents had given me. I explained that I hope to rebuild my spirit here, and to really earn the name that I now use. My birth name no longer matters, for my parents died so that I might live. I continue to use the name Dragonslayer to more fully honor my courageous parents and the sacrifice they made that fateful day.

 

Fay

Class: Bard
Race: Sprite

Born and raised in the forests south of nexus and living in close proximity to a goblin-scouting base, Fay was witness to many a clash between her people and the goblins.

From the time she was old enough to understand their telling, she has always been fascinated to hear of the tales told about the heroic deeds and bravery of those that valiantly defended her home.

So persistently would she sneak from her bed at night and hide around the camp fires to hear of these tales, that her parents eventually gave up punishing her altogether.

If such a tale were in the telling then Fay would be somewhere close at hand, quiet as a mouse but wide eyed with wonder.

She quickly knew all the tales of the legendary deeds of the village hero Atziluth and swore she would one day be just like him and fight against the hordes for the glory and protection of her home and kin. As soon as she came of age, without a moments hesitation, she gathered up her savings and possessions and journeyed to falcion with dreams of joining the fighters guild and honoring the memory of her life long hero and role model, Atziluth.

However this was not to be. Upon arriving in Falcion she was totally crest fallen to hear that nobody had ever heard of her idol. not a single glint of recognition did she find in the blank unresponding eyes of those to who she would mention his name. Atziluth ! the legendary hero. bane of goblin hordes and savior of the whole forest ! but alas it was futile and before long she was overcome with disappointment and doubt.

How could this be? was he really as heroic as the legends say? did he really achieve all those wondrous things. if so surely his name would be known.

If not then how could she bring honor to such as him in a place where so many did not even care for the company of sprites let alone their history and traditions and so it was that with her bubble burst and no clear way forward she wandered the streets not having the heart or even the faith to bother approaching the guild or the trainers

Instead would waste her time and savings by moping around in the local tavern, burdening the kindly bar tender with her tales of woe and shattered dreams.

Until one day a curiously dressed figure of elven face disturbed her shrouded little world of self pity with a cheery song about the deeds of valor and courage of the participants of some battle long forgotten. This figure sang with such passion and conviction that for the first time since leaving her home, once again she felt the excitement and anticipation that she used to feel when hearing the tales of her forgotten idol.

After a long soul bearing talk with this elf, the answer struck her. She would become a Bard ! she would learn to sing and tell the stories that she so loved. If none her knew the name Atziluth now, then they soon would. Of this she would make sure. she would right this wrong and soon his name would be on the tongue of every Falcion and Nexus folk alike. So now she trains hard as bard and recites her inspiring verses to warm the hearts of the heroes of nexus and it is her ambition to one day pen the chronicles of Atziluth and have them immortalized for ever in the archives of her guild.

 

Harpua

Class: Bard
Race: Half-Elf

"You mean I'm stuck here?" The unkempt adolescent shot a well-practiced glare of incredulity at the port master. "Aye, no-one leaves Falcion until they've completed their basic training," responded the burly seaman behind the desk. His pen paused in mid-stroke on the ledger. "Say, how did you get here if you didn't even know that..."

But by the time he looked up, Harpua was gone.

By preference, Harpua was not usually unkempt. Nor was he really as young as he appeared: he was soon approaching his twenty-fifth year. But the moderately pointed ears under his coal black mop of hair were not the only traits he had acquired from his elvish father. Enduring youth was another one. As was the lightness of step necessary to sneak onto the "refugee ship" in Rymek. Apparently, though, he hadn't inherited enough cleverness to realize he was on a ship full of adventurers-in-training.

Harpua contemplated this as he headed back toward the main gates of Falcion, cursing his doubly bad luck. Still, he reasoned, this was far preferable to a goblin popping out of a bush and chopping one's head off. Harpua shuddered at the memory of fellow refugees, friends, who had met their fate in this way. The thought alone was enough to drive a man to drink.

"Hmmm. The Sleepy Dwarf Tavern," Harpua muttered to himself as he wandered into a dead-end street.

Hours later, a bleary-eyed Harpua looked even more haggard. "Hey Doc, have you heard this one? So Trista walks into a bar..."

"I don't believe the gods would appreciate your irreverent reference to their names," cautioned Doc Daniel.

"Trista wouldn't mind at all! You know, all for a good laugh?"

"Besides, you told that one already tonight."

"Oh." Harpua paused for a moment. "Well, in that case, another stout."

"What seems to be troubling you, friend." Harpua studied the careworn face across the bar. It had been a long time since he had ever been asked that.

"Why, nothing, my good man," he lied. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, for one thing, I hate to see my brew go to waste when you can't tell your arse from your elbow. I could be serving you water now, and you wouldn't know the difference." Doc smiled kindly. "But you look troubled. Perhaps talking about your troubles with a trained professional would help."

It had been a long time, indeed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rumor had it that Deyna of Talistok, a little farmtown bordering the Eldane Forest, had a thing for the taut, silky smooth bodies of elven men. Rumors turned to scandal when she married Richard the Stablemaster. Richard could claim that all the time spent around stud horses had made him more virile than ever, but the gossiping wives knew better: seven months was just too short for a healthy baby to be carried to term. In any case, the issue was quickly laid to rest, as the midwife emerged from the couple's home, wiping her hands and mournfully announcing a stillbirth.

As the town of Talistok shared the grief of young Richard and Deyna, only one man actually noticed the cliched babe in swaddling clothes, laid at the base of a tree in the middle of the wood. The man's name was Garrick the Druid, although he wasn't a druid. He just happened to like living alone in the forest.

A ex-military man with a penchant for literature, he earned his dishonorable discharge by challenging an order on moral grounds. His unprecedented actions stigmatized him, and he banished himself to the woods, away from the people that disgusted him so. But for all his uprighteousnes, education, and good intentions, Garrick had still never learned how to deal with people, let alone an abandoned bastard half-elf baby. He named the baby Harpua after the hero of an obscure ancient elven epic poem. But after the first few days, the novelty of the name had worn off, and the realities of parentage had set in. From that point on, Garrick treated Harpua as his young protege, with all the attendant expectations of the son of a man so dignified as himself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Harpua hated having to sneak out like this, just to get a few miserable books. Sure, Garrick had taught him to read and write well enough, and Harpua picked it up with ease. But the tomes of literature and philosophy held absolutely no interest for him. Despite Garrick's best efforts, Harpua snubbed the dusty volumes in favor of the few works of poetry and fiction he could lay his hands on. Now he was forced to resort like a common thief to skulking off to town to acquire whatever harlequin novels or bawdy comedies he could find at market. If Garrick only knew, he would have a fit. Harpua sighed as he tightened his hood around his head. Although the weather invited him to soak in the sunshine and feel the breeze through his hair, he dared not reveal his heritage with his telltale ears. Harpua had heard the local gossip, and did not want old stories resurfacing.

Talistok was a right miserable town. If it were not for the occasional merchant from Nexus. surely Harpua would lose his mind. Ah, Nexus. The mention of the city evoked images of milk and honey. The freedom, the arts, the people were all shadows in Harpua's head, but these shadows seemed much brighter than his present murky environs. Emerging from his reverie, he cursed softly and muttered to himself. He had to be back in time for his daily lessons.

Time had proved an ever-widening gap between Harpua and his surrogate father. As Harpua's half-elvish blood matured slowly, Garrick's aged quickly, making him even more churlish. Harpua had recently forsaken academic study in favor of fencing lessons, which would have suited Garrick fine if not for Harpua's novel-induced flamboyance. Garrick now chided his protege daily for his lack of discipline.

Twenty-two years was enough. After one especially severe reprimand, Harpua stormed off, vowing to seek his fortune, and never to return.

This was ill-begotten decision for someone with such little affinity for the woods. Harpua had always refused to accompany the old man in his nature walks. And as his lessons lasted all day, it was evening when he stormed off, so inevitably he got lost on the path to town. The first night, he fended for himself alone in the forest, and awoke the next day little rested and all the worse for the wear.

Feeling dehydrated, he stumbled upon a pond in the woods. But the last thing on his mind when he bent towards the water for a drink was the water itself, but the sensual nymph bathing in it. The young elven woman looked calmly at him as he knelt before the pond. Rather than bolting in fear, she waded slowly to the opposite edge of the pond, never taking her eyes from him. She stepped ashore and deftly dressed herself. Without a word, she watched Harpua as he drank greedily from the waters that had been closer to her body as he dared wish. Then she was gone.

Harpua sprinted after her with renewed vigor. But she hadn't gone far. She sat in a tree not far into the forest, and tittered as he ran past.

"Where do you think you're going, stranger?" she mocked him, flashing an enchanting smile.

"Why, I saw a vision of beauty at the pond. About five feet tall, long violet hair, and the most mesmerizing eyes. Did you see which way she went?" Harpua replied with a grin. He gazed at the elf intently as he said this, but he was describing her from memory. Their momentary encounter was already etched into his heart.

"I believe I know a girl filling that description," the mysterious woman flirted back with a lilt. "Follow me."

Her voice was a siren's call, her words an arrow shot through his heart. Suddenly nature walks weren't so bad. Harpua began walking through the woods each day with his newfound love. Her name was Telaphthimaris, but she went by the more easily pronouncable name Tela. Her beauty was consummate, her soul angelic, and her enchantment with Harpua as complete as his for her.

They spent nearly every moment together, except for the rare occasion that her community convened for some special occasion. The local elvish community was loosely organized but tightly knit, affording little tolerance for strangers. As Tela's ward, Harpua was an grudgingly accepted guest. But with Tela's love, he knew only happiness. While she gave so much to him, all he had to offer was the spark of his wit. He delighted her with the fruits of frivolous reading, weaving magical and sometimes off-color tales. As they lay together ensconced in their own world, he would croon softly until they fell asleep in each other's arms.

But this story, like so many others in Nexus, was not fated to have a happy ending. The seeds of love had been sown in the foul quagmire of the goblin invasion. And the Hordes advanced mercilessly, each day closing in on their secluded forest. The elves knew the danger: they all prepared sedulously for their final defensive. Tela, of course, trained alongside her clansmen, and Harpua would follow dutifully along. But it quickly became clear that despite his tight bond with Tela, he felt only the loosest affiliation with the rest of them. So while the the elven warriors patronized Harpua, and smirked occasionally at his flashy swordplay, they left him when serious business was afoot. And this suited everybody just fine.

When the day finally came, it was nothing like what anyone expected. The elves had been expecting a hurricane, and instead, a mere drizzle of goblins rained upon them. The hawk-eyed archers. picked them, off, one by one. Tela was in the second line of archers, and Harpua snuck away from the reserves to come see her, under the pretext of bringing her her lucky quiver.

"I don't have a lucky quiver," she chided playfully. But she bade him stay, and they joked merrily about their imminent victory.

And like that, it happened. Swarms of drow and trolls arose from nowhere, as revenants from the earth itself. Blades and arrows erupted everywhere, blooming like horrid crimson flowers from the bodies of elves left and right. An eerie silence belied the massacre around them. As Tela shot her arrows futilely, Harpus stood frozen. Nothing had prepared him for what he was witnessing. The martial slaves dragged his comrades down mercilessly after the initial onslaught, saving their victims for a fate similar to their own. Harpua watched his dear Tela brutally clubbed and dragged off, and he did the only thing he could. He fled.

Two months later, Harpua was still fleeing. Months of vain searching for a safe haven had accomplished naught but make him see goblins behind every bush and boulder. He trudged across barren farmland with an assortment of other refugees. There were a few elves who had escaped the butchery: Devagnithia who had to be helped to walk now, and Peilonas who had lost her graceful fingers to gangrene. There was the family from Talistok, who claimed to be the sole survivors of the town, and 'oh, won't you please take us with you? We promise we won't burden you...' But alas, no Tela. Harpua's head swam in a sea of garish purples and greens, but he knew if only he could survive one more day, he would see the stout walls of Nexus keeping the goblins at bay...

Jerkiness. As his head bounced painfully against a wooden surface, Harpua tried to regain his senses. The clopping of hooves against a pounded dirt path. The briny smell of the sea. Fuzzy warmth. Ugh, the reeking of a goat's skin. He was in a wagon, wrapped odoriferously but snugly in a the hide of a goat. Through the haze of exhaustion, he heard the word "Rymek" uttered. Aching, but safe. Yes, all would be well, he thought. If a coward such as he were safe, surely Tela would be safe as well. No form of slavery could break her indomitable will. Happily, he sunk back into a blissful dreamworld replete with flowers and birds and those trees he hated so much.

Perhaps he should have stayed in that dreamworld. The illusion of happiness is so much more convincing there.

****************

"Well, that's quite a story." The barkeep wiped spilled spirit off the bar, away from the encroaching slivers of dawn sunlight that filtered in through the windows. "A tale of triumph over all odds. Seems to me you have the markings of a fine warrior. Maybe you'll find your love again, gods willing."

"Warrior? Are you crazy? I didn't spend two months desperately dodging goblins just to hand them my life on a platter!" Harpua sputtered.

Doc's expression turned stern for the first time. "If you truly believe she's still out there, how can you fear for such a small thing as your life? Or is your hope that she's alive truly a delusion you maintain, just so you can go on leading your miserable life?" Doc sighed deeply. "I do not agree with you: you are not a coward for fleeing when you did. You were captive to your instincts. But you are on Falcion now, the island for training warriors. If in your full capacity to reason, and with your oppurtunity to sally forth and reclaim what you have lost, you still cower and drown yourself in beer, then perhaps you are a coward."

Doc's challenge rang true in Harpua's soul. "You're absolutely right. I must pay pennance for my grievous errors." Harpua pounded the bar, a fire lit in his eyes to match the one in his bowels, the pounding to match the one in his head.

"That a boy!" Doc beamed in joy and pride at his contribution to the fight against the Goblin Hordes.

The following day, his resolve was tempered, but the bar tab was still there. Harpua remembered Doc Daniel's last words to him as he walked into the Apprenticing Center: "I hear they give you 250 gold marks when you sign up."

And so Nexus welcomed to its ranks a drunken, wise-cracking, guilt-ridden, love-stricken bard working to pay off a bar tab, gods help us all.

 

Imini

Class: Bard
Race: Half Elf

As always, Imini Vu came awake instantly. One moment she was completely oblivious, the next she was excruciatingly aware of herself and her surroundings. She had always been this way; some things didn't bear lingering through.

She levered herself up on an elbow and surveyed the quiescent form beside her. White sheets, white skin - her dusky skin looked starkly obvious against the cool white of his body, his bedding. His skin was warm, though - warmer than her own. His pale golden hair lay soft against her shoulder.

She didn't remember his name; she made a point of never remembering their names. She did remember how his piercing blue eyes had followed her, drawing her attention repeatedly to that lean, refined face in the crowd. Most of the eyes in the audience were on her mother, still graceful and light in her movements despite the lines beginning to crease her cheeks. Only one pair of eyes noticed the young fiddler accompanying her mother's dance. There was always one pair. His invitation was a murmured compliment on her music, the brush of his fingers against her wrist - and she accepted.

The silk sheets slid luxuriously across her skin as she rose silently from the bed. She shivered in the sudden chill of air against her bare skin and dressed quickly. Turning to go, she glanced back once to make sure she'd left no trace of her presence. Ignoring the coins on the nightstand, she left, closing the heavy door softly behind her.

Walking briskly down the still-foggy cobbled streets, Imini wiped the settling dew from her eyelashes. Her step quickened as she reached the outskirts of town where her band had set up camp for the night. Though she never brought men to her own little waggon, every morning she rushed home for the little filtre she'd learned to make. No innocent child would suffer for her actions.

As always, her mother was waiting outside her own waggon. She did not ask where Imini had been; she did not have that right. Her dark face was gray with weary concern. Concern that her daughter kept trying to hurt them both. Concern that Imini had no strong ties to anyone else in the band. Concern that soon enough there would be no-one to watch for her return in the morning.

As always, Imini passed her mother and entered her own waggon without a word. Imini was paying back the both of them in coin they understood. Imini saw no point in forming any bonds that time would only break. Imini waited for and dreaded the day when her mother's one claim on her would be broken, and she would be free. She would leave the band, she already knew. She had never let them include her in the family they formed. She would not have to watch another human slowly age and sicken and die while she remained unchanged. She had that much to thank her unknown elven father for. She had that much to curse him for.

 

Jazzmine

Class: Bard
Race: Sprite

Oh my lets see you want to know of my past? Well I have thirteen brothers and sisters. I'm the baby of the family, most of my siblings are boys, I only have two sisters. My eldest brother Lake was like my protector. I guess you could say he raised me. I come from a very well to do family of sprites, we were the richest family in our village and my parents were always very busy, helping others and such. They had a lot of responsibilities in the village. So Lake was always around. Not that I minded. Lake is a great prankster and he would take me with him when he played his little jokes, though he made sure I acted like a proper lady in front of the towns people. Lake is a good thirty years older than me. I mean we sprites are pregnant for two years with each child, and there is twelve kids between Lake and myself. Well when I was around thirty-two my parents became ill, they were very old by now so they were confined to their bedroom. They died in their sleep holding each other in their arms. Though I was heartbroken that my parents had died I thought it was very romantic that they had gone that way. My brother Lake became head of the house with his many responsibilities. I was becoming anxious and impatient to see new things. Many of the men in my village had their eyes on me, though if Lake had caught them he'd thump them a good one. In fact one of his friends kissed me when I was twenty and Lake beat him up. I told you my brother is very protective. My eldest sister Shelliia, Shelly to me, became very wild I would say, though I didn't know what she was doing all my siblings looked down at her, saying she was disgracing my family's name and disrespecting my parents. I guess I'm a bit naive. I was happy playing my pranks and spending as much time as I could with my brother and friends. Now don't get me wrong I love all my siblings very very much. Just Lake and I hold a very special bond. Fearing I would make some bad mistakes without his strict guidance my brother had noticed that I loved to tell stories to the children in our village. I would tell of the pranks and tricks my brother had pulled or planning to pull, or sometimes I'd make up an amusing story for them, everyonce in a while they'd hear of an adventure one of my brothers had been on. See most of the men in my family are fighters and such, very strong very swift. A few of my brothers have became thieves, though noble ones. My sisters have no profession, my other sister Rosie is happily married to a magey sprite. Shelly....well I don't know what she does. Anyway I'm getting off track, my brother noticing my love of stories, along with artistic talent, and my singing voice he went over his options. He called me to his office one day and told me that I would someday make my family proud of becoming the Lady of this house, but till I was old enough I was in jeapordy of losing my innocence and optimitism. He told me he was sending me to the city of Nexus to become a bardy. I was estatic I had always wanted to become a bardy but didn't think Lake would let me leave the house. I was quickly packed and ready to go, kissing and hugging all my siblings goodbye. Lake had arranged for a HUGE party to send me off. Everyone in the village had came, it was lovely and before it was over I was ready to go and make my family proud. Then I was off. I was quickly apprenticed in the city of Falcion with the title of jongleur. I dove into my studies, hunting and learning all I could of the bardic ways. When I had reached the third tier of my proffession I met the cutest sprite magey. He had the prettiest blue eyes and skin, even his frecklers across his face were cute, a dark blue! His hair was fire red and he had on these bright red mage robes with blue swirls topped off with a cap! He flew around the fountain of dreams happily! He was so cute! I could feel my heart thumping a mile a minute, and I'm not a shy girl. He flew right up to me and introduced himself, his name was Zany and he was a spritey magey. He began helping me learn more of my profession and even his, showing me how to make color illusions since I love colors so much. His last name is Rainbowleaf! Isn't that just cute!! Well I dove into my studies twice as hard now, not wanting to disapoint my family or my new boyfriend Zany. Soon we were engaged and I had learned enough of my profession I could leave the island of Falcion and journey into Nexus. I've been there ever since, though now I'm starting to plan my wedding, and everyone in all of Nexus is invited! If you don't mind bright colors that is.......

Jazzmine Leafus soon to be Rainbowleaf

 

Kathryn

Class: Bard
Race: Human

" Compared with many, I have led a rather dull life. I was born in a small fishing town along the coast. I was what would you would probably call a wild child. Almost as soon as I was able to walk, I would follow my two older brothers, Luke and Mark, everywhere they went. Although they probably didn't appreciate their baby sister tagging along with them, they never sent me away, and we had many merry adventures together. One day, not long after my seventh birthday, my brothers and I were climbing trees when the branch I was sitting on broke. I fell to the ground, and broke my leg. Although the village doctor patched me up, I was confined to my bed for several months.

Looking back, this was one of the important moments in my life, because it was at this time that I discovered my talent for music. Since I could not move around, my parents gave me a tambourine to amuse myself with. It was not long after that I began to compose little songs to sing, and I played my little tambourine all the time, nearly driving my family crazy, I think.

It did not take my parents long to realize that I had some talent for music, so I did not have to go to work fishing with my father and brothers when I was older. By the time I reached the age of 17, I realized I did not have much future as a musician in my tiny village, so I set off to find my fortune elsewhere.

I reached the Island of Falcion, and soon began my training as a Bard. A few months after my arrival, I met a charming young thief named Will. We soon became fast friends, though later I got the impression we would become more. As we both progressed in our respective guilds, our friendship grew, and continued after we reached the city of Nexus. Eventually, he courted me, and professed his love for me, and soon after we became engaged. Eventually, we were wed and have made a home together. Although our lives together have not been perfect, we love each other, and that is all that is important."

 

Kaysa

Class: Bard
Race: Unknown


A young girl walked into the library looking around, her dark ocean blue eyes taking in everything. A middle-aged scribe approached her and smiled. "Are you a members of the bard guild?" he asked her his eyes kind yet very inquisitive. She looked at the lute in her hand then nodded, smiling bashfully. "I am" "Oh you are?!" the scribe grinned with glee and took her hand guiding her to a small dark table away from the traffic of people coming in and out. "Have you told us your story my dear?" the scribe asked as he pulled out some parchments and a quill. The girl raised an eyebrow in curiousity "My story Sir?" she asked. "Yes your story, your history how you came to be who you are, and why you are here in the city of allied races." The girl blushed "Oh no, I did not know we were suppose to do that." "Well you don't HAVE to but inquisitive minds like to know about those that are protecting all of us." The girl tucked a strand of hair from her face and nodded, blushing more. The scribe smiled and said "Please take your time, start with your name." He smiled and dipped the quill into a vial of ink and readied his hand to begin writing. Thus the girl began......

"My name is Kaysa Morningstar, I was born in the small village of Taeilk, it's very far from here. I have two brothers a mother and a father. We lived on the outskirts of the village and had a small farm. I was the baby of the family, my two brothers were always hard at work, helping my father for as long as I can remember. When I got older I too helped with the farm work, along with the house chores as well. I use to love to hum tunes and tell stories to my brothers when they would get the time to listen, sometimes when they didn't have the time as well." Kaysa paused a moment her eyes glistening over with the fondness of childhood memories. She took a breath and continued. "I loved to paint, when I was about seven years of age my parents got me a paint brush and a set of paints, I painted on everything I could get my hands on, the wall the door, the floor, cabinets, ect.... Then my mother pointed out that the walls and such could not be washed off, but I could. Thus began my love of body art.

My parents and brothers noticed my humming and bought me a flute, I quickly mastered the instrument and would walk all over the village playing tunes for anybody that would stop to listen. I even wrote a song for a dwarven fighter that lived in the village. Everyone encouraged me to sing, but I never would. I am much much to shy to sing infront of others. I prefer my painting to be my expression of art, I don't have to sing and nobdoy has to pay much attention to me. Soon it became evident that I was growing restless, I would take long walks, sometimes leaving at dawn and not returning to dusk. My brothers would joke to my parents that perhaps I was a wandering minstrel. My parents grinned at each other getting an idea. On one such occasion I came home shortly before supper and my parents set me down. They thought I had wonderful potential to become a bard and that I should travel all over, and head to Nexus the city of allied races. They knew of the war, though thank the Gods our village had not been invaded. They thought I could be of great help. My brothers having snuck in to hear this conversation threw a fit. Their baby sister off battling goblins and giants? Never! She was much to shy and tiny. Though I am a little over six feet in height. I calmly told my brothers that I thought it was a great idea. I loved wandering about and this would give me a chance to see new things. They still protested, swearing they'd never let me go. This went on for months. Finally they gave in, seeing as how I was determined to do this with or without their blessing, they reluctantly gave me their blessing and the next morning I was off.

It took many days for me to reach Nexus. At first I thought I was heading the wrong way and was scared I'd never see another being again, save for a few forest creatures I encountered. Then one day, in the midafternoon I saw it. Nexus, there it was I was so excited I ran as hard and as fast as I could to get there. A guardsman pulled open the massive gates for me and I hurried inside, looking around with awe. Not many people payed any heed to me. I must of looked like the country pumkin gawking around as I did. This is how I bumped into a rather large man. He huffed and looked at me "Ye must being new 'roun' 'ere" he gruffed. I nodded blushing brightly. "Well ye best be getin' to the sloop girl!" I had no idea what that man was talking about. He pointed south and shoo'd me off "Ye best run!" I ran I ran as I had never ran before, I stopped to ask a guardsman about the sloop and he pointed me to the southern gates. Once there I asked another guard and he instructed me to stay on the path to Rymek and I couldn't miss it. I nodded and he pulled the gates open for me and I ran down the path as fast as my legs would carry me. Once on board the sloop I noticed I was surrounded by many other people all on their was to the island called Falcion. When we reached the island a trainer grabbed me and pulled me aside "You want to be a bard don't you?" he asked me. I nodded blushing as he stared at the painting on my arm. "Make em proud" he said as she pushed me inside the city. Thus I began my training and eventually my acceptance into the bards guild." Kaysa blushed as she finished her story and the scribe looked up at her. "Well told" he said as he looked over at her. "How did you get all those peircings and what of the painting on your arm?" he asked politely. Kaysa smiled and said "Well right before I left for Nexus a band of gypsies strolled into our village for a few days to rest from their travels and one of the women had a tatoo and a few hoops in her ears. The hoops really caught my attention and one night she put all these earings in my ear. She offered to do a tatoo for free, but I declined, not wanting something permanet on my body. So instead I paint my moon and star upon my arm every day, and if I get bored with it I'll just wipe it off." The scribe smiled and finished writing down her words. "Thank you very much for your time, I hope to talk to you again soon." She nodded and stood up strolling out of the library.

 

Lyrasel

Class: Bard
Race: Half-Elf

Lyrasel Gentarin was born in a small village near the Eldane, the youngest of five children and the only girl.

Her father had once aspired to be a bard, showing some promise in his quick grasp of spell-music. His ambitions were cut short, however, when his parents were killed in an ambush by goblins on their way to visit him in Nexus. Their only son, he returned to the farm, and married a sturdy neighborhood girl, Lianne. Despite the turmoil around them as the Horde encroached more and more toward Nexus, T'rel and Lianne raised four strapping boys in relative peace. Misfortune struck again, however, when Lianne fell ill. Despite the efforts of the local healers, she eventually succumbed to the illness, leaving T'rel alone with four boys, the oldest of them ten.

Nearly 40 years of age, he fully expected to live out his years alone, but fate (and some might say Dilanis) had other plans for him. He returned from the fields one day to find a visitor on his doorstoop, a comrade with whom he had trained on Falcion nearly 20 years earlier. The few sparks of interest that had flared between them then had been cut short by his parents' death and his decision to leave Nexus. Now retired after years of service to Nexus and the Tower, she had sought him out, not even certain if he remembered her. What had been between them once had never died, and it wasn't long before it grew, fanned undoubtedly by T'rel's loneliness and his boys' need for a mother. Within two years, Lyrasel was born to them, a tiny half-fey child with fiery curls and eyes the color of amber.

Lyrasel's childhood was marred by her sickliness. She suffered frequent attacks of fainting, and occasionally seemed to slump still further, her skin growing waxy and pale, and her breathing so shallow as to be almost non-existent. Because of these spells, her mother kept her close, knowing that in an emergency, only quick intervention to restore her vitality would save her from dying. As she could not be always by her side, Deliasha also engaged a nurse, a dark-elf shunned by many of the neighbors. She was called Qiera, though that was only the closest surface tongues could come to pronouncing the name she was born with. An outcast from her House, in self-imposed exile to the surface, Qiera taught the young girl much of the Drow ways, imparting to her as well her wistfulness for the beauties of the world she had left behind, despite its cruelties.

To amuse his daughter during the long periods that her illness kept her indoors, T'rel often sang to her, delighting in her quick ear for a tune, a trait evident when she was as young as two. Her earliest instruments were such common things as spoons and pots, sticks to tap together, a jingling bell. When she was about three, Deliasha followed the sound of delighted crowing into the sleeping room one day to find young Lyra on the floor, her father's tempo drums before her, delightedly dancing a ball of light around the room. Faced with this evidence of her talent, T'rel shaped and strung a small lute and began teaching her to play a few simple tunes.

The attention and favor showered on her by her parents met with deep resentment by her brothers, though they were careful to hide it in their presence. They hid their little cruelties behind a veil of pretended affection, sharp pinches when no one was looking, a grip that was almost bone-crushingly tight when they held her hand on walks, tickling her till she nearly passed out from breathlessness and terror. As she grew older, their attentions grew darker and more cruel, bordering on sadistic tortures that often started with tickling. She learned very young not to accuse them, her earliest attempts at telling met with reassurances that her brothers loved her, admonishments to them to be more gentle, and worse cruelties when they got her alone again. Instead, she learned to retreat inside herself, building a wall of defense around her secret. The abuse eventually dwindled and stopped altogether as her brothers reached adulthood and was never mentioned between them again.

When she reached 21, her father declared it was time she thought of marrying. She argued against it, but he was adamant that he wished to see her happily married and settled before he died. Unable to change his mind, and faced with her brothers' gleeful procession of suitors (musclebound boneheads she called them), she made her plans, and one night slipped away to Falcion, where she hoped that polishing and training her skills would allow her to make her own choices in life.

 

Rayven

Class: Bard
Race: Human

Where shall I begin? Perhaps with my birth...

I was born to Anandra and Rhodry Krahn in the city of Ceor, a three week trip north of here. My parents owned a clothing shop, and we never lacked anything we needed. Not to say that we were wealthy ... we just weren't destitute like some families I knew. My father wasn't overly religious, but my mother was a very pious woman, almost to the point where it was a fault.

There wasn't much to call a school in the town, and most of what I learned was from people walking outside the shop and in the taverns. Still, it was just more than enough to get me through life. I was a loud, bubbly child full of energy. I had little tact to speak of, but it improved some as I grew. My brother, on the other hand, was a very serious boy, quiet, and skilled with numbers. He did most of the accounts for our shop. I drew customers into the shop by standing on the small porch and singing and dancing.

This was my life until I reached the age of fifteen, and my first real love interest entered my life. His name was Michael, and his family came here because their old town was suffering a terrible drought. We had terrific times, and soon became engaged. It was one of the high points of my life thusfar, until the day it came to a shattering end. I awoke one morning just like every other day, and saw a note pinned to my door:

"Rayven, I fear our time together has grown stale. Perhaps it is time to explore new possibilities. This is not the way I expected my life to turn out, and I desire something better. Farewell."

No one in the town had seen him, or my best friend Jaquelyn since the day before. I remember spending days on end alone in my room, crying my eyes dry. My heart wrenched and banged inside it's tin cage, waiting to be let out.

On top of all this, people in the town were starting to talk of a goblin horde. I paid no attention to it; I had "more important" things to worry about. Still the rumors persisted, and did not die off like most rumors do.

"... moving nearer," people were saying. My father took their chatter to heart, just as other people were starting to do. I saw at least a dozen of my friends sent off to other cities by parents trying to protect them.

Then it was my turn.

My brother was sent off to a city to the west of Ceon, called Defalk, and I was sent to Falcion. I heard later that both cities were hit, and I know not what happened to my family. I pray to all the Gods that they are safe.

And so it was that Rayven came to Falcion. I stay here and train to honor my parents, be they dead or alive, and my sweet brother, and also in hopes that one day I will come across Michael and Jaquelyn again ... perhaps they are destitute. No, that is not my wish for them. I only hope that they receive the same treatment that they give to others. And that, I suppose, is my story.

 

Sincerity

Class: Bard
Race: Human

When I was very young, I lived in a little village, far away from Nexus, with my parents and siblings. There was much love in our family, and we were happy. My parents were great scholars and apparently the trend passed on. My brothers and sisters all were very intelligent. I, however, was never very smart, so I always felt like the odd ball. My parents were concerned about my future. Without their intelligence, they didn't know what I would become. I never worried about it though. I was carefree and happy. I enjoyed being outside around nature and witnessing the gifts of all the gods.

Then, one terrible night, our village was invaded by goblins. My family and many others were killed. For some reason, they spared me. Maybe it was because I was just a child. To this day, I don't know how or why I'm alive, but I am thankful for it. The goblins captured me and burned the village. They took me to a tall, lonely mountain. It was very dark and damp. I remember feeling very scared and alone. We entered a cave, and continued further and further into the heart of the mountain. Finally we reached a large, open room lit with torches. I was taken into a dungeon, and locked in a cell.

For the first time since the invasion, I cried. Tears streamed down my face as I realized how hopeless my situation was. I was alone in a goblin mountain. Lost, and alone. My family was dead. My home was ruined. Then, the gods looked down on me with pity and blessed me with a very special gift. They gave me the gift of song. Without their gift, I doubt I could have survived. Whenever I was sad or alone, I sang to myself, and everything seemed better. I sung of happy things that once had been, and of what I would do when I escaped. I would escape, I assured myself. Some how, some way.

Each day, I was brought a meal by one of the goblins. Being of different races and cultures, we couldn't communicate with each other, but we became friends. (Being alone made me desperate for a friend or comforting face.) When the goblin would bring my food, he would stay and listen to me sing. Of course, he didn't know what I was singing about, but he seemed to like listening to my voice. He realized how special it was, how unearthly it was. My voice eventually entered his heart, and he felt sorry for me. In the middle of the night, he quietly unlocked my door and woke me. I almost let out a scream, but he covered my mouth, muffling it. He led me out of the dungeon and through the mountain to the cave where we entered. Then he left me.

All I knew to do was run. I ran all night. I had no where to go. All I had to do was get away from that evil mountain. As it began to turn light in the morning, I fell, exhausted, and slept. When I awoke, I saw a little dove beside me, singing happily. It spread its wings and slowly began to fly away, as if beckoning me to come. There was something about the dove, an aura about it, that caused me to follow. I followed it for many miles. Whenever I stopped to rest, it rested with me. One day we reached a city, full of young people like myself. The dove left me, and with it left my gift of song. I didn't mind though, for I no longer needed my voice to survive. I had found a city where I could continue life where I had left off, long ago.

As I was starting to make new friends and adjusting to being around other people, I met Koto. Koto was a wonderful musician, and helped me to find my niche in life. He taught me about life, love, and music. With his help, I learned how to sing. Although I no longer had a voice from the gods, through training, I improved and began to compose my own songs. After a while, Koto and I became very close, and he adopted me as a daughter. I have finally found happiness. I once again have a family, a home, and friends.

 

Solik

Class: Bard
Race: Unknown

The man grabbed his child into his arms and rushed him into the cellar, oblivious to the sounds of battle raging about him. The sounds of death increased as the villagers fought for their lives.

"Solik, listen to me," the man began. "I want you to stay here, okay? Don't leave the cellar until I come to get you, okay?" The boy nodded. The man gave him a quick hug, lifted his sword, and ran back out to the battle raging outside. The boy was confused. Why were those ugly green things coming into the village? The boy huddled in the darkness and began to whimper softly. He wished his daddy would come back.

* * *

The small group looked in awe at the destruction around them. Bodies of slain townsfolk littered the road, and blood was splattered on the buildings. Orc bodies lay slain as well, but not nearly as many as the humans. The mother put her hands over the little boy's eyes. The father rode in the lead, sword drawn. They rode cautiously into the city. None of the three spoke a word as they continued. Not a sound was to be heard, except for the occasional door slamming shut in the fierce wind. Suddenly, they heard small cries coming from a house off to the side of the road. The man climbed off his horse and cautiously crept into the house.

The man looked around the house. The place was in disarray. Shattered dishes and broken furnitue lie scattered about the room. He heard the crying again. It came from the other side of the door. He slowly eased the door open. Standing on the other side was a small elvish boy, no more than a few years old. He cringed in fright from the man. The man sheathed his sword and spoke softly to the young boy. He grabbed him up in his arms and rushed outside.

The woman gasped softly at the sight of the boy, and placed him in her lap beside her own son.

"Let's get out of here," the man said, mounting his horse. "We don't want to stay here any longer than we have to." They quickly rode off down the road. Little trace was left of their passing. The wind whispered quietly through the remains of the dead city.

* * *

He was raised as a brother to Jurri Nightwind in the small, quiet town of Kalahad. He kept his own name, Dryden, rather than adopting the name of his new family. As he grew, he began to seek for more and more knowledge about the war of the gods and of the goblin raids. He began travelling the world as a bard alongside his brother Jurri. His travels led him to the city of Nexus, just before its seige. He hopes here to find the answers to the questions he seeks.

 

Stancyl

Class: Bard
Race: Hobbit

As per the request of some of my friends and aquaintances, I will tell my story. It's neither terribly exciting nor romantic. There is no danger or lost love. To tell the absolute truth i have led a very unexciting life thus far, but that is not the point. The point is I am here to tell a story. And so here it is.

There is a small hobbit village, not far from here. The hobbit name for it is Long-grass, though i don't know the common name for it. I don't suggest trying to find it either. The hobbits there are not very social to outsiders and you'd probably pass right by without seeing them once. Anyways, that is where I am from.

Born there to Dotey and Bronter Wornshoes. I was raised on basic principles. Be kind to others, share and share alike, etc. But there was one rule I could never abide to. As I stated most hobbits there stayed away form outsiders. I, on the other hand, would go out of my way to speak to them and listen to stories of far off places. Of heroic battles, and wondrous magic. I was scolded for my attitude many times.

I spent most of my time, when not being scolded or talking to strangers, in a small copse of trees a little ways from my village. There, on an old tree stump, I would think of the stories and wish I could go off with the travelers and live those stories. I have a small book where I would make drawings from my imagination. I do not consider myself an artist, but those drawings were half of what brought me to this part of the lands. The other half showed up on a cold winter morning.

It had snowed heavily the night before and most hobbits were staying inside next to a warm fire, smoking from pipes or eating warm stew. I, as I usually did, could be found trudging through the snow towards the copse of trees. When the sun hit the copse at noon, especially when it snowed, it shone like the brightest diamonds. It always reminded me of the stories of dwarven treasure and the like. Suddenly, as I reached the trees, I heard a noise. But noise is an insult to what I heard. It was music! The most beautiful music i had ever heard! I began walking, entranced by the sound, towards the road where I spyed a young human, dressed in light bright clothes. I was sure he must have been freezing, but he danced along, playing the song and singing as if it were a sunny spring day. I ran over to him, and he paused, to my dismay.

"Please do not stop!" I cried, to which he only smiled. "A hobbit?" He said, raising an eyebrow and smiling. "Don't hobbits usually avoid travelers?" I stamped my foot at this. "Never again!" I cried, "Never again, if you will only play that song again!" He smiled at me and began playing and dancing as before, but this time I joined him, dancing and jumping as I had never done before. Later that day, when the man had left I began my preperations. I had never felt such joy as when the man played and I was determined to do as the man did. To sing and play, and to stir the hearts of all with song. I told my parents of this, expecting more scolding, but they only nodded. My father dug out an old travelworn backpack that had belonged to my grandfather, a great traveler among hobbits. I left the very next day for Falcion, hoping to find the song I was meant for and the story of my life.

So there you have it. The life of Stancyl Wornshoes, summed up in a few paragraphs. Its been a good life so far, and I hope there are many more years to follow. May we all have a good day, good night, and whatever may follow!

 

Tanson

Class: Bard
Race: Human

Far to the south of Nexus lay a secluded island called Feldaire. Feldaire was home to the human kingdom of Gertran'dal. These humans were rather eccentric by Altin's human standards, but the people had remained happy for generations. The kingdom had just crowned a new king, a young man by the name of Carlian. King Carlian had a passionate love for music, and, upon his coronation, held auditions for positions as the King's personal musicians. As word of this audition reached the far corners of this island, people with a wide range of musical skills came to the King's castle to participate in this audition. The new king was present for the audition, and listened to all the auditioners display their talents. Unfortunately, the majority of the players disgusted the discriminating king. Having spent a long day listening to minimally skilled musicians, the king grew weary, and considered cutting the audition short.

"Your majesty, I have heard great things about this next player. Please see it fit to listen to him." One of the king's advisors pleaded with him to listen to one more musician.

Carlian sighed. "All right. He will be the final one. It has been a long day, and I do not wish to listen to more people make a mockery of music."

As Carlian motioned for the next musician, an extremely young child of no more than fifteen winters came before the king. He was dressed in scraggly clothes, but carried a beautiful lyre. Carlian muttered as he flashed a mild glare at his advisor.

"Please hear him through," the advisor asked, "He is truly a wonder."

The child bowed to the king, and awaited for permission to begin playing. "You may begin," the king stated, rather inattentively, as the child nodded.

The child looked at his lyre, and began strumming with an ease not seen in players twice his age. The gentle sound that emanated from the lyre quickly grabbed the attention of the king, who looked at the seemingly insignificant child with newfound respect and shock. After strumming for a short time, the child began singing. Though his children's voice had not yet attained the deep undertones of a grown man's voice, it resonated powerfully throughout the room, entrancing everyone who had the pleasure of hearing. When his piece was completed, his audience, still mesmerized by his music, was completely silent. After several moments of utter silence, the king finally spoke.

"Your music is unlike anything I've ever heard in my life. What is your name, son?"

The child replied, "I am Tanson, your majesty."

The king nodded. "Very well, Tanson. I extend to you an offer to play on my court."

Tanson smiled. "Thank you for the kind offer. I accept."

Tanson returned to his dwelling in the castle after a long day of playing his lyre. It had been three years since he first agreed to play for the King, and he was beginning to tire of it. He put himself into bed, and began pondering his various options.

The next morning, Tanson went to the King and asked him to be released from his duies. The king, however, loved his music too much, and vehemently rejected his request. Tanson, upset but unwilling to give up, began to think of other ways to get out. He quickly learned the inner workings of the castle, and began to steal small bits of gold coin. He created a secret compartment underneath the wooden floorboards, where he began to stash away his gold. After six long months of stashing gold, he dressed himself in a robe, and walked discreetly to the docks. Once there, he approached an old man sitting by a desk.

"Could I procure a list of outgoing ships in the next week?" asked Tanson.

The foreman grunted and shrugged. "Here." He threw a wooden binder at him. Tanson nodded.

"Thank you, sir." Tanson flipped through the book. He saw that most ships were heading to the nearby island of Verrath. He shook his had; that island was far too close for his tastes. As he continued to flip through the dock schedule, one listing caught his eye; "The Windrider, leaving 23rd Blossoms, for the port of Rymek. Captain: Elias Garamoor. Docked at pier 3." Tanson had never heard of Rymek before. He gave the book back to the foreman, thanking him, and walked outside, to pier 3. Spotting a man walking out of the boat docked there, Tanson raced to catch up to him.

"Sir, may I speak to your ship's captain please?" Tanson said, hoping for a favorable response.

The man shrugged, and said, "I am the ship's captain. What do you want, boy?"

"I require passage on your ship, to . . . Rymek. Would it be possible for me to acquire passage to Rymek via your ship?" Tanson hoped he sounded convincing.

The man shrugged. "Four thousand gold for passage on my ship."

Tanson winced slightly, and nodded. "I have it."

The man looked at Tanson incredulously, and nodded. "We'll keep some extra food for you, but bring your own as well, as well as anything else you would require. Your own drink would be advisable as well."

Tanson nodded. "When do you leave?"

The man replied, "Tomorrow, at the crack of dawn. Bring your money then.

If you're late we're not waiting for you.

Tanson nodded. "I shall be there. What was your name, sir?"

The man replied, "I am Captain Elias Garamoor. Yours?"

"I am Tanson." Tanson bowed and returned to the castle.

Tanson pulled all his belongings and placed them inside a large cloth backpack. He placed his gold in a medium sized pouch, and placed it securely inside his backpack, and fastened the backpack tight. In his hand he carried some climbing rope. He tiptoed out of his room, and onto the castle courtyard. He quickly ran to a section of wall. Throwing the hooked rope over the high wall, he began scaling the wall, taking care to be extra silent. He made one quick look as he climbed halfway up. Eventaully, he reached the top of the wall. He carefully held onto the top of the wall from his precarious position as he rearranged the hook so he could descend. He climbed down the wall, trying as hard as possible to make no noise. Once he was safely on the ground, surrounded by bushes, he retracted the climbing rope, and wound it around his arm. Looking around once again, he began running for the docks. Once at the dock, he spotted the captain and walked toward him. "Hello, Captain Garamoor." Tanson bowed before him as the man greeted him cordially.

"Do you have what I asked for?" the captain asked.

Tanson pulled a fairly large pouch of gold from his backpack, and handed it to the captain. The captain smiled, bobbed the heavy-looking pouch a few times, and nodded. "Welcome to the Windrider. If the weather cooperates, it will be a two week journey." Tanson nodded. "Our crew is in place. We depart in fifteen minutes."

The storm's vicious wind howled violently as the ship buckled under the force of the waves. Water flew over the sides of the ship and slammed onto the deck. Tanson stood on the stairwell connecting the decks below. He tightly held onto the railing as he watched the ship take nature's beating. A powerful gust of wind swept across the ship, and the wooden mast snapped off like a twig, crashing into the ocean. A bolt of lightning crashed down upon the remains of the mast, maiming the remains of the mast and igniting a large fire. Tanson found another member of the crew, who grabbed him frantically and took him to a small boat. Another crew member was waiting at the boat, and the three of them helped move the boat in position to be lowered into the water. They entered the boat and cut the string that bound the small emergency boat to the doomed ship. The boat fell onto the water, but lurched violently with the waves and the impact of the fall. The small boat got shoved around like a toy as the three of them hung on for dear life. A fierce gust of wind lifted the boat off the water and caused it to flip over completely. Tanson heard screams amidst the wind, thunder, and loud patter of rainfall, as the other two crew members were swept away. Tanson continued to hold onto the boat, fighting the wind and the waves trying to drag him into the sea. After what seemed like an eternity, the winds began to calm. The once-violent waves became more docile, and the loud beating of rain became a soft pattering. Tanson managed to flip the boat right side up, and climbed inside. He dried his clothes off and sighed. Tanson looked up; the skies were clear. It had been three days since the ship had been destroyed. Although he had just woken up, he had no energy. He gazed toward the sun. Its rays seemed to slowly drain Tanson of his energy. Shaking his head in an attempt to remain awake, he tried to get up, but found he was too weak to move.

"Rest . . ." he thought. "Rest sounds good . . ." Tanson closed his eyes.

A Rymekian fisherman looked out on the beach and noticed something strange; an unmanned boat was rocking back and forth calmly, at the edge of the shore.

He walked to the boat in curiosity. Upon reaching the boat, he looked inside and felt his mouth drop. The gaunt body of a human lay inside the small boat. He touched the skin; it radiated the slightest bit of warmth. He touched the left side of the man's neck; the fisherman could feel the faintest of pulses. Looking at the man once again, the fisherman put his tackle box and his pole down and hefted the man in his arms. He walked to Rymek's town center, and shouted for help. Several men responded to the plea for help, but upon examining him, all agreed that he needed to go to the Healing Hand in Falcion. One man procured a stretcher, and lay the body on the stretcher. Someone then wrapped the man in several blankets. The fisherman and one other man carried the stretcher to the Transport Sloop, where, after paying the fare, boarded the ship. Upon the ship's arrival on the island of Falcion, the two men quickly walked north up the path and through the city gates. The two men lay the stretcher in front of the healing hand, and entered the wooden building.

"Anyone, please come out and help!" one of the men shouted. Within several seconds of his call, two acolytes came out of their chambers and nodded.

"What is the problem, sirs?" asked one of the acolytes.

"We found an unconscious man in a boat, on the shore. He seems to be alive, but barely."

The acolyte nodded. "We will do what we can for him. Where is he?"

The fisherman responded, "Outside, by the door."

The two acolytes nodded and walked outside to retrieve the man.

"Ah, so you're awake, son." Nathen looked at the young man, whose eyes had opened for the first time in perhaps a week. The young man looked around. Looking fairly confused, he meekly asked, "What is this?"

Nathen smiled and said, "This is the tabernacle of the Healing Hand. "You were badly hurt. We found you on a small boat on our shores."

Tanson's eyes seemed to light up upon the mention of a boat. "Boat . . . Windrider? Where is the Windrider?"

Nathen looked at Tanson quizzically, and said, "I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't know what it is you speak of."

The man sighed and nodded, as if he had something to say but didn't have the energy to say it.

"What is your name, son?" the high priest asked.

"N-name? Oh, I'm . . . T-Tanson."

"Ah, Tanson. Welcome to Falcion, Tanson."

"Falcion . . ." Tanson trailed off into sleep once again.

It took another week for Tanson to have the energy in him to begin walking. Even then, he was extremely unsteady in his steps. However, Nathen felt that the Healing Hand could do no more for him, and that the rest of his rehabilitation would need to be done outside his sanctuary. Because Tanson often spoke of a Lyre, Nathen suggested that he go to the bard's guild. Tanson, completely untrained in the arts of combat, had difficulty mastering even the basics of swordplay, and, as such, encountered some difficulty in his training. However, as he regained his strength, the concepts of warfare quickly became apparent to him, and he was able complete his training. His strength returned to him, he walked out of the gates of Falcion in full vigor, and smiled at the guards that patrolled the Sloop as he entered on his way to Nexus.

Tanson looked at a golden lyre behind the counter of Kalim's bar. The beautiful lyre sat on a velvet pillow, on a polished oaken stand.

"Interested in that lyre, eh?" Kalim asked Tanson.

Tanson continued to look at the lyre, not seeming to pay attention to Kalim's words.

Kalim scratched his head and said to Tanson, "Hey there! What's gotcha in such a daze?"

Tanson quickly dropped from his trance and looked at Kalim. "Oh, I was just looking at your lyre. It's a beautiful thing. Might I look at it for a moment?"

Kalim pondered for a moment. "I usually don't let people look at it, but since you're an aspiring musician, I'll grant you an exception."

Tanson smiled. Kalim handed the lyre to him with two hands. "Be gentle with it. Instruments of that quality you only come across once in a lifetime."

Tanson nodded. He took the lyre and gripped it with a familiarity that shocked even himself. He then curiously plucked the strings of the lyre. Thinking for a moment, he began playing a simple tune, before stopping abruptly.

"Mind if I play something on here?"

Kalim shrugged. "I suppose so. You seem adept enough at it."

Tanson smiled and nodded. He looked at the lyre carefully, and began strumming. Kalim watched with awe as Tanson played the lyre with skill well beyond his short years. As he played, a crowd gathered around Tanson, each person entranced by the gentle plucking of the strings. As Tanson's piece came to a close, a tall, beautiful elven woman with a black and red cloak around her stepped toward Tanson, away from the crowd. The woman kissed Tanson on each cheek, and placed a jeweled pin of a musical note on Tanson's lapel.

"I have never had the pleasure of hearing such a magnificent performance in my life. You are truly the fairest of Muses. May Andaras continue to pour Her blessings upon you."

 

Torak

Class: Bard
Race: Dwarf

"Ye did what?!"

Torak tried to look away, but all he succeeded in doing was meeting the eyes of his mother, besides his quite angry father.

"Ye be lookin at me when ah be talkin ta ye!" The dwarfs face was flushed beneath his beard. Torak looked back to his father, and met his eyes. "tell me what ye done."

"The master forger already be tellin . . ."

"Ah said, ye be tellin me what ye done."

Torak mumbled something into his neatly trimmed beard, the bane of his fathers exhistance. Many times Torak had heard his fathers lectures about how a beard was something that needed to be grown to its fullest; had put up with his brothers snickering; his mothers patient goading, but he would not grow his beard out.

"Speak up Torak!"

"Ah said ah burned tha Forge!!" Torak yelled. Berrits mustache bristled, as he glared at his impudent son. "Ah tol ye ah no wanted ta go in there in tha fist place, ah did. All ah be wantin . . ."

"Yer no gonna be singin, an that bein that!" The Master Forger, standing behind Torak looked about the dwelling place of the Battleforgers. A nice sized hearth sat in the far wall, with many weapons above it. The Battleforgers had always been a distinguished family, throughout the history of the mountain city of Tagin.

"Berrit, now ye calm down. Tha damage no bein as bad as it sound. In tha morn, ye be seein nay a scorch mark," the Master Forger said, slowly.

Berrit glanced briefly at the Master Forger, then returned his glare at his son. "What ye be thinkin? What be goin on in that head o yers?" Torak returned his fathers glare, with one of his own. He then turned, went to his room, and slammed the door; immediately he opened it a crack, to listen.

The master forger sighed slightly, and patted Berrit on the shoulder. "What he be thinkin?" Berrit asked no one in particular. He turned to look at the hearth. "He be singin in that festival, an he do be good, but ifin he be havin his way, he woul put a flute along side our kins weapons. A flute sittin by Tivins Mithrill battle-axe," He sounded indignant at the thought.

"Berrit, ifin ah remember me history correctly, an ah no sayin that ah do, but ah seem ta remember that durin tha war o races, eery group o dwarves that be afightin had a person that sang the war chants, an ifin they be singin in their heart, those songs coul make the enemy turn tail, an run lak a dragon tryin ta git back ta its treasure after hearin someone be steelin it," the Master Forger said. "An while ah be rememberin, ah think that one o the Battleforgers was one o the great warrior bards . . .but ah coul be mistaken."

Torak wanted to hail the Master Forger as king, right then and there. He had never heard anyone make his father eat his own words. Wellin, at least ah have someone on me side.

Enirra looked at the Master Forger. "Ifin Torak be hearin that, he neer let go o this crazy idea. We no hae had a bard among our peoples fer a very long time, an it ould break is lil heart." She looked back to her husband "but it bein his choice Berrit."

"No while he be livin here, it not. He gonna be back at tha forges in tha mornin, with yer permission, Master Forger." The Master Forger looked at Berrit, and Enirra. He sighed slightly, but nodded. "wellin, that be settlin that. Thank ye fer comin Master Forger, Torak no be setting fire ta yer forges gain, be surein bout that."

Torak closed the door, his mind made up.

The halls were quiet, and empty, except for a set of footfalls, echoing lightly off the stone walls. Torak had a backpack on, and was walking the halls quickly, and as quietly as possible. He rounded a corner, and bumped into the Master Forger. Both took a step back, and looked at the other.

"An werein ye be off ta at this hour?" The master Forger looked at Torak, took in his backpack, and traveling clothes.

"Ah bein off . . .ta tha forges, ta be seein if . . .ifin ah cin help with the . . .repairs."

"Ah be thinkin the forgers not be wantin yer help fer a while, not til they be forgettin yer accident." The Master Forger grinned into his beard as Torak tried to think of something to say. "Now ah be knowin yeve no intention o headin back in the forges . . ." Torak seemed almost panicked, but the Master Forger raised a hand to forestall any denials, or panicked words. "Wat ye be wantin me ta tell yer kin? Where ye be headin ta, or do ye know yet?"

Torak looked up at the Master Forger, his eyes wide in shock. "Ye know?"

"Oh aye. Yer father be havin a will o granite, and ye no be bendin yerself. Ah knew ye were listenin from yer room, twas why I said what ah did. Ye have a talent Torak, unlike ah hae seen, or heard, in hundreds o years. Ye need ta follow yer heart, an yer heart be tellin ye ta leave. Bein there anathin ye want me ta tell yer kin?"

Torak looked at the floor. "There be nothin that ah hae no said already." The Master Forger nodded slightly. Torak turned to leave, and the older dwarf stopped Torak with a hand on his shoulder. The Master Forger fished about in his puches, and pulled out a medallion.

Made of Mithrill, it glistened in the torchlight as he handed it to Torak. "It bein tha symbol o the Dwarven Bards o old. Ye be wearin that when ye go ta battle, an be singin tha Dwarven battle songs, and chants, it be bringin some luck. Ah made it tha day after ah hear ye sing. Somehow ah new, one way o another, ye woul be usin it."

Torak took the medallion with close to awe on his face. "Ah . . .thank ye. It bein tha best thin ah eer seen come out o yer forge," Torak looked up, as he realised what he had said "no offense, Master Forger, ye be makin great weapons, an armor, an . . ." Torak was prepared for the Dwarf to take the medallion back, for the insult he had just given, but all he did was chuckle.

"Yed best be headin off now, ah kept ye long nough. Goo journey young bard, make us proud." Torak turned, and headed off through the halls, to the great doors of Tagin, and to the surface. The Master Forger looked off toward where Torak had disappeared in the halls. "Sing with pride, young one, ye carry a grea burden on yer shoulders. Ifin ye only knew . . ." his whisper was swallowed by the shadows of the halls as the Master Forger, the leader of the Priests of the fallen goddess Twilia (though few indeed knew that) turned, and headed off to his room.

Torak walked the streets of the strange town, with eyes filled with wonder. He spoke to himself in Dwarven, and got more than one strange look from a few people. "Such tall buildings, and above ground . . ." he shook his head in wonder. He walked the streets, looking, trying not to gawk. He ran into a woman, with green hair, Green hair?! He looked up at her. This was obviously an Elf. Such a thin creature, it seemed to Torak she would fall over on the spot, and be too weak to get back up. Far from falling over, she bowed to him.

"Greetins to ye mistress." Torak remembered from his lessons that Elves were a strange lot, but being polite was something he had no trouble with. She smiled to him, and flowers burst into the air. Torak stumbled back with eyes wide. The woman named Azara, showed him the town, and to Toraks astonishment, there was a Bards Guild! A guild for people like him! The green haired elf gave him some money, and sent him off to learn songs he had never even heard of.

Such a strange, and wonderful place, this Nexus. Torak made his way to a tavern. He looked around, and smiled. It felt nice in this place, it felt right. He saw people with instruments walking around. Shrugging, he took out an instrument he had bought, and started practicing his songs, which he had just learned. Torak felt the medallion in his pocket as he sang, and he smiled. He would not wear that medallion until, as the Master Forger had told him, he sang a Dwarven battle chant, or song. In his mind, that would be when he earned the right to wear such an honorable symbol of his people.

 

Wolfmoon

Class: Bard
Race: Drow

The Drow child looked up at his albino mother, clinging to her in confusion and terror, "Why are they doing this?" he asked his mother, as human bandits made their way around town, burning and slaughtering all they found, except the children.

The pale woman took her son in the very back of their house. There, she crouched in front of him, and both their crimson eyes met, "Rrehmlinh, those men out there are going to take you away from me, promise me you will not die, you must live through all of what their slavemasters will do!"

"...I don't un...understand..." he said as tears began to flow down his dark blue face.

"There's no time to explain! You must make it out of the human slave camps, then find your way to Nexus, that is where your destiny lies." Rrehmlinh's mother closed her eyes and wrapper her arms around him.

"But when will I see you again? You have to come with me mother! Nexus is too far away for me to go alone!" Rrehmlinh exclaimed, his voice high pitched from panic.

"You will make it. I know you will, you're as stubborn as your father." she breathed, "After your destiny has been fulfilled, then we will be together."

The Drow mother clasped her hands together around Rrehmlinh as the hinges of her door came crashing down. The humans pried the boy from his mother, tied him by his wrists and took him away. Then they turned to the pale Drow.

The city's foundations were burnt and destroyed. But a single tree stood behind a medium sized house. Rrehmlinh dangled off one of the thick branches of the massive tree, his wrists bound by rope that hung from the branch. He swung there motionless. All he could do was stare at the charred bones of his mother, lying in a pile of ashes and what was left of wood in the house.

The sun had settled in hours ago and the human bandits had already set up camp and celebrated over their victory, drunk of course. While Rrehmlinh continued to stare expressionless at his crumbled home, a faint tune caught his ears. For the first time in hours, he flinched. The tune was the same his mother used to sing to him. All this was too much for the boy. He looked back down at his crippled home, and the corpse of his mother was gone!

A few pulls and wiggles and Rrehmlinh was down on the ground, hidden, and already following the soft, soothing melody that made him want to curl up beside his mother and fall asleep, not worrying about anything at all. Once he snuck out of the ruined city and into the forest surrounding, it was full sprint running and nothing less.

It seemed as if he ran for hours upon hours. Rrehmlinh ran past exhaustion and fatigue. It did not matter to him, he wasn't aware of anything but the tune slowly getting closer and closer. Soon he was out of the forest and came upon a high cliff, overlooking a vast water mound. At the bottom, the tune's source was coming from somewhere down there. Suddenly the boy felt dizzy, his exhaustion catching up to him as he fell off the cliff. When he hit the water below, everything went black.

Opening his eyes, Rrehmlinh tried to regain his knowledge of where he was. But all he could remember was what happened to his people and mother. He couldn't even remember his name. The boy suddenly realized where he was. He looked around the cave den he was in and the pack of wolves surrounding him. It was terribly cold out and the body heat they put off kept the Drow warm so he decided to stay where he was. The alpha female wolf was the closest to him. So close, her fur brushed against him. Being this close to the first wild animal he'd ever seen made him more than a little uneasy but once the female wolf looked at him, stared, and went back to sleep, his nerves calmed slightly. Enough to let him rest.

The first few days were very complicated. Rrehmlinh stayed with the pack, they seemed to not act any differently with him around. In a dream, the alpha female came to him, "We knew you were coming." she said to him.

"But how?" he asked back.

"That is not important now. You will stay here with us until we have taught you everything you need to know about how to survive in the world." she explained. "This is the only way I can communicate with you and I am the only one here that can do it. We will protect you, teach you how to defend yourself, to hunt, fish, and to teach you things about nature."

After that night, Rrehmlinh would go out every night on the cliff outside the den and would lie beside the alpha female and they would stare at the stars and the moon. He would sing songs that came to his mind, mainly the one his mother used to sing to him and together the Drow and the wolf would fall asleep.

A few years went by, the young Drow learned many things living with the wolves and now it was time that he explored the world, to go find his destiny. Rrehmlinh gathered the supplies he would need, and said his goodbyes. By this time, all the wolves had grown to love him. But the alpha female was still closest to him.

He departed then and traveled to many cities, learning of the world, of the different races that inhabited it. Along the way he made his money singing and entertaining in taverns. Then leaving before anyone could talk to him.

Rrehmlinh finally made his way to Falcion. After exploring the main roads, he went to sell a few things at the pawn shop. The woman at the counter, Latashia said to him, "You look like a new face, who might you be?"

It had been forever since anyone referred to him by name. He had forgotten his Drow name years ago. He paused and thought for a moment, then replied, "The name's Wolfmoon."

 

Clerics

Most of these histories were taken first hand while the Hero still lived. Doubtless all are long dead by now.

Alix

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

"Where the hell is our money?!" Alix yelled slamming a man against a wall. His gang the Red Bands had quite a reputation to live up to. Robbing travelers, loaning money to people and hurting them severely if not paid back. They were the tormentors of Whoville indeed, but Alix didn’t do it without reason. His family was very poor, his father running off when he was just a ten years old he had to help support the family. Indeed this profession had its good points, but it had its bad.

"G-g-give me a-a-another m-m-m-m..." Pleaded the man. "Another what you worthless beggar!?!?!" Alix said punching the man in the face as his comrades held him up against a wall.

Blood dripped down the mans face, "A-a-another month." he screamed. Alix grinned, "Who do you think I am? hmm? I have a family to support.. mouths to feed." he continued "I have a reputation and I aint gonna let it go." At this Alix wielded a knife. The man screamed as it slit his throat and died. "Clean this up and lets go." Alix said cooly and at the end of the day he went home.

"Alix! you're home." his mother smiled, hugging him "I take it your paper editor job went well." "Oh yeah mom.. it was great." Alix once again lied the lie he had been telling for years "I wrote a column today on fox hunting." The conversation filled the room as him, his mother, two brothers and three sisters sat at the table eating. He was the oldest of course and the man of the house.

Day by day he did his job, some days worse than others. “Oh just got caught in the printing press.” He would say to his mother whenever he showed up with a wound. His life had been tough indeed, but he always looked to his family for joy. Well, until one night.

Alix lay on his bed staring at the ceiling when he heard a scream. He ran to the sound and went into his little brothers room. "Freeze or the kid gets it." said a rival gang member. Alix was not so easy. He quickly picked up a chair and before the guy knew it he was whacked in the face. Alix wielded a blade killing the man.

Just then another gang member ran into the room slashing Alix’s little brother in the stomach "Take that for killing him," Alix he was quick and escaped through the window.

Screams of pain echoed as Alix’s little brother bleed. His mother rushed into the room in a panic also screaming. She did what she could but it looked as though he was going to die.

Tears dripped down Alix’s face as he watched his six year old brother bleed. He wished he could do something, anything. He would have given up anything to save him. "Gods help him! help him damnit!!" he prayed. He reached out his hand "Help him gods!! help him!!!!!!!!" he prayed more. The boy screamed "HELP HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" he continued to scream. "Help him damnit it!! Do something!!!!!" at this a bolt of energy shot from Alix’s hand and the screaming ceased.

From the moment of this miracle Alix decided to take up a new profession. He decided to be a cleric, and that he did.

 

Ashen

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

Part I

Ashen's story starts far to the northeast of Nexus, traveling with his family as they try to transport goods. Being forced away by the horde Baldryc had hoped to retreat to Nexus, moving his few remaining goods on their wagon along with his family. His dearly beloved Cynthia was afraid for the safety of her two young ones but she knew they couldn't stay with the oncoming army.

Having evaded the goblin scouts for nearly half a moon, Baldryc knew they had been overtaken by a group of goblins. Hiding and sneaking near constantly for many days had taken its toll on the parents, almost to the point of exhaustion. They discussed one night, once the boys had gone to sleep, their options and possible final measures.

Managing for the next two and a half suns to remain out of the hordes grasp, their luck was not to hold. Goblin scouts happened upon the wagon mid-morning of that day. Baldryc brought the old horse to a canter, whisking away from the scouts along the rocky trail. Careering down the path was more than the wagon could take, the spokes on a wheel splintered and sent the wagon and family into the undergrowth. As the horse came to a stop with the wagon listing to one side Baldryc helped Cynthia up and delicately supporting her in his arms. "We have no choice, there is no hope but to chance it. We just have to be close enough for what strength we have left", Baldryc informed his beloved. "But Bal, if we aren't, what will happen? We don't know even if Nexus' location stone still operates!", Cynthia replied with a worried tone. "Without the wagon we cannot outrun the scouts any longer. We must try, it's their only hope" came the soft response from Baldryc. Tearfully Cynthia picked up her youngest bundle of joy and kissed his forehead, "May the gods watch over you and Dilanis bloom in your heart. "Baldryc picked up his pride and joy, "Ashen, keep your brother safe and may Andaras guide your path." Slipping a small ring off his finger and placing it in his chubby hands. "You are the eldest of the Talari line, do us proud as a Talari only can." The guttural tones of sneaking goblins could be heard through the gentle rustle of leaves. Circling around the two parents and the remains of their wagon. Cynthia and Baldryc held their children and chanted "Go where the winds carry thee." in unison.

White light enveloping the two boys, growing to a blinding flash, translocating them far far away. With the dimming of the white luminescence, Baldryc carefully sat his exhausted spouse on the wagon then moved to a small chest on the wagon. Fumbling with the latch he removing a small packet of cloth. Smiling to Cynthia he carefully unwrapped the bundle to reveal a sparkling red dragon scale, inscriptions upon its front and back. "But... I thought.. You didn't.. How?.. He is going to be so annoyed when he finds out Bal.", Cynthia stuttered spying the object. Baldryc smiled knowingly, "I hardly see how it matters, Cynthia Daniela Talari. I promised before we left that the horde would never have our bodies or souls and I always keep my promises to you." Taking his wife by the hand he led her up by the horse still tethered to the wagon. "Well old boy, don't worry I'm not about to let them get you either." Kissing Cynthia gently on the lips one last time he squeezed her hand and started to chant, "Be consumed by the flame that tortures souls." A small red spark appeared between the three souls, growing and changing to orange then white. Drafts of heated air tugged at Cynthia's hair as it rose up around the group. As the goblins entered the small clearing where the wagon had ended its last trip, the spark twinkled then exploded.

Searing white fire enveloped the humans holding hands gazing lost into each others souls, the old horse and the wagon, disintegrating it before time itself noticed. The goblins in the surrounding bushes and on the track were charred to ashes in the ring of fire as it burst out from its focal point.

Whether it was Aalynor's grace, Tilnar's mercy, Dilanis's love, Andaras's beauty, Trista's mischief, Pandora's hope, Erisar's hunt or Paelina's valor or sheer luck is anyone's guess. Ashen and Nehsa did arrive at their parents' desired location, much to the surprise of the aging Priestess who later helped shelter and raise them within the temple.

Part II

Ashen wasn't what you would call the most usual child, this was obvious from our first meeting. Finding the boy holding a babe in his arms, sitting next to the sapphire wasn't what I had expected going to my noon prayer. After having coaxed who he was and why he was in the temple, letting them stay within the temple seemed a simple solution. We never heard from any of his family and they both lived within the temple for all of my last years, causing their usual childish mischief and small surprises.

One of the strangest occurrences I have seen Ashen cause would have to be what we came to term his "Angel dreams". These weren't normal dreams, no child has glowed with an aura and smiled so peacefully while sleeping I assure you. From what we were able to understand he would dream of Aalynor's angels, coming down to talk to him while he slept. I merely took this as a sign of his calling and natural beliefs for Aalynor's cause, while some disagreed Ashen never cared what people thought. There was the time he came across some young wizardess in the woods, which should teach all you young females to not bathe in streams. Ashen, in one of his walks through Eldane, came across a female voice floating along the breeze down by a stream. Being a curious lad and too young to know better he set about investigating. To both their surprise he came across a lady bathing naked in the stream, the young lass in her surprise stunned him knocking the wee child unconscious. She then gathered her wits and rescued him before he drown in the reeds.

His understanding of the weave and soul was underestimated by many, but I knew the child had talent from our first lessons. Teaching the lad with the other acolytes of the temple, he was quick to grasp the concepts of life and the natural order of things. The role of the gods in our mortal lives was something he persisted in pursuing and learning more of. One thing he held high was the grace of life, maintaining that life has a natural order of birth, death, then rebirth as Aalynor found willing.

One of the saddest days I care to remember was when he left me to train upon Falcion. Setting off with his knife and shield as I handed him to the sloop master. I cried that day as if it was my own child that was going away, for Ashen was the child I never had. Shyree, Priestess of Light

 

Atrius

Class: Cleric
Race: Elf

Born on Tilur, the eighth of the month of the Twilight, in the year 1,587 since the Godswar, and year 1,170 of the Empire, Atrius grew up in an elven society, with no contact of wether humans or other living beings. Well, except for animals.

For twenty years Atrius, his mother, father, two older brothers and his younger sister lived peacefully in this village, until one day when a large pack of wolves invaded the village. Since most of the men were out hunting, the ones in the village were brutally slaughtered by the wolves. Atrius though, somehow managed to hide in safety. He waited there for several hours, not daring to reveal himself, in case the wolves were still there. As he heard no more outside, he dared to leave his hiding place. As he went outside, he saw the most horrifying scene of his life. All the villagers, including Atrius' family, lay scattered around the village, slain by the wolves.

Once the hunters got back, Atrius told them all about what had happened. They formed a new hunting party and went out to slay the wolves. As soon as they found the wolves, a tough battle was to take place. Atrius, who was not very skilled with weapons stayed in the background and watched. Many of his fellow villagers fell to the wolves, yet the rest of them defeated the pack. It was at this point that Atrius discovered his abilities.

As his comrades lay wounded on the ground, he felt a sudden urge of aiding them. He then slowly walked from one man to another, healing their wounds perfectly. They were all amazed by his abilities and hurried back to the village to save the ones wounded there. But Alas, it was too late.

The men and Atrius buried all the corpses and then left the village to find a new place to settle down. And so they left, packing and carrying whatever they could. Then, after many weeks of wandering, they came to a city named Taeviral. Here they settled down and Atrius began exploring the city, curious of what it was like. As he did, he fell in love with the city, due to its beautiful architecture.

A few months passed, and Atrius heard about the city of Nexus. As he wanted to leave and search for it, he was told he was not allowed entrance there until he had been trained in the city of Falcion. So, Atrius packed some of his belongings and left for Falcion to begin his training. Many months of hard training led him to finally achieve the title of Priest. As he did, he left for Nexus.

Now, many years later, he has had the time to become a Follower of Mistress Dilanis and he has also found his Love.

 

Cadderly

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

"A history?"

"Yes, all great heroes are asked to submit a history." the historian said.

I thought about this and thought what has the world come to? Me, Cadderly Deneir, a hero of Nexus? I couldn't help but laugh.

"So…" I started to ask, "are you saying that I'm actually considered a 'hero' of Nexus?"

The historian looked at me with a quizzical stare and said "Oh no…we were just told to record your history. I mean, face it, you're no Eleysha or Gifford."

I frowned. Great. There goes all shred of self-worth…but he does have a point.

After considering the man's words, I ask, "Where do you want me to start?"

"Well, you could just start with your early years you know, where you were born, what you're family was like?" he said.

"Ok…I was born on…" I started. As I was telling my story, I hadn't realized that I was actually babbling to the historian. I was actually exaggerating some parts and embellishing my exploits. After a good two hours, I decided to stop. I think he realized I wasn't making any sense. I think the part that made him realize this was when I said I killed two Blue Dragons single handedly and then saved Rymek from disaster. I think he may have been a bit upse,t…he left shouting curses and hurling a mug at me. I managed to duck, but the ale got on my shirt.

"How rude!" I shouted. "You know how hard it is to clean this shirt!"

It was just as well…the man had no class. As I attempted to wipe the stain from my shirt, I began to ask myself what I was doing in this shoddy little tavern. Utterly disgusted with myself and peeved by the fact that I couldn't get rid of the stain, I paid the serving wench and bolted out of the inn. I took care to hide my face…I don't know if I could survive the shame and indignity of being seen at this disgusting little waterhole.

Once I reached the more hospitable climate of Trista's Tavern, I dug into my pack and looked for a nice clean shirt. Unfortunately, all my other shirts were being cleaned. Great…I thought…now what am I supposed to do? What will people say if they saw me with a stain? I wouldn't be able to bear the humiliation and embarrassment. But then again…I realized that people might be drunk…they wouldn't notice a little stain. But then again…what if they did…

I was a bit thirsty, so I decided to risk it. I entered the tavern. I immediately spotted an old friend, so I started to walk towards him. As I was walking, I caught sight of a ravishing young noblewoman. She saw me and smiled. I could tell she was interested. So, I ignored my friend's attempt to greet me and headed towards the beautiful blonde lady. Just before I begin my introduction, I hear a loud cough.

"Hey there Cadderly! What's that on your shirt?"

I freeze. Curse! Someone did notice! What am I going to do? I decide to act normal and turned to the speaker. Guess what? It was my old friend…or more correctly, former friend.

"Oh…hello there…if you'll excuse me, I'm a bit busy over here. And it's not a stain." I say to my 'former' friend. I turn to greet the enchanting beauty.

"Doesn't look like a stain to me!" he bellowed as he hobbled his way towards me.

"Look…" I respond, "you're obviously drunk and seeing things. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm in the middle of something."

I try to turn away, but he grabs my shirt and says, "Sure does look like a stain to me!"

Curse this drunken fool! By now, I realize that we've become the center of attention. I start hearing people whispering and I can only assume that they saw the stain. I try to ignore them and turn towards the charming young lady only to find that she too noticed the stain. I frown, bow, and rush towards the door. I've never been so embarrassed! Curse the ignoble historian!

I decide a pleasant stroll the Museum of Arts and Beauty would calm my nerves and once again put me at ease. I start to think, what if I had just told the historian the truth? If that had happened, I'd be spending the remainder of the evening in the company of a most beautiful woman. Now I'm alone and going to spend the evening viewing fascinating art pieces. Oh well…not to worry. I can be lots of fun, and who better to spend it with?

As I reach the Museum, I start to wonder, how in the world did I ever get to where I am now? Oooh…lovely piece…I must get someone to paint me a picture like that for my apartment! Anyways…back to my original thought, I wonder how my life came to this.

"Milord! Please! Open the door!" "No! I won't go! I don't want to go!" I screamed.

After several thumps to door, I realize that door could be bashed down easily. I pull a table to bar the door.

"Please milord! You're father will get angry!" a muffled voice came from behind the door.

"I don't want to go! I don't want to be a warrior!" I whined as loudly as possible.

Then all of a sudden, the door gets broken down. I try to hide under my bed, but to no avail.

"Cadderly, is this anyway a noble is supposed to act?" a grim and dour looking man asked me.

I crawl from underneath the bed and say "No father…"

I was 15 then. I hated being a noble because I had so much work to do. Everyday, one of my tutors would drill me in etiquette, swordsmanship, history, arithmetic, and so on. It was so boring! All I wanted to do was go out, meet cute girls, and play with my friends. I guess you could say I was lucky though. Since I was the youngest of 4 brothers, I knew I wasn't going to be my father's heir. So, when I failed to show promise in being a warrior, they just gave up on me. But that didn't stop them drilling me! I always thought, if I'm not good at anything, then why am I being taught these things?

On my 16th birthday, I managed to skip a tutoring session and headed for town. I was bound to get caught, so I decided to have as much fun as I could. I walked around town looking for some friends, when I met the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. She was just perfect! I knew I had to meet her. I trotted towards her, but I realized that she was busy working. Well ... she would stop for me…I mean…I was a noble and my family owned this land. I walked up to her and introduced myself. She realized who I was and immediately bowed. I asked for her name and she said it was Robyn. Wow…such a pretty name. I asked her if she was doing anything and she said no…it was interesting seeing her skip out on her chores. So we went off in search of fun, and eventually the search led us to a secluded forest. We climbed a tree and just sat there for hours, talking without a care in the world. I was in love!

After a few hours, I decided to give her a kiss. She didn't seem to resist, so I made my move. Just before I my lips would meet hers, the tree branch snapped. We fell about 12, maybe 13 feet. I landed with a groan and slowly got up. I went to see how Robyn was, but she wasn't standing. I reached for her hand, but it was cold. I went next to her and held her close. She wasn't breathing! I yelled and yelled for help, but no one was coming. I picked her up slightly and held her close. Tears started to form in my eyes.

"NOOO! Don't die! Please don't die Robyn!

I started to pray. I prayed and prayed that someone would come. But it didn't have to come to that.

While I was holding her, I felt a strange sensation throughout my entire body. I started to panic, but a soothing voice entered the back of my mind.

"Fear not…she will not die. You have a special gift Cadderly Deneir, and you will save her."

Not understanding what was going on, I let the voice guide me.

"Feel the power in your body and use it to save her!"

I had no idea what the voice was talking about, so I just decided to hold her close and kiss her forehead. At that instant, I felt an incredible rush of energy leaving me and entering Robyn. Moments later, she was awake. She asked me what was going on, and so I told her that we fell down and that she had been knocked out. I held her close as we leaned next to a tree and fell asleep.

We woke up the next morning and returned to town. I stopped by her house to apologize for her disappearance, and of course, the man had accepted. He wasn't going to get mad at the son of Lord Deneir! After dropping her off, I headed for home, wondering what had happened last night.

For the next few months, I researched all the possibilities of what had happened. None of the books my family had could explain, so I decided to talk to one of my tutors, and old sage named Mikkel. I explained what happened that day, leaving out a few minor details, and he told me what had happened.

He said, "It's called Faith Magic."

"What?" I asked incredulously.

He proceeded to explain the intricacies of faith magic and had known my potential as a priest. I asked why he never told my father, and he simply explained that Lord Deneir had no use for priests. This was a warrior household…he didn't understand magic or faith.

I realized that I had finally found something I might be good at. But I also realized that I would never be able to become a priest if I stayed here. From that moment on, I realized, what I had to do. I would head to Falcion and apprentice myself as an Acolyte. That evening, I grabbed some clothes and money and snuck out of the castle. Before I left town, I stopped by Robyn's place to see how she was. Against my better judgment, I decided to spend one more enchanting evening with her. It was a wonderful night and I'll never forget it…

"Hmm…very interesting piece." I said, as I'm viewing a new design in the new Museum. I move on to a chamber where only the faithful of the Mistress of the Arts can enter, kneel, and pray to Lady Andaras.

After my prayer, I head out only to see the same beautiful woman that was in Trista's Tavern. She appears to be wandering around, hopelessly lost. Well…is it just my luck or what? I head over to her and introduce myself.

"Hello, young and beautiful one.…I am Cadderly Deneir. And you are?"

Looks like things aren't so bad after all….

 

Choley

Class: Cleric
Race: Half-Elf

*this letter was sent to the library, a copy of the original* Dear Akama,

You inquired about my past in your last letter, which I recieved some time ago. The reason my response is so late is because you caught me at an akward time in my life, but I'll get into that some other time. The other reason this is so late because I didn't know what exactly was worth writing about. There are not many events worth writing about, really. But my dear father had once said, "It doesn't matter if its an extra-oridinary event, just so long as you think its imporant." I suppose he is right, since he usually is.

The begining of my life was at sea, born onto my father's boat, which he called Life Lover. My mother didn't want to raise me, a lot of people said she suffered from insanity and was an unfit mother anyhow. She was an elf, a high elf, and had met my father at a port. They had been together only long enough to get married before she disappeared. He had told me she was thrown from the ship during a storm and they could not find her. I guess he didn't want me to worry about suffering the insanity she suffered.

My father was a wonderful man, he raised me the best way he could. He was a human and captain of his own ship. That was all he had ever wanted in his life. I became a member of his crew when I was old enough, but we argued all the time because he didn't think I should grow up in that enviroment. He thought I should learn to become a proper woman, and sent me to school when I was 14 years old. During the summers I would sail with him and the rest of the year I sat in classrooms. Now that I look back on it, sending me to school was the only bad decision my dad had ever made. But he had the right intentions I suppose.

Five years later I graduated, majoring in clerical magics. One of my teachers had pushed me to study that, saying "Ladies should avoid fighting in battles, but if you are going to participate in them then you should be there to aid the wounded." In the end it worked out, I didn't mind learning magics and I loved the field tests. They would put us together with a few hired swordsmen and a few angry tigers. We were given missile weapons, but I bugged the teacher till she gave me a club. That was the only thing I will ever admit to enjoying about that school. And I did very well, learning how to attack while making sure everyone else was allright.

Anyway, after graduation I went travelling. I saw my father very little, but when we did see each other he was always very pround of me. I'm not sure why, since I lived my life camping out in the woods and hunting wolves and bears. I guess he just was happy I was alive and safe for the most part. I learned a bit about hunting, and improved my healing skills a little. Well, one day my old club broke in half and I went to Nexus city for the first time to see if it was any cheaper on weapons. When I first entered the place there was a large group of people standing around yelling about attacks on their city. I guess you know how it went from there. I joined the clerics guild, since healing was my only real skill, and was sent to falcion to work on my abilites.

Well, I'll tell you the rest when you visit. Get my father to bring you over, I haven't seen him in a long time now. And take care of yourself.

Sincerely with love, Choley

 

Dahlia

Class: Cleric
Race: Elf

::( One )::===============================

Dahlia had been born to a peasant family in the west of Altin, among the hills of Thornto, and she had spent her earliest years footloose in the wild places around her hamlets osier shacks. The animals had danced for her then in the moonlight, and a God had spoken to her at twilight of her future. No one else in the area could see or hear them, and she had been too young then to think that this was strange. A messenger had arrived in the village where Dahlia had lived for the last thirty years of her life; raising her children, healing the sick, and guiding her husband. The messenger had handed the village’s leader the roll of vellum which had been written on handsomely in the language of the Elves. Several villages near to the western Seas had been burned to the ground. No survivors remained, and only a field of ash was left as a remnant of the battle. The people nearby feared for their lives, and were calling for help from any who were brave enough to destroy whatever force that had been consuming the other hamlets. Over the next few days, the parchment and its plea for help made its way into the hands of Dahlia. She knew not whatshe should do, and so sought council with her Lord. Later that night, Dahlia turned her back on where her husband and children lay asleep, and spoke out for the God she had dedicated her life to. A darkly gleaming voice announced itself from outside the buddingrose garden. Dahlia retreated through the lane poplars to the lily pond, following the source. Leaning over the black water, she saw reflected in its rimpled surface a tall, young man with the blackest hair and long, tapered eyes that shone dark as a raven’s breast. He wore the opulent garments of a mortal nobleman: green linen tunic embroidered with flowerets of gold, brown leather leggings, and clumsy black boots. She recognizedhim at once as Erisar, Lord of the Battle and Hunt. Insects dimpled the surface of the lily pond as frenzied as rain, and Erisar, like a figure from a redundant dream, appeared as young and mirthful as she herself did. A faithful call echoed through her body, and she knew at once what the God was asking. A stick cracked behind her, and she turned around to see the cause of the disturbance. A young fawn stumbled from the bushes and stood with big, flickering eyes; its earsaimed forward like satellites. She cast a backward glance to the lily pond. The God was gone, and a toad peeked at her from under agreen coverlet of pond froth.

::( Two )::===============================

Cissa and Gareth had left the huts already and gone down to the river to spear for fish. They stood on their reflections in the shallows among ghostly boughs, ragged curtains of moss, and luminous egrets. Fish lit the black waters with glints and shimmers like stellar atmospheres, and at first the boys ignored theirmother's call. Dahlia waded toward them until the pulse of the river knocked at her knees and her voice easily penetratedthe green gloom. "I am called away. "The youngest, Gareth, splashed closer and plunged his spear into the mud so that he could grasp for hismother.

"Who calls you away, Mother?"

"It is a fateful call, child."

He bowed his noble head, and his brindled hair shone like the current in the river. She cosseted him, andwhen he looked up, his pale eyes shone with sorrow.

"It's Battle." Cissa knows. He pushed his spear into the mud and slogged to Dahlia's side.

She nodded and put her green-robed arms about her boys. Gareth pressed his face to Dahlia's shoulder."Are you going to die, Mother?"

She kissed his brow, feeling as though her heart had been thrown into the depth of a pool, and the waves were closing around the dream that was her life. "We all die, Gareth. How we live is what truly matters.You know that."

"I believe he means to ask if you are coming back to us." Cissa said, and swallowed. She met the dread in his eyes with a steady calm.

"I don't know," she answered, and kept all her grief coiled tightly between her ribs. "That is why I have come to say good-bye."

"Mother, let us go with you," Gareth pleaded. "We are old enough for battle now. We will protect you."

Dahlia took his chin in her hand and spoke to the back of his eyes. "This is my own battle, Gareth. Soon enough, you will have your battles to fight. And then, you must be as brave as I must be now. Help me to do what I must by promising me that you will be brave and strong in your love of your home no matterwhat happens to me."

Then she looked to her eldest, and spoke, "Remember, Cissa, all I have taught you means nothing if you forget your limits." She stepped back from them, and her slender pale hands retreated from touching them to cover her breasts. "In my heart I carry the memory of you both. In your hearts, carry me. Look for methere."

In a steep meadow above the river, a goblin weavemaster waited for Dahlia. As he paced through the rye and the bushes of purple mallow and orange daises overflowing in late, rough-headed blooms, he dragged a blooded dwarf after him. It would have to eat soon, but before he would bother with that he wanted to be done with the priestess. She and her husband had the power to undo all his troops had worked so hard at doing, and he would not stand by and watch his forces be embarrassed by an army of elves. Dahlia ascended the hillside through marigolds and eyebrights from the river gorge, continuing passed the small dwarf and its master. Magic turned like smoke in her, folding into itself and pushing out, growing stronger with her fear that she will never see her children again. In the secret place of her core, Dahlia suddenly sensed the presence of the weavemaster and whirled about to face the creek and her children. The goblin pulled a blanket of magic over him into the shape of the children’s mother and followed the small path down to the riverbank, over the sun-stained slopes to the large boulders around the nucleus of the creek. Dahlia's body had frozen; the dwarf loomed near to her, keeping her at bay from screaming for her children. The voices of her happy sons shriveled to screams as silver flames engulfed first Cissa, then Gareth. The two brothers collapsed, their flesh boiling from their bones. The world whirlled around Dahlia’s essence, and she dropped to the grass-covered hill in an instant.

Through the murky vision of her eyes, Dahlia saw a strong, blurred arm reach for her neck; and in the same instant, it disappeared, leaving a warm pain like nettlepricks in her neck. Her arms dartted up and clasped a throat band in the same instant that the spectral bone face of the blooded dwarf veered toward her, its spidery fingers already finding agonizing entrances into her skin.

Dahlia felt as fluid as poured water as prayer chants echoed through her mind. She called out for her Lord to take her soul and return herchildren to their lives, yet no answer was heard. She stood up, her mind still covered in a thick blanket of fog. Her brow wore a stamp of determination as her body was guided up the hill, away from the corpses of her children. The skin of her face shone with the gift of blood that the dwarf had left untouched. Firepoints glinted in her sight and shadows stiffened before her. She continued up and over the hill; her whole body shook to the bone as the images of what she’d seen permeated her mind. Her body finally gave up and she slipped to the ground.

Her head began to pound and her flesh felt slick and feverish. With one final breath, her mind gave up the struggle and she blacked out. Images swirled in a pool of despair within her intellect, calling forth the face of Erisar and the feelings of love her children filled her with. Her husband’s strong arms gripped her with a powerful embrace, bringingher senses back to life and awakening her mind.

::( Three )::==============================

Atop the torched hills that peered down toward the village and the rocky coast, Aelle sat atop his formidable warhorse. Each charred tree of the seared forest around him stood erect, like a scaly stylus, against a sky swept raw and blue by the previous day’s storm. The ground, still faintly breathing vapors, hissed as his men drew up behind, and a smoldering stink of blackened scog tainted the air.

All the creatures of the forest were gone except for the crows perched on the flame-frayed boughs like living pieces of the dead landscape. They silently surveyed the infernal waste with him, and watched the world veer away to its rocky margins and to the shining surmise of the sea. He gazed beyond the crisped ash parapets to the sea, wondering when the next wave of invaders would arrive and if he would prove strong and able enough to withstand them. The chemical music of autumn filled the summer air, and sparks like faeries spun through the slant afternoon light. An august presence of leafsmoke and frosty emptiness lingered in the air, drifting east from the seas. Through the brume, he spied what had stampeded an entire village. A veritable behemoth walked the earth.

It was a cancerous thing - spraddle-legged, imperfect, and malformed, its huge, tuberous shape hung with flesh like leper-rags: swinging and slobbering its misshapen head on a delirious neck of parasitical lace, the lumbering thing emerged from behind the hills big and warty-shouldered as the hills themselves.

"What abomination is this?" Bedevere yelled, his big horse sidestepped and rolled his eyes like a paradedancer.

"It’s a dragon made of cold fire!" a nearby wizard declared. "The goblins have created and provoked it!"

Aelle sat enthralled with fright. The dragon’s breath wheezed smoke from a face like an earth-fetus, brow lobes cankerous, peeling away in fleshy tatters where the skin had split and pink bone shone among fungoid scabs and horned growths. Eyes colorless as phlegm glared from the torn and grotesquely swollen head in a rage of agony as the beast shambled, moaning through the scalding sunlight.

"Daylight burns its hide!" Bedevere called out. "The dragon suffers under the sun!"Bedevere gawked in horror at the leviathan’s warped stride, its bedrock claws plowed the ruined fields witheach step. "Are there more upon the land?"

With a bone-jerking blast, the answer came: The dragon’s gruesome face unflanged a jaw that opened deep as a cliff into a gorge of teeth and blue-hot fire jetted from its maw.

The blaze consumed half a dozen sheep and left oozing twists of black bone in a pool of melted earth that bubbled like tar. It’s hunched shoulders unfurled to spiked wings, and tattered membranes between pinions of varnished bone snapped like whips in the updraft of its broad span. The vortex it spun toppled the running villagers.

Aelle reached for a burlap sack upon Bedevere’s jittery horse and unwrapped his sword. Its star blue blade mirrored the cindered world around them cold and clear as the cognizance ofa vigilant mind.

"What are you doing?" Bedevere gnashed, pulling with his one arm to hold his massive horse steady. "The risk is too great! Sheathe your weapon and let us flee from here, Aelle!"

"This is the evil that infests our countryside," Aelle said, taking the shield in his left hand. "This is what my Lord brought me here to confront. Now I will fight it."

"Not now, Aelle!" A soldier flung a terrified look to where the colossus bellowed, peering through the steam of its own smoldering flesh for its prey. "You must direct your warriors."

Aelle swung his palfrey around, aimed her to charge and rode off. The wizard nudged the mule out of the open into a field of gray winter grass and dragged the struggling Bedevere after him. From that partial cover, they stared transfixed at Aelle, who rode full tilt over the ashen terrain, kicking up clouds behind him. In his right hand, his sword spun, flashing stars of sunlight through the sulfur smoke.

Bedevere stabbed his saber into the ground and leaned on its hilt, heart thick in his throat, mouth agape.

The dragon had spotted the charging horse and swung its obscene head toward the shouting rider and hisbright sword.

Aelle pulled Straif up short and stood the palfrey on her hind legs, sword swinging over his head.

With a bellow, the dragon veered toward him, yellow steam wafting off its saurian hulk. The villagers fallen in its shadow scrambled to their feet and ran off wildly.

The gills of the dragon’s rib cage pulsed in rhythm to its roaring stride as it descended on Aelle. The man lied flat over his steed, and the wizard, who had lifted himself to his knees atop his mule, stood straight up, and said in a voice barely audible in the shuddering air, "He’s talking to her! What in Erisar’s mercy is hesaying to her?"

"What?" Bedevere croaked. "What is he doing?"

"He’s talking to his horse!" The wizard wanted to turn away. His heart pumped in its darkness anddrummed in his head.

The jet of blue fire from the dragon’s maw blasted the air like a stroke of lightning. Bedevere shouted withalarm.

"Aelle!" Bedevere cried when he saw Aelle atop Straif lunging through the dragonsmoke.

The wizard blinked. The palfrey had listened to the man! She had not panicked under the blows of heat and bone-shaking thunder, nor under the stink - the lung-sore stink of the monster. With dazzling speed, Straif carried Aelle beneath the flame swath and between the dragon’s massive claws. His sword winked like a star as the man swung it upward into the torn leather breast of the creature.

A scream ripped to the horizons, and the gigantic beast staggered upright, its cable-thick tendons stretched to their twisted limits. With one heaving throe, the dragon tore into gusty auroras and vanished. From over the creases of earthen hills, the goblin hoard spilled into the valley, weapons raised and warflags flying. Bedevere shouted out the command to charge and the elven army rushed toward the enemies overthe cindered lands.

::( Four )::============================

Dahlia slunk onward, belly against the ground, to her horse shadowed against the broken yolk of the sun. She rode over sun-torn hills and finally arrived at the basin where the troops last were. The confusion of the ensuing battle engulfed Dahlia. It had already begun, and without the proper blessings of Erisar she was stunned at the very real abandonment of her faith by her husband. The sepia battlefield before her glowed with eerie, muffled lights and smoky flares. Renewed sounds of struggle resounded dully through her head, and a strong voice shouted from the deep, encouraging her to ride on. She rode through the phantom landscape with her sword braced against her pommel ready to swing right or gouge left. Before her she saw the veiled wagon of her fellow priestesses and aimed her horse for the surrey. The women saw her approach and when she arrived, they pulled Dahlia from her steed like a wet rag and carried her into the carriage to drape her over a bed. She glowed pale as a candle. The charred pain of her children’s deaths crisped in her, and she sensed within her womb for the lifeforce of her new babe to ensure its safety.

"I must know, Dahlia." A young priestess spoke softly to her ear, awaiting the nod from the woman. She placed her fingertips on Dahlia’s wrist, and detected a slicing whine in the wind that seemed to whistle from low in her pelvis. "You bleed!" she cried in alarm. A subtle flex of her iris told her she knew.

"Can we save the baby?" The young girl asked the other healers and took Dahlia’s chill hand in her own. She shook her weary head and watched her through narrow, tired eyes. The inexperienced cleric’s eyes shimmered with silver. Dahlia gripped the woman’s forearm and pulled strongly enough on her body to pull her down on the bed beside her. She spoke to her mind with images of the battlefield; charcoal scrawls of pyre smoke revealed her husband, Aelle, sitting in the mud, whole yet hollow-eyed. "He suffers." The priestesses in the room nodded silently to each other and rushed from the carriage, leaving but twonurses with Dahlia. Aelle remained on a knoll over the battlefield. He stared up at the lovely darting of birds and at the fields of death on all sides. The whistle of fate threaded his heart. Aelle, dazed speechless, mute, dreambound, could not seem to focus his will long enough to pray and could feel his life seeping from the deep wound in his chest. His eyes slowly closed, and the image of his wife flashed momentarily before his heart slowed its rhythm and gradually stopped. The priestesses lead him away, shaking with misery to have found him dead and shivering dreadfully at the sight of him covered in gore with eyes so glazed they looked likemuddy jewels. Dahlia crouched alone in one corner of the carriage, pressed up against the wall with her knees tucked under her chin. The Priestess who had stayed behind to care for her had long ago left after relieving the knotted, searing pain in Dahlia’s stomach. Tears flowed freely down her face, attesting to the pain she feltfor the losses she suffered in just one day. The priestesses sent out to retrieve Aelle gradually returned to the sheet-covered surrey to tell Dahlia the news. Many wrung their hands nervously, eyes glued to the floor as one of the older women began to speak. The look on their faces told Dahlia everything she needed to know, and she knew the words would be too much for her to bear that day. Before another word could be uttered by the other women, Dahlia’s hands wrapped around a small, sapphire orb and she disappeared from sight. When she finally woke from sleep, Dahlia found herself in a small, well-kept park beside a fountain. Large oaks towered over her and the fountain, allowing only thin slants of light through their branches. As her tear-stained eyes finally focused in the cloudy light, she was able to make out the figures pressed into the fountain’s metallic side. The two Brothers smiled down at her from their perch over the water. Dahlia’s heart softened its beating as she realized she would be safe there.

 

Ellwynn

Class: Cleric
Race: Elf

In the days preceding The Rejoining, a rumbling was heard throughout the passageways of Tilnar's Vein. It was a time of turmoil for all of elvenkind, namely the Dark Elf, traitors to the Sylvan, and the possessors of the Dark magics. Turmoil caused by Kyorl's new found following ... the disdain of the Woodland brothers ... and the concern of the lost souls that could neither accept the future Kyorl offered, nor lose hope in the dream of returning to the ways of the Light (Elves). The "Grey" Elves know there destiny and hope to move quickly to defend there interest in the murky depths of "Tilnar's Vein."

Standing watch in the swirling mist, Domaline wondered what was held in store on such a distinct evening. Distinct in the fact that, the battle lines seem drawn. The priests of Tilnar feel that the news cannot be avoided. If the reports are true, then this night cannot pass quietly. It seems that the temple of Kyorl has been destroyed, and the ranks of the Drow following Kyorl seem to grow. It is to be the beginning of the end for may this eve.

As a scout of those who have called themselves "Grey", Domaline stands watch over one of the many secret passages that have been built to protect the rear portion of Tilnar's Vein. This is not a surprise, many in the community knew it would come to this eventually. " It is a wonder, these passages have not been found, it is hard to believe we could have out smarted the Drow so easily ... to gain control of the rear of the caverns and push the evil Drow out ... It cannot fail." gloats Domaline.

Domaline shivers as he is aroused to the sound of battle horns, explosions, and the clanging of cold elveN metal. "It cannot be ... how ... I have never ..." In a flash of fire, Domaline realizes that he has dozed, missing the enemy scouts, and even the first line of attackers. The fire was that of a Mage in rear lines of the aggressing Drow. Quick to consider his plight, Domaline realizes that he is considered dead ... A scout behind enemy lines.

As he slowly creeps from his station, he slowly heads for the surface. "It is my only hope at this point." Domaline shudders. At the first joining tunnel, Domaline is met by a group of patrolling Drow. Bolting, Domaline gains a quick step on the now pursuing patrol. Turning a number of dark corners, he directly enters the grasp of a Dark robed gentleman. " Going somewhere?" stated the robed figure. " I suggest that you follow me."

Stepping through an invisible entrance, Domaline follows the robed figure. "Quickly boy, the fight goes badly and the priests wish to close the passages to the lower realms." Dumbfounded, Domaline mumbles "Who are you?" (Silence) " Quickly boy, we have no time!" In the next instant, the figure has disappeared in the swirling smoke. Following to the best of his ability, Domaline swiftly navigates the haze yet, he can see no more than a swirl of smoke and the sounds of a swishing robe. Even his infra-vision seems to be little help ... everything seems to appear hazy. "This must be a line of defense that the priests have created ..." ponders Domaline.

As this warped sense of reality snaps back into focus, Domaline looks across a large chamber ... a Hall?, Tomb?, Temple? ... a Temple! ... deeply buried in the deepest reaches of the Vein ..... Stepping out on to the marble lined floors, the echo is deafening.

No sooner than Domaline can marvel at the existence of such a work of beauty, shots ring out throughout the temple. The sanctuary is alive with the sound of arrow flight, shot, and magic auras. Snapping back to grim reality ... Domaline notices that the robed figure has cleared two thirds of the Temple. He yells back: "Hurry boy, your life depends on it!"

As Domaline clears the first quarter of the temple, a deafening rumble is heard throughout. A large stone slab seems to glow, slowly sliding toward a small passage as the last of Tilnar's faithful pass through. As Domaline reaches the passage the boulder nearly covers the entrance. Amidst the commotion, the robed elder has turned back to make certain the young scout will reach the gate in time. As Domaline reaches the robed figure, he catches a glance of the hooded man's face, in horror he sees himself, only older and very concerned ... time seems to slow as the truth becomes obvious. Domaline stumbles as a fiery pain rips through his side and knocks him forward. As his chest slides across the polished floor, the scout feels a second burst of fire as an arrow pierces his thigh, dragging across the marble, scraping and opening the wound further. As Domaline looks up, he sees the opening about to close ... only to feel to large hands drag him forward ... then an explosion, and darkness ...

Awakened, by a shooting pain and the smell of death, Domaline looks up seeing a glimmer of light. The rest of the surrounding chamber is full of rubble, death and thick impenetrable rock. Following the rubble upward, there seems to be an escape. But for now ... Darkness

Slipping, for the third and final time, Domaline screams in agony. Having scaled half the distance, only to fall, leaves Domaline tried and his thoughts cloudy. In the moments before his next departure, Domaline looks to the light, in its midst, riding a sunbeam, his sees a pixie-like creature, fair in feature, and light in contrast with this darkest hell. "I hear your screams and it disturbs me, I feel your pain ... as do all who have passed on to Brother Tilnar, yet you continue to survive..." "Take hope young man, for through perseverance and desire you will succeed." As the vision left him, again darkness consumed him...

As the last five feet haunted him, he could feel the teasing of the cool evening. Strength at an end, Domaline gritted his teeth and pulled until, at last, he breathed the fresh air of the forest surrounding him. He laughed to himself, as an owl called for its mate, and the stars swirled ... again darkness consumed him ... Waking, Domaline finds himself in a room ... heavily bandaged, and sore. He is looked after by a young Elven healer. She goes on to introduce herself as the village healer, having studied in a distant village in the Northern reaches of the Eldane. Domaline, curious for knowledge outside of the world he knew, occupies much of this healers time. Being that there ages are similar, they seem to find the company comforting. As the weeks pass, Domaline becomes attached to Geylwynn's company.

As history suggests, this small community, shuns Domaline, eventually withdrawing courtesy, and suggesting that he move on. In addition, Geylwynn is found to be pregnant and follows Domaline, in search of a fulfilling life. These two find each other to be fascinating, and live together, forming a small hunting and trapping community deep within the Eldane. Domaline and Geylwynn have two boys and continue to work on there family as the small community begins to grow as misfits and the exiled are taken in, in an effort to give them some self worth.

The story tells of Geylwynn's devotion to the spreading of Hope throughout the community. Through action and deed, Geylwynn assists any person who asks for help. No request was usually denied.

As fall approached, Domaline wished to take a load of Furs into town. Convincing his dearest Geylwynn that the trip was safe, they departed for Nexus. With the two young boys in tow ... both yet nursing, they traveled south east to the town of Nexus. Within two days of Nexus ... the two met a band of battle worn soldiers. Geylwynn, to stubborn to think better, stopped and agreed to assist the band in there time of need. The party was worn, having lost a healer, and two warriors in there hasty retreat. It seems that the lands surrounding Nexus have been under siege by groups of marauding Goblins. As night fell, all would be lost...

Both Domaline and Geylwynn where found dead ... the band of soldiers dead ... and the only reason the story can be told, is that rumor has it ... A wizen old man in a dark robe carried one soldier to Nexus, and a Basket containing two young boys...

As for one of the boys ... Ellwynn, remembers little of the fateful night. Ellwynn was raised in the chapels, workhouses, and back alleys of Falcion. Running from merchant stand to merchant stand, stealing a dinner where he could. However, as a young adept, Ellwynn has little memory of his ancestry, save for a tattered leather gipser that contains his belongings ... a small dagger, a rabbits foot, and a small bronze medallion that reads ... "May Pandora Light Your Way..Hope Guide Your Journey" Geylwynn and Dormaline

 

Epiphany

Class: Cleric
Race: Sprite

Strolling into the tavern with a great big grin Epiphany flits over to the table where the researcher is sitting and makes herself comfortable on the bench.

"Hi! I was told you want to know where I comes from." She winks happily and sets back to tell her tale.

"Well lessee. Well I don't remember too much of some things. My daddy was a healer type like me and I didn’t have any brothers or sisters cuz my mommy passed away". Frowning slightly she continues, "my mommy was beautiful but she got real sick and my daddy tried and tried but he couldn’t fix her. It made both of us really sad when she died. Daddy went into his bedroom and didn't come out for days!. I did all the things around the house and tried to be brave for my father. He might have been older then me but he needed me to keep him going." Giving an affirmative nod she crosses her legs and continues, "one day I decided to go get my daddy some flowers, there was a big, big field just outside of our house and until then I was never allowed to go because my dad said I was too young. But with him in bed and all I thought I was big enough so I left early one morning and snuck out to the field" A soft smile spread across her face as she twists a strand of hair around her finger "it was so nice that day, the flowers were so pretty and smelt so good! I think I wandered too far though, I remember some big things running up behind me and laughing. I got grabbed up by one of them and they smelt just horrible! They were very rough too. I tried to fight them away but I was too weak". Frowning again she looks down at her toes concentrating. "They hurt me, I don't remember much after I got grabbed but I do remember waking up. I was in a dark foresty place and I could hardly move. My wing was in a lot of pain and I didn't have any powers to heal myself like my daddy could. I used all the energy I had to climb up into a tree cuz I was worried those things would come back and hurt me again. I fell asleep in that tree and stayed there for a couple days. I ate the fruit from the trees and drank the morning dew to help me get energy back".She looks up from her toes and smiles brightly "that's how I met Quasinart!." Grinning happily "he was traveling away from his hometown and practiced some magicks on the tree I was in, it kinda hurt when I fell out but I was so happy to see someone nice! He took pity on me because I was lost and let me join him. We walked forever; on our journey Quasinart helped me develop my healing magicks. When we arrived in Nexus we decided that I could get someone to help me find my home from there and kinda split ways." Idly picking at a spot on her dress she continues "I really wanted someone to take me home so I searched high and low. That's when I met Avanis. He was a healy type and he helped me learn more magicks and he showed me what good we do in Nexus helping all the big guys fight the monsters that threaten everyone. He also took me home to see my father, but I had decided that I had to stay in Nexus and do all the good things I can do. The powers my daddy passed on to me may not have helped my mother but they have helped many people in the city and I am very proud of that! My father was very happy for me and he wished me luck in the big city. I go back and visit him often just to make sure he is doing okay and that he is eating right. But I know my spot is in Nexus helping all the people I can!" Giving one last bright smile she winks "that's my story, it's not much but it's the truth." Shrugging a bit she flits out of the tavern.

 

Firsban

Class: Cleric
Race: Dwarf

Firsban was born in a small home just outside of the Nexus. His father was a proud warrior, from a long line of warriors. Firsban, however turned out to be somewhat of a disapointment. Realizing that his calling was not that of a fighter at an early age, Firsban spend most of his time reading, writing or praying - praying mostly to the Goddess he felt closest too - Pandora. When he tryed to explain to his parents he wanted to follow a God other than Erisar, and do something other than join the city guard, they were out- raged. His father forbid that any son of his was gonna disgrace the family tradition, and not become a mighty warrior. So Firsban trained for many years as a fighter, under his father's watchful eye, but at night, he would still read about the Church of Hope and offer prayers to Pandora. Over the next few years, his father became very ill, the healing herbs and medicines seemed to do no good. So the family sent Firsban into the big city of the Nexus to find someone to help, perhaps one of those Clerics. As he wandered up and down the streets, he came upon the Church of Hope. He found an ancient old man inside, and asked him to come to his house with him, to see if he could help his ailing father.

When the returned to the house, the old man moved with the urgency of someone half his age, with a skill and knowledge that dazed the young Firsban. After examining Firsban's father, and saying a long prayer to his Goddess, the old man stood, laided his hands on the sick man. A soft glow enveloped the old cleric, then it slowly spread to the sick old dwarf. The grey cleric smiled, wiped a bit of sweat off his forehead, bowed deeply, and walked out the door. At that same moment, Firsban's father's fever broke, and the color began to return to his cheeks. Seeing what great miracles the people of faith can perform, Firsban asked his father once again to let him follow his calling as a Cleric, his father, having just come close to death, and perhaps still a little groggy, gave him permission.

So Firsban packed his bags, and started of towards Rymek, to find that sloop he had heard of.

 

Freuden

Class: Cleric
Race: Half Elf

### Excerpts from Freuden's journal, lost somewhere on his journey

I have never kept a journal before, and I am excited about this one. Maybe someday, when I finally complete my training and leave this accursed place, I can look back on this and smile. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself... perhaps I should start at the beginning.

My name is Freuden, and my first memories were of a small grass hut in the farming community of Salshire. My parents were both farmers, though my father had the additional duty of archiving all town records and accounts. Growing up, I realized that I was... different. I was not like my parents, nor was I anything like our neighbors. My parents (bless their souls) would deflect my ceaseless questions, telling me instead to concentrate more on the historical documents my father kept as part of his job. (When I was young, it was my delight to sort through and organize these documents. It was through my constant contact with these papers that I eventually taught myself to read.)

Over time, however, my parents finally decided to tell me the truth - I was not their son. They had found me as a baby lying in a small bed of grass on the edge of one of their fields. It was then that I realized why I was different. The entire population of Salshire was exclusively human, and I was a combination of...elf... and human? This was almost too much for my young mind to comprehend. After hearing my parent's story, I immediately went to the hut's only mirror and followed the lines of my ears with my finger, perhaps truly noticing them for the first time. Ah, for the age of innocence!

I was never able to discover anything about my elvish heritage. Despite that fact that the only culture I knew anything about was human, I could not establish a rapport with any of the townspeople. They never had much contact with "outsiders", as they sometimes referred to me, and they shunned me everywhere I went. My parents seemed to support me, of course, but even they did not choose to stand up to the entire town. Because of this attitude, I spent much of my time indoors, poring over the endless papers my father kept.

One day, (by the Gods, I will never forget that day!), I came across a very old packet of sheets bound together. As I leafed through them, I saw that these papers were nothing like the boring account records I had come across before. This packet was a journal kept by Lirdac, a healer from this very town!

I was so mesmerized by this story that I read it from beginning to end without stopping, then read it again immediately after that. Lirdac described a place called Nexus, so called because it is the "focus point" or "center" of All Races. He also described the arts of healing in full detail, how to focus the power of the mind to aid the body's natural rejuvenation. I was fascinated. For the first time, I found that I could help others. I thought that maybe if I learned the clerical arts, those around me wouldn't turn me away everywhere I went. And so I began to train myself, slowly, over a long period of time, using Lirdac's narrative as a guide.

And so that brings me to where I am now. Over the past several years, this desire within me has become a passion. I feel that I am ready to get out, to see this wondrous city! I feel like I can save the whole world, if I can only get to it!

*sigh* I am finally on the road. Last night, while everybody was sleeping, I packed what few belongings I had and set off in the direction (as I could best determine from Lirdac's notes) of Nexus. In one way, I feel sad to leave my parents, but I know that they will secretely be relieved that I am gone. It is time for them to get on with their lives, as it is time for me to get on with mine.

 

Galvin

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

In the small mountain hold of Killek, hard times indeed had fallen. The village was constantly raided by goblins, trolls, whatever was hungry. The only thing that saved them from occupation by the goblins was that they had nothing of value to offer. And so they tried to survive, using the nearby caves for shelter and protection when necessary. One such cave was used to tend the wounded, and was all too full of late. Little Galvin spent much time in that cave. He had a knack for tending the wounded, becoming quite adept at not only bandaging wounds, but at finding herbs and roots to be used as salves.

One day, after a raid, Galvin was helping bandage some wounds when an old man he had never seen walked into the cave. Galvin was too busy tending the many wounded to notice that the man was watching him. Galvin felt a hand on his shoulder then, and thought he saw a flash of light, but when he turned, the old man was gone. With more wounded coming in, Galvin quickly forgot the incident.

As the years passed, and Galvin became a young man of 12, he returned to Killek from picking some roots, and noticed several fires in the village. Fearing another raid, he rushed to the caves to help. He found his mother in one of the cots, badly injured. He rushed to her side, past the villagers who tried to stop him. Her wounds were too deep they told him, she would not last long. Galvin cried out that he must save her, and acted on instinct, lowering his head he put his hands upon his mothers, as he raised his head, his body was wrapped in white light.

The villagers quickly stepped back, taken totally by surprise and in some fright and alarm. As they watched, the aura of light spread from Galvin to encompass his mother, where the light touched, open wounds were closed, bruises disappeared. As the light faded and his mother breathed with much greater ease, Galvin pondered what had happened. somehow, *he* had done that! He had reached inside himself and managed to pull that power from some inner resource. No, he corrected himself, he channeled the power, but the power was not his alone. That lay somewhere to the east, and he had to find it's source!

As he thought on it, Galvin was more and more convinced he had felt something similar before, then suddenly a memory from years ago returned to him, of an Old Man and a flash of light. That was it! The light, the touch of the light felt just the same, but who was the man? All he knew was that he was drawn to find the source, drawn to the east, and he must go find his destiny.

The next day Galvin prepared to leave. There was little opposition, for even though his mother was almost completely recovered, the villagers still feared him, and now kept a respectful distance from him whenever he walked about. He gave his farewells to his mother, and set off east. How he made it he would never know, he had narrowly avoided the goblin patrols time and time again. But lately he felt he was getting closer to what he was looking for. And then he came upon the walled city. As he watched from a safe hiding place, a large band of goblins approached the gates, which appeared to shimmer. The goblins tried to smash the gates, tearing at them, throwing magic in the form of fire and ice upon them, but to no avail, the gates held. Eventually, the band gave up, and walked back the way they had came. Galvin approached the gates, wondering how he would ever get inside, but surprisingly the gates posed no barrier to him, and he walked inside the city. Galvin walked about for a time, in wonderment as he passed people of races he had only heard of in story, there went a dwarf for certain, and there was surely an elf. He stopped after awhile, realizing he knew not where to go, when a man approached him...

Galvin smiled as the man, no, not fully a man he realized, noting the pointed ears, approached. "Hello," the man smiled, "My name is Naranek, you appear to be new to the Nexus, may I help you?"

Naranek showed Galvin all the wonders of the Nexus. When they entered Aalynor's Temple, Galvin stopped still. This was it! This was the source of the power he had channeled! Naranek had trouble getting Galvin out of the temple to continue his tour of Nexus. When they finished the tour of the Cleric's Guild, Galvin had made his decision. He would join that Guild, and he would learn to use his gift to the fullest, for the cause here was just and right. In time, he was sure he would follow Aalynor, as he knew that somehow he had always followed the path of the light, and that he was somehow empowered by it.

Time passed quickly, Galvin gained stature at a fast rate, his healing abilities becoming known through the city. Always Galvin turned to the church of Aalynor for support and comfort. And when he felt he was worthy, Galvin approached Vesper, the Child of the light, to petition to follow Aalynor. Galvin felt his greatest honor is his life, when Vesper informed him he was accepted, and placed the mark of Aalynor upon him. Now he felt he truly belonged here. This was truly his destiny.

 

Gifford

Class: Cleric
Race: Gnome

Gifford the gnome was a insatiably curious little fellow as all gnomes tend to be. When he was but a child he would tend to wander far afield from his home in the gnomish village of Korg in the slate mountains. He would collect specimens of rock, insects, and even small animals. He did this in an effort to understand how they were put together and how they worked.

Naturally, after he had been about this kind of business for some time he discovered that he really did understand the forces of life to some small extent. He began to strike out farther and farther on his hikes trying to find creatures who were hurt. Quite often when he found one who was hurt in some small way he learned that he could nurse it back to health. As time passed he found that his ability to heal creatures became more and more powerful and he could nurse back to health creatures that were much more damaged than even he thought he could manage. Unfortunately, this drive to heal and this curiosity got young Gifford into trouble.

One afternoon Gifford was far from his home and quite busy tending to the wounds of a rabbit who had been slashed by the claws of a fox. The rabbit had escaped from the fox, but was very badly hurt. While he was about this intensive study of the rabbit Gifford was oblivious to anything else going on around him. A group of ugly creatures he had heard of called goblins surrounded him and began slapping young Gifford about! Gifford was terrified at this treatment. He begged for his life. He noticed that one of the creatures was wounded. He offered to try and help the creature if the group would let him go home afterwards. One of the goblins who spoke a bit of Gifford's language shrugged and indicated that the gnome could try. Gifford laid his hands upon the arm of the goblin who was hurt. The slash was long but not too deep and it had barely begun to scab over. The young gnome tossed some herbs into a pot of water and kindled a fire under it. When the water was warm he bathed the wound in water containing the healing juice of the herbs. Then Gifford bound the wound in strips of cloth from his pack.

After a few hours Gifford removed the cloth and the goblins could see that the wound had healed cleanly. The goblins became very excited at this and grabbed up young Gifford. They started shouting and gesticulating at each other exclaiming at this feat of minor healing.

Gifford protested that the goblin had said he could go home after healing the wound. The goblins however ignored him and kept arguing. The upshot was that the goblins took Gifford with them when they left the mountains. Eventually they came to a large goblin settlement named fango.

In fango, the largest of the goblins brought Gifford to a place where even larger goblins worked in a large building pounding and shaping metals about a large fire pit. Gifford's captor spoke at great length with the largest of the goblins in what gifford learned was called a smithy. The two goblins argued for a long time. Eventually, however, the largest goblin nodded and pulled out some shiny metal coins and gave them to the gnomes captor. At this point Gifford's captor left the building chuckling.

Gifford was shocked! He must have been sold. Gifford didn't understand why a goblin would sell him to another goblin. The large goblin whose name appeared to be gorf poked Gifford and pointed to another of the goblins. That goblin had a bad burn that must have come from the fire ore one of the hot pieces of metal.

Gifford sighed. Obviously, the large goblin had bought him to work as a healer. The young gnome brought out his herbs and set to work.

The goblins kept Gifford supplied with herbs for his healing and fed him but the goblins were very clumsy. They tended to burn themselves quite often. Gifford began to despair. He always had hope however that he could some day escape.

As gifford learned the goblin language, he heard about their god called Novind. Gifford thought this was some kind of deity associated with the power of chaos. This being the only deity young Gifford knew about he began to learn more about the power of chaos. He discovered as he thought upon chaos that his healing ability became more powerful.

At first, this delighted gifford. Then it began to frighten him. Was he becoming too much like the goblins for whom he was a slave? Gifford resolved to find a way for chaos to work for him. He speculated that if he could learn about chaos that he could also learn about how to minimize chaos. He meditated upon the nature of chaos for long hours in the forge when his healing was not required. He discovered that he really could begin to understand the disorder in the injuries he tended and minimize the chaotic quality of them and thus heal them.

Hope began to spring up in Gifford's heart at this discovery. If he could improve his ability to heal by understanding chaos then maybe he could find a way to escape from captivity also. Gifford began to hope more and more that it might be possible for him to escape. He found that like his study of chaos that when Gifford felt especially hopeful that his healing abilities became magically stronger.

Gifford decided to abandon the power of chaos and focus only on the hope of escape. As he did this he found that his healing abilities became stronger and stronger.

Night after night Gifford slept dreaming of hope. Doves came to him in his dreams and spoke to him of hope. Gifford was delighted at this. He was delighted, yet he was becoming a very powerful healer through thinking of the power of hope all the time. Gifford didn't know if he should be using this wonderful hopeful gift to be healing people who had enslaved him. Gifford wanted to heal other beings like himself who would appreciate what he could do and also had hope rather than chaos in their hearts.

Finally, one evening after gifford had been locked in his bare room he began to pray that hope would allow him to heal nice people rather than nasty people. For hours and hours he prayed to be allowed to use his gifts in the service of whatever power that there might be that guided hope. A dove appeared before Gifford and sang to him. Gifford's heart was filled with joy! Could it be? Could it be?! Could he escape this place and join with others who also had this dream within their hearts? Gifford began to speak to the dove concerning his dreams and his prayer. "I want to find a place where I can use these extraordinary gifts to heal to help people to fight against despair which is the enemy of all." At this, the dove began to shine. It shone brightly and even more brightly! The dove flew to the wall and a shining door appeared before it and it flew into the light.

Gifford rejoiced! Had his prayer been answered? He dove through the light and found himself in a lovely room! He found himself before a huge marble fountain with two statues of youths frolicking in the water. Gifford felt wonderfully at peace with himself and able to pursue his dream!

 

Hellfire

Class: Cleric
Race: Reni

Hellfire sat in his small room at the back of Madame Despana's, the month of Twilight was upon Nexus, rain pummeled the roof above him, and he quietly marked another birthday.

He sat with a pen and parchment gathering dust before him. Slowly but surely, his hand moved toward the pen. Grasping it in sweat covered hands, Hellfire dipped the pen in his ink well and began to compose a letter 11 years overdue.

*******************

Dearest Parents,

I hope this letter finds you well. Although it has been almost twelve years since we spoke last I still think of you often and of our last painful, angry parting...

******************

As he writes, Hellfire begins to wander back through time in his memories to his childhood. Born over one hundred years ago, he was still born too late. What once would have been a lifetime spent in peaceful study and contemplation, has turned into a lifetime filled with war and destruction. The reni, once pacifists, had learned to fight and kill and no renies learned that lesson better than his parents.

Once upon a time his parents had been no more hostile than any other reni. That all changed one fateful day three centuries ago. Drakan and Sinead were both wizards and had one child, a boy named Safus. Children being rare in a species so long lived, Safus was doted upon. He became Drakan's and Sinead's world. For nearly fifty years they nurtured and taught Safus preparing him to be a wizard such as themselves. Then the goblins came... They attacked the Reni killing, maiming, and torturing all those they could find.

Drakan and Sinead went to help with the defense of the village. The fight was long and vicious. Eventually the goblins were driven back. When they returned to their home, they noticed the door slightly ajar. Fearing the worst they rushed in and were greeted with a grusome spectacle. While the main goblin forces had attacked the village from the front, assassins of hate had snuck into the houses of the reni killing all the children they could find. Safus was found... His body was nailed to the wall and his mouth had been filled with his own heart. A message on the wall proclaimed, "Death to the reni!"

Drakan and Sinead were driven mad with grief and vowed revenge. While strong wizards both, they knew that they lacked the strength and training to take that revenge themselves. They decided that night to try and have another child. One that might grow to be the wizard they couldn't be. One that might wreak havoc upon the goblin hoarde. For two centuries they tried....

*******************

A lightning bolt lit up the room where Hellfire was writing and he looked up for a moment before continuing his letter. "....learned much in Nexus and yes I am doing my part to help defeat the goblins. I know you probably still resent the way I have chosen to do it...."

*******************

After two hundred years, Drakan and Sinead finally conceive. Once again Sinead gave birth to a boy and like before he became their world. This time, however, things were different. Interested only in their plans for revenge, the baby was tutored only in the destructive uses of magic. He was given a name to reflect their desire to see destruction visited upon the goblins. He was called Hellfire after a powerful and ancient spell. Hellfire learned his lessons well. He learned to abhor the goblins and to want their extinction. He took readily to the magic. He learned to control it quite well, but Sinead and Drakan noticed that his spells weren't as strong as they might like. His magic seemed to fight the destruction. It mattered not to them, he was young and they would forge him into a weapon.

Ninety years passed and Hellfire grew and learned. He learned the basics of magic and how to use missle weapons. He was taught goblin tactics and how to defeat them. He studied everything his parents deemed necessary to make him a weapon of destruction. However, despite their best efforts, Hellfire studied something not on their agenda....the girl next door.

Born ten years after him, Chalsua had been a constant fixture in his life. As he sat in his room studying day after day, he saw her going with her mother to run errands, working in her family garden, reading books, or just sitting outside enjoying the weather. She was the most beautiful creature in his world and Hellfire fell in love. He frequently dreamed of meeting her and even asked his parents one day if it would be ok. Afraid that he would lose focus they forbade it.

Not one to give up easily, Hellfire decided one day to practice his fledgling ability to send messages mentally. As he sat at his desk pretending to read an ancient text on the effects and applications of various potions, he watched for Chalsua. Eventually she came outside to work on the garden. As she was weeding, Hellfire concentrated on her and tried to project his mind to hers. He eventually made contact, startling her. After her initial shock, she recovered and discovered that she could send back. From that day forward they talked daily. Through these conversations Hellfire discovered that there was more to life than destruction and the goblins. Chalsua talked to him of philosophy, of religion and the gods, of poetry, of the beautiful uses of magic, and of love. After several months of talking, they decided to risk a face to face meeting.

They decided to meet on the night of the New Year festival when all the village would be gathered and even Hellfire would be allowed to leave his house. On the night of the festival, Hellfire contrived to separate himself from his parents in the crowd. Sneaking quietly to the edge of the village he met Chalsua in the light of the full moon. Trying to reduce the risk of getting caught, the two young reni snuck off into the surrounding country- side. They walked and talked for what seemed hours, absorbed completely in each other. A loud noise startled them from their revelry and they looked up to find themselves in an ancient cemetary, confronted by a Tel'ri'vak.

The Tel'ri'vak lunged forward attacking them. Hellfire and Chalsua turned to run, but she tripped on a fallen grave stone. Hellfire quickly helped her too her feet, but he was not quick enough...The Tel'ri'vak managed to infect Chalsua with a disease. With Chalsua already feeling the effects of the virus, the two young reni stumbled back to town, deperate to get her some help. Halfway back to town Chalsua failed. She could walk no further she needed healed. Hellfire gently laid her down on the road and tried to comfort her. As she began to fade, Hellfire saw a light down the trail and called out for help.

What Hellfire thought might be Chalua's salvation was his parents out looking for their wayward son. They were wizards Hellfire thought surely they can help her. Sinead and Drakan rushed forward and looked upon the fallen girl. Hellfire begged them to help her, but alas, they could not do a thing. They had spent so many years learning how to use magic to destroy, they had forgotten how to heal. Chalsua died soon after her head cradled in Hellfire's lap.....

*****************

A noise from the room above startled Hellfire from his remembrance and begins once again to concentrate on the letter. "My mistress Pandora has recently appointed me as an emissary for her church, this position will allow me to help more people and guide young clerics in the arts of healing..." Once again Hellfire drifted off to a time past...

*****************

After that fateful night things were never the same for Hellfire, he began to resent his parents. Their focus on destructive magic had cost him the life of someone he loved. On his hundredth birthday, Hellfire informed his parents that he would be going to Nexus to become a cleric's apprentice. His parents were shocked and outraged by his seeming betrayal. They alternating begged him to stay and threatened to keep him there. Hellfire stood steadfast before them saying that as a healer he would be able to help the forces of Nexus defeat the goblins. His parents would hear none of it and told him to just leave and never come back....

So the next day Hellfire woke early and left for Falcion to start a new life.

******************

Hellfire stopped writing and listened the rain had stopped. He checked his water clock and found that it was past midnight and the eleven year anniversary of the day he left home. He looked back to the parchment in front of him and finished the letter.

"I hope that time has softened your view towards me and that we can once again talk and be a family. May Pandora's Hope be with you both.

With Love
Hellfire, High Priest of Pandora,
Harbinger of Hope,
and loving son."

 

Jocelyn

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

Jocelyn shifts, clearly impatient, as she glances at the pile of paperwork that she could’ve taken care of an hour ago had the scribe not shown up.

The scribe looks up from his notes and speaks. "I gather that your parents sent you to Falcion because of your lack of discipline."

Jocelyn rolls her eyes, starts to respond, and then seems to change her mind. "Let me ask you a question. For the past hour I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what your job is. Are you here to irritate me with your miserable attempts to analyze my life? Or is your goal simply to waste my time? Or are you attempting to somehow supplement your boring existence by conjuring up some grand tale about my life that doesn’t really exist?"

Realizing that her paperwork is a lost cause, Jocelyn pushes it away and stares at the scribe. "I have answered your questions as simply as possible. Yet, amazingly, you’re still here. You seem to be waiting for me to tell you that at some point I lost my entire family in some tragic battle, or a village burned down, or I was captured by goblins at a very young age. If that's what you're looking for, you came to the wrong person. I lived a happy, peaceful life, on a boat, with a mother and father and no siblings. I was mischievous, worried my mother constantly, and entertained my father with my antics. All in all, I had fun, and I enjoy the opportunity to take occasional trips with them now."

Jocelyn stands and brushes herself off. As she hands water to one of the warriors that guard Lord Erisar's courtyard, she continues. "During the time you've sat here attempting to fabricate some great story about my life, I've received several telepathic questions from heroes with valid concerns. One hero has a question about our quest to close the portal in the goblin camp that I am organizing. Another has concerns about the letter the Council recently received from the Elders of Rymek. A potential follower is waiting to offer me a report about his quest. A fellow church member would like to discuss a new Code of Conduct that we are drafting. And that," Jocelyn points to the paperwork that she abandoned, "is far more important than this nonsensical conversation we are having."

Jocelyn holds her hands out gesturing to Lord Erisar’s courtyard and the castle. "This is my life. Serving Lord Erisar. It's as simple and as complicated as that. It's what is important to me, and it's what I enjoy doing. I am an emissary of Lord Erisar's great church. And I am a huntress. If you would like to write about any of the things I just mentioned, then you have a story. If you would like to discuss battle tactics, you are in the right place. If you need me to prepare a group for battle or lead the group in a hunt, you are talking to the right woman. I do not speak baby talk to children, I do not lavish the weak spirited with hugs and gentle words, and I do not take hours away from the duties my Lord has assigned to me to sit wistfully dreaming of the past. I enjoyed it, it is over, and now I have responsibilities to take care of."

Jocelyn walks over and picks up her paperwork. Just before she disappears behind the doors of the castle she turns and says, "You know, if you wanted to talk to a starry eyed woman with a burning desire to tell stories about the past and nothing but time on her hands, you should've met with my mother. I'm sure she would be delighted to talk for hours about something really meaningful." Jocelyn smirks and continues. "Like the one time she actually managed to get me to sit still long enough to put ribbons in my hair, how adorable I was when she was finished, and how quickly I tore then out of my hair the minute she left the deck to cook dinner." With a sarcastic grin, Jocelyn turns and walks into her office, leaving the scribe speechless.

 

Lance

Class: Cleric
Race: Not known

After a very long day fighting her way through the crowded streets of al'Oronta, Lillia was weary, yet she could not sleep. She tossed and turned in the small bed built into the back of her wagon, listening to the pots and pans banging together as the wind rocked her small, ever mobile home. Why had she decided to become a merchant? She should have listened to her mother. She would have enjoyed following her mother's healing crafts, helping adventurers that wandered into their small village, as well as keeping the population of the village safe from the disease that plagued the land....

But that is not what was bothering her. She was too intelligent to lie to herself. Much as her mother did not approve, Lillia did enjoy her life. She enjoyed seeing new people and new places, and she was still able to make use of her healing talents fairly often. She really did love her life. No, that was not what was bothering her... She could not quite put her finger on it!

Just then, Lillia's concentration was temporarily diverted by a sound from the other bed. She got up, walking over to the small cot where her older son, Lance lay. Lance was young by elvin standards, yet he was wise for his age, and beginning to grow into a man. It seems that the healing tradition of her family had found its strength in her young son, and she was often surprised by both his power, and his abilities. As she bent down to see what was troubling the lad, she noticed the look on his face. He was dreaming again, and Lillia wondered what about now. She did not understand why her son was plagued by these dreams, but they often scared her, especially when they came true. She reached down, shaking Lance awake.

"Where is he!? Where is he!?", Lance screamed. It took several moments before he realized it was a dream and noticed that he was in his mother's arms. He pulled himself away, not wanting the comforting touch... He had great love for his mother, yet this did not seem the time for her comfort. He had never had a dream that real or that intense. Usually his dreams were vague, cast in mist and shadow, and yet they often came true. He had no doubt in his mind that this one would come true, and it was not the time for his mother's warm and tender touch. He would have to be the man, now... He would have to be the one to comfort her. Rhidak, his father was dead... it was as certain to him as if he had seen the body. He had to break it to her.

As Lance looked into his mother's eyes, he felt as weak as if he had spent the entire day pulling this wagon by himself. His stomach churned, and he felt as though he would faint. How could he tell this woman he loved so much that her husband was dead? How could he tell her that her husband had not been at the tavern, but rather fighting off the goblins from the city walls? He just did not have the strength to break her heart... not yet. He had to think, to find the right words. It was not a task he looked forward to.

Lillia looked down at her son, wondering what was troubling him so greatly, and why he would not tell her. She knew it must be important by the look on his face, but she knew better than to try to pry it out of him. Lance had his father's stubborn will, yet he would tell her when he felt ready. She just had to wait.

As Lance started to get up, he told his mother that he had to get some air. He started donning his clothes, just slowly enough to keep from making his mother worry, yet not at all dawdling. He could see in her eyes that something was bothering his mother. Perhaps she had a feeling that Rhidak was gone. Perhaps she just saw the turmoil in his own young eyes. In either case, he knew that he would have to break the news soon, but he needed to think.

As Lance left the small wagon they called their home, he tried his best to prevent the door from squeaking. His mother would worry enough, no need to wake the baby. However, as he walked away from the wagon, he heard a cry, muffled and tiny. Perhaps comforting his little brother would keep his mother from worrying as much. Perhaps the sweet, innocent look in Jaquar's eyes would comfort his mother before she even knew why she needed comforting.

Lance wandered the streets for hours, wondering how he would break the news to his mother... wondering what he would do with his life, and grieving the death of his beloved father. He vowed that night that he would make the goblins pay for what they had done to his family. He reached into his pouch, turning the magic token his father had given him. He knew what it was for... and he knew that he would be using it soon. It gave him some comfort that he would be able to avenge his father's death, but there was no wisdom to be found that would help him comfort his mother.

Just then, Lance was brought out of his inner struggle by an outer one that was much more immediate. He was nearing the city wall of al'Oronta, and he started to hear screams. Several villagers were running past him, away from the city wall, their eyes full of fear. He could not quite tell what was going on, but he felt a feeling in his gut, one of sheer terror. Something was very wrong, something perhaps greater than even the death of his father.

As he approached the city walls, he stopped one of the fleeing villagers just long enough to ask what was going on.... "The goblin hordes have broken through the Northern Gate! The guards say the Eastern gate is about to go as well!" the young woman said as she fled in terror. It was then that Lance's heart began to leap in his chest. The death of his father had been such a terrible event that he forgot the goblins for a moment! His family was near the Eastern gate... he just had to help them before he lost them, too!

Lance could not believe his fear as he ran back toward the wagon. He was not fearful for himself, but for his mother and baby brother.... 'How could I have been so stupid!?', he thought 'To fear telling my mother of Rhidak's death to the point that I forgot the danger to her and Jaquar?' He ran as fast as he could, his heart pounding against his chest, his lungs burning with the cold night air, his eyes watering from the smoke of the city, and of the fires starting all around him. He had to save them... he just HAD TO!

It was then that a large Ogre man ran past, perhaps running to save his family as well, perhaps running to help in the battle, perhaps just running. Lance barely had time to see his face as he was plowed over by the massive body. The chaos of the city had prevented the man from seeing the small elf. It seemed like time slowed down to a crawl as Lance started to fall. The man had not meant to push him, he had not even seen him, but that did not negate the effect of his skull hitting the paving stones of the city streets.

Lance awoke to the smell of smoke and death. As his vision cleared, he noticed that he had a headache beyond belief. Casting the only healing spell he could in his condition, he finally was able to stand. He began to swagger toward the place where his mother had parked the wagon the night before, barely aware of the burned buildings and dying people all around him. He had to save his magic for his family... no time to help those around him, nor even himself. He had to find them, he had to find them. He tried his best to hurry, but he was in bad shape, and barely able to walk. He saw a little girl wandering before him, and a thought registered in the back of his mind... where is HER mother? He tried to talk to the girl, but she ran away, crying. Perhaps he was a scary sight.

As he neared the commerce district, he began to hurry, not quite able to run, but staggering faster and faster. Broken and half-burned wagons lined the streets, their owners devastated by the loss. Fewer owners staggered about than there were wagons... Tthe attack must have been fierce and swift. As he neared the wagon he had called home for as long as he could remember, his subconscious noticed that two of the wheels were broken, and the wagon was badly damaged, yet his conscious mind had only one goal. He pried open the door, hoping to find his mother alive and well. What he found tore a hole deep in his soul. His mother lay on the floor of the wagon, surrounded by blood. He hurried to her, hoping to find her well enough that he could heal her, but it was too late. She was not dead yet, but every spell he poured into her failed. Every effort he tried to mend her wounds was hopeless. She was in a state of delirium, crying out the names of his father and brother, more concerned for their wellbeing than her own. She looked into Lance's eyes, tears rolling down her face, and cried out one last time for Jaquar.

Lance looked down at the corpse of his beloved mother, crying. He had not found his brother in the wagon, and did not know where he was. He could still feel his life force, so he knew he was well, but Jaquar was no where to be found.

Lance began to wander the city, looking for his baby brother... the only one that remained of his beloved family. He talked to everyone he found, but no one had seen the young elvin boy. He began to lose hope, when he found Gariak, an old human bard who had been a family friend, often traveling with them from city to city. Gariak did not know where his brother was, but he had seen him. He knew that Jaquar was alive and well. It was not enough to compensate the loss of his parents, but it did bring warmth to Lance's heart.

Lance spent the next two months in the city, looking for a sign of his brother. He heard stories that the elvin boy had been rescued by a human woman, yet she was no where to be found. He mourned the loss of his mother and father, but more than anything, he wanted to find his brother. Jaquar was all that remained of his family, and he had to find him. Lance followed every shadow of a shadow of a clue, and yet came up empty-handed. He could not find a trace of the human woman that had rescued his brother, yet he felt in his heart that Jaquar was alive.

It was three months to the day from the raid that had killed his mother and father when Lance came wearily back to the room over the smithy he had been calling home. The blacksmith and his wife, having known his parents well, had been kind to him since their death, putting a pallet in this storeroom for him to sleep, and not charging him anything for his stay. They were a sweet couple, and Lance was very grateful for their hospitality. His supply of gold, which he had taken from the wagon before it was chopped up for firewood, was quickly dwindling. He did not know how much longer he could spend looking for his brother at this rate.

Lance disrobed and headed off to bed. He had spent the entire day seeking out his young sibling, and though not manual labor, it was an exhausting task. He made a small prayer as he drifted off to sleep that his brother was still well, and that he would find him soon.

Lance had not dreamed at all since that fateful night, so he was surprised to find himself in dream. A thought floated on the edge of his mind that he should not realize the fact that he was in a dream, let alone be surprised by it. He looked around, and found that he was surrounded in a white mist, which had no beginning, nor no end. His entire surroundings glowed with a mysterious light that seemed to have no source. He began to realize that this was no ordinary dream. Suddenly, a soft, yet powerful, female voice seemed to come out of nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The voice seemed comforting, and filled him with love and hope. "Lance, son of Rhidak, you have come to me in hope that you find your lost brother, Jaquar.", the voice said, ringing in his soul "He is alive and well, and you need not worry. The stories that he has been adopted by a human woman are true, and you should not concern yourself with his wellbeing. He will be raised well, and you will meet him again one day. Look no further for your brother, he will find you when it is time. Make your way to the wandering city. Claim your place in the ranks against evil. One day, you will be reunited with your brother, but the time has come for you to follow your fate. Have Hope."

Lance awoke early the next morning, knowing what he had to do. He dressed quickly, and sat on the small chair by his pallet, not quite ready to give up the search for his brother. However, the pull of the dream the night before was stronger than anything he had felt before in his life. He took the magic token out of his pouch, thinking of his father as he handled it. It was time. As Lance concentrated, he channeled a small spark of power into the small coin, part of him hoping it did not work. He was not ready to give up his three-months search, yet he felt the pull of destiny at his soul. He closed his eyes and said the magic chant. Suddenly, he heard the sound of running water. As he looked around, he found himself at the Fountain of Dreams. It was time to meet his destiny.

 

Lasher

Class: Cleric
Race: Reni

It all started a very long time ago.... a young reni stood amongst his peers, a bright smile upon his face. They were debating the tenants of wizardry versus the power of following a diety. Lasher really did not care for either at the time and stated his case... "Why not just live your own life, power in itself does not make a person, so why worry about such issues.." Grimroth turns to him with a sneer on his face, "Always like you to take no side Lasher, you were always a coward. I myself think the power from within is greater than any given to you by a diety. Magery is the way I shall go." Of course another reni piped in, Halworth turns and just smiles, "The power of a diety given unto another will always outstrip that of within. No power in all of Altin can compare, nor the ecstacy of giving ones heart and soul to a diety".

Lasher just listens as one after another, the reni's in his group try to make thier point, yet Lasher was not moved at all by any of thier oratory and decided to take a walk. He turned to his friends, "I can not say one or the other is better, but I know my path, and it will be one of love and happiness, I care not for power and what it brings" Of course, as Lasher was leaving, Grimroth pipes in, "Of course Lasher our little pansy, go on your way now, and leave your betters to our discourse". Most in the group just ignored Grimroth's comments, but some nodded and that upset Lasher to no avail as he walked away.

He walked through the town, then outside the walls and out into the wilderness, where he sat beneath an oak, older then any he had ever seen before. Lasher starting to think on what he really wante d to do with his life, soon it was going to be time for the choosing, where those of his age were chosen for apprenticeships and he had no idea what he wanted to do. Soon he was nodding off beneath the tree, a gentle spring breeze blowing through his hair, cooling his body. Dreams came and went, none worth mentioning, when he was suddenly awaken by bell tolls from the city. He woke up quickly and turned towards the north where the city stood. Gongs and bells of all sorts were tolling like he had never heard before. Lasher thought to himself, "What can it be, an attack... no not out here, we are too secluded, it can not be". But, he rose and started to run towards the city as fast as he could.

Lasher ran until he was gasping for breath, and then he walked, always moving towards the town. The skyline started to fill with smoke and Lasher began to worry, a boost of adreniline flowing through his body, he launched himself towards town. He arrived to something he would never believe in all his nightmares, everwhere he looked were dead bodies littering the streets and buildings... Of the attackers nothing could be seen, Lasher heard moaning everywhere, but of sounds of fighting..... nothing. He looked around for anyone he could help, but could find only the dead, until.......

He arrived where his friends were talking when he had left, and low and behold, someone was breathing....... Grimroth. Lasher gently bends over to aid his companion, even though Grimroth always was the one to tease Lasher. As he bent over, Grimroth's hands grabbed onto Lasher's shirt, "Help me, please... help me....." he gasped out. Lasher had no idea what to do, when a feeling came about him and he spread out his hands, touching Grimroth on the forehead.... "Thy energies return!" he chanted, and as the power flowed out of him, Grimoth started to revive, it was then that Lasher awoke under the tree as if nothing had happened.

He shook the wariness out of his head and quickly turned towards town, nothing had changed at all, besides the hour of course. No bells tolled and no gongs rang. Lasher stood and began his long trek back towards town. His eyes looked about him in a totally new life. Spring seemed more vibrant, the animals, the flowers, the grass and the trees all seemed.... more alive. His step was more lively and he seemed to walk on the wind towards his home with a realization in his mind now what he wanted for the rest of his life.

Time turned and months passed, Lasher and his friends became busier trying to persuade those of the professions they had chosen to pick them as apprentices, but Lasher did it in a way not all the others did... Everyday he went out into the fields and sat under that tree, and everyday he dreamed something different. Some were useful and others distressful, but everything he had learned from that tree had meaning. Then the fateful day came and all gathered in the center of town for the naming.

One name after another were called off of the rolls, and one by one his friends walked off with the one who would apprentice them for the next 50 years of their lives. Lasher though was not called, knowing that the best spots were always called out last, he was enlivened by the thought he may be picked by a Patriarch or even the Head Minister himself of a chosen faith. Then he heard his name, only 2 others stood beside him, Grimroth and Halworth. Lasher started to walk forward as he was presented to...... Theologion, head of the city hand...

Lasher did not know what to think.... could this be his purpose in life, he followed Theologion and spoke not a word, but his mind wandered a mile a minute. He knew he wanted to help others, but Theologion was an administrator and Lasher had decided under that tree that he would follow his heart and pledge himself to a specific goddess on day. He even knew when the day would come from the dreams under the tree, but was this how it would all begin?

He worked tireless hours with scribes and bookkeeps, dignitaries and heads of the churches. Lasher woke before the sun came up, and went to sleep well past sundown each day, tirelessly he worked, but he knew something was wrong... One day Theologion came to him, "Lasher" he said in his bubblebee tone, "you progress in your studies rapidly, better then any other I have ever seen, but I sense something wrong in you son..". Lasher did not know what to say and just looked up at Theologion as his head lowered a fraction, "I can not tell what it is Master, but I just feel like there is something calling to me...". At this Theologion just grinned as he asked me a question that sent me rocking, "Son, have you been to the great tree to the south?". Again Lasher was fumbletongued, "Master, I have spent all my free time resting under the tree..". Theologion just smiled widely, "And what son, did the tree have to tell you?". Lasher just shook his head, "Master, it told me things I could not fathum, but I know this, I am not meant for this, there is a calling from the south and I feel if I do not go, something dreaded may happen" At this Theologion just nodded and rang a bell, and in came Trinbar, Theologion's son. "Is everything ready Trinbar?" Theologion asked. To this Trinbar just nodded and in appeared a porter with many packed bags, which he dropped at Lasher's feet. "Lasher, your calling has come, to fail it will be your death, to pass the test of that is to come, will make you happier in life then you can ever feel elsewhere. It has only happened but few times before in the life of this town that another has had the callling, and each who decided to ignore the call died soon thereafter of unknown reasons.." To this Lasher nodded, his head lowering slowly, he then smiled, hugged Theologion and Trinbar, picked up the bags and never turned back.

Many months he traveled, in realitive safety, until one day he arrived in a town named Rymek. The quaint little village seemed homey to him, though he felt a pull towards the water. He walked through the town towards a sloop and looked into a deep mist upon the water. Taking out the last bits of gold he possessed he payed the sloop master, and ended upon Falcion......

 

Meridia

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

The painting draws you nearer and nearer with it's fine detail, nearly begging you to study it more carefully. It's subjects seem to veritably breathe and blink with every brush stroke. Set in the grand foyer of a manor, high painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and white marble floors only add to the dramatics of this piece. One could imagine walking across the entry, listening to the eerie echoes of your footsteps bouncing off the muraled and shadowy walls. After admiring the outer regions, your attention is drawn to the unusual number of characters actually standing in the foyer. Piling through the great oak doors is a fleet of elven sentry, each wearing a bright and colorful uniform, gripping their sheathed swords with fixed eyes. Peeking through the hall doors with wide and frightened expressions are human servants, maids and butlers, all wearing spotless black and white suits and dresses, some carrying dusters and cloths while others hold silver trays.

A human man with raven hair stands in the midst of the sentry, slightly bent by the weight of the elves. His arms have been pulled and held behind his back by a thick white cord. He looks out with a tired but arrogant expression at a young girl before him.

The grim mood of the painting changes as you examine the child, who's light blonde curls fall around the shoulders of the pink frilly dress she wears. Her bright cerulean eyes sparkle with anticipation as she reaches out to touch an elf kneeling before her. Her tiny fingers have grabbed hold of the elf's nose and he is laughing at her. A sickly pale woman stands off in a darkened corner with a drawn expression, as if she is going to collapse. Both of her hands hold her face and partially shield her eyes from the scene before her, but an elderly lady with silvered hair sits beside her, leaning into the light. She looks at the child with a warm expression and smiles.

In the bottom left hand corner is a flighty signature written in royal blue naming the artist as Meridia Faith Alexander, Child of the Arts of Andaras.

 

Milead

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

For Milead, life at home was always a constant challenge to prove his worth. He was the middle child of seven children, and the 'odd' one, when compared to the others. He was born into a tribe of warriors that was proud of its colorful history, full of battle honors, successful campaigns, and decorated heroes. His father, Freedin, was no exception. He had earned his title as chief of the tribe because of the bravery he showed in the latest campaign. Though it was one of many, this particular one was important because he had managed to lead his small army to victory against a violent breed of cave trolls that threatened the tribe. Again, this would be no important thing, except for the fact that the entire tribe consisted of only humans. However, during that bloody battle, he was bit and infected with some sort of disease. It was known to be a fatal disease, but somehow, he managed to live, though he never recovered his full strength. Freedin spent his remaining years teaching the ways of the warrior to his children, and anyone else, who sought his guidance.

This tribe, Angeloss, was civilized, but was still a fierce society. They believed in the existence of the Gods, but they chose not to tamper with the Weave in any way and went against the ways of magick. This had not always been; According to their history, the last known paladin in their tribe was said to have lived 300 years ago. Historians contribute the decline and fall of paladins in Angeloss to 'the day and age'. It was said they were jealous of the stronger warriors and concentrated more and more on strengthening themselves physically, ignoring their faith and church duties. And it is known that when you ignore your faith, your faith ignores you, and they quickly found that they could no longer reach the weave through the aid of their Lord. So instead, the tribe turned to science and practical medicine. Even though it was less effective, it served their purposes and sometimes saved lives where magick would have failed. This is not to say magick does not exist within the Angeloss tribe. Every generation, a new shaman is born. They don't possess the skill to fight as well as the others, and are generally weak since birth, but their clerical powers are highly advanced.

This was Milead's case. He was weak from birth, and always last to finish in training. However, a new shaman had already been born a couple of years earlier and was training under the aged priest, who would soon die. The fact that Milead also showed no talent for magick and that only one shaman could be born per generation led to the assumption that he was simply a lazy child. Of course, his father would not have this and made a personal vow to whip his boy into shape, even if it killed either of them. So Milead went under rigorous training. He had heart; there was no doubt about that. He pushed himself nearly as hard as his father did. But he always fell short of his father's expectations in any form of combat, stamina training, and speed. But he made up for this by excelling in his more academic lessons. His knowledge of first aid was impeccable and his craftsmanship was superb. Of course, to actually forge a weapon took him much longer than the others, since he had trouble swinging the hammer, but they always turned out much stronger and sharper. This did please Freedin, but he still wasn't satisfied completely with Milead, so the harsh training continued.

It wasn't until Milead was fourteen, a late age to show signs of new ability, that he finally felt a higher connection. He couldn't describe it, it was just as if his eyes had been closed for so long, and his eyelids were finally beginning to flutter. He was instructed to go visit the young priestess, the new shaman of the Angeloss. While she did recognize the signs, and could sense his power, she couldn't help him much beyond that. And the old priest had died a couple years ago, leaving Milead with few options. Training under a rookie shaman who barely understood her own power would do him no good, and training to be a warrior may very well lead to an early grave. And he was too proud to be treated like an old veteran and taken care of for the rest of his days during his youth. His father, after giving it some thought, finally suggested something out of the ordinary. He should go to the distant Falcion, the island of apprentices. It was only odd, because this had never been done before. The people of Angeloss had always done well for themselves and never even had to speak to other societies, much less ask for help. But he could see no other option, and also saw it as a good opportunity. The stubborn cloud of pride had lifted from the eyes of Freedin in his old age, and did what he thought best for his unique son. He had all the potential to be a great cleric, and the basic knowledge of a fine warrior. While he could never be a paladin who has a grasp on both worlds, Freedin made sure to let Milead know that because of the effort he put into the work, despite his weaknesses, he was very proud of his son. He honestly felt like he had accomplished the vow he made ten years before.

Milead, never having been the emotionally attached type, left early the next morning with a nod and simple good bye to his father and the rest of his family that were awake for either training, or to see him off. And so, began his quest.

 

Naranek

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

Tresell`enda walked in the Sylvan Forests of her people, gathering herbs, and plants, for her healing spells. She was the Spelldancer of the small Elven town of Shi`Linette, and her life was devoted to healing, and helping others. It was a life that she was happy with, and her rewards were the thanks of her people, all the reward that she ever needed. She stepped off a small deer trail, and headed deeper into the cool Forrest. She spied a rare flower, in bloom, that carried immense healing potential, if properly prepared, and headed for it, with a small grin spreading over her delicate features. Her Crystal green eyes registered, first shock, then fear, at what greeted them. A man lay near the flower, in the deep undergrowth, with a large red stain covering his side. A broken spear tip protruded from the center of the stain. She immediately went to work, Incanting her most potent healing spells, and she put her many questions to the back of her mind, for the moment, however one lingered in her thoughts . . .what was this person?

The mans eyes shone with wonder, as he gazed out, over the small town of the elves. Never before had he seen such beauty, such balance with nature. It brought a smile to the rangers face. All he could remember was running from an incredibly large group of Goblins . . .a sharp burst of pain . . .then looking into a pair of crystal green eyes, the likes of which he had never before seen, as far as he could remember (which was not much.) Only a slight tenderness lay in his side, and from the wound which he had, that was a small price to pay for his life. The small town was governed by a group, called the elders. Elders the man thought with a laugh, the youngest one was 400 years old! They were quite reluctant to allow the man to stay, even until he had healed, But, Tresell`enda had argued on his behalf. The elders were still reluctant, but they could not dismiss the spelldancers wishes. Few of the elves in Shi`Linette even bothered to talk to the strange human, but the few that did, found him to be quite interesting. Tresell`enda came out, and laughed slightly, at seeing his face so full of wonder. In that moment, the spelldancer felt something she had never before felt in her 235 years of life, a stirring deep within herself. A thought came unbidden to her mind, Love? Could I actually be falling in love with this man?

The child looked around the village with wondering Crystal green eyes, one of the traits that he had received from his mother. He had often played this game that his father called Hide and Seek. The elves laughed lightly at the young boys searching. The elves loved this child, so few were born in the village, and his mixed heritage did not even cross their minds. His father had found a place in the hearts of the elves as well. He never could remember his past, and only few things before Tresell`enda had rescued him. He had no name, and the elves observed him, trying to find the right thing to call him. Shinecto was what he was named, the translation was akin to Dream Searcher. The boy ran forward, and climbed up a tree, to tag his fathers leg, and giggling, jump down.

The young boy (for he was that to the elves. His age was about that of a teenager, much younger by elven standards, and older by human standards,) chanted slightly, and placed his hands, that were glowing blue upon the elfs arm. The burn seemed to withdraw, and then vanish. He smiled to the Elder, as he looked up. "You are finding your powers, little one," said the Elder, as he pat the boy on the head. The boy mentally sighed . . .will they never stop calling him little one? The Elder left the small room, and talked to Shinecto, who was waiting outside. The young boy rolled his eyes, and looked at the shelves of ingredients. He, or rather, his mother was running low on some special spices. He decided to go out, and gather them, that night.

Naranek ( elven for child of hope) plucked a small Fire Lilly, and placed it gently in his pouch. He looked up, suddenly, feeling something was wrong. His pointed ears pricked, trying to hear. His almond shaped eyes scanned the forest, then it came to him . . .the village. Smoke rose up in the air, and he heard the alarm go up. His home was under attack! He started for the village, quickly. Hiding behind a bush, he saw Creatures, overrunning the village. The creatures matched his fathers description of Goblins. He heard the screams of his friends as the creatures swept through the village like a plague. As the alarm was answered by nearby villages, the air was soon filled with arrows, each striking a Goblin target. The Elven bows sung loudly, in defense of their wielders. He saw his father run out of his small house. Immediately, 5 Goblins jumped upon him, stabbing . . .laughing . . . His mother let out a scream, and ran to the pile of creatures, her hands glowing a fierce red. Many goblins died at her hands, before she was run through with a short sword. Tears ran down the half-elfs cheeks. He turned, and ran heavily, through the forest.

He was running for his life, 7 Goblins chased after him, two wore robes, and the rest had armor. His legs burned with the strain, and he had no idea where he was running to, but still he ran. In the distance, he spotted lights . . .a city, perhaps. He now had a goal, and ran all the faster, his lithe body sprinting at its fastest. He felt a stab of pain at his back, and went rolling forward. He was looking into a starry sky, wondering how he had gotten on his back, when a putrid face was looking into his own. "Grik Talla!" One of the robed creatures came up, and said in a gutteral voice, "he wants gold, I would give it to him, if I were you." The Creature atop him ripped his pouches away, and tore them open. So many spices, and herbs . . . but not a single coin. The creature stood, and raised a large Battle axe, poised above Naraneks head . . .What a curious expression thought the boy, perhaps glee? The goblin dropped forward, and the boy rolled to the side. He saw a clothyard shaft sticking out of its back. The Goblins looked to this new threat, and the boy was up and running.

Naranek stumbled through the Gate, bloody and bruised. His robes hung at his sides in tatters, and he wandered through the city, seeing only a haze of images. He walked through an archway, and saw a large temple. The feeling of hope entered him, and he walked into the temple. He soon stood before a statue that seemed to be looking into his soul. He lay down, and wept, for how long he had no idea. When he awoke, he found himself looking into eyes so beautiful, his breath caught in his throat. It seemed as though the statue had come to life, and stood above him, he knew he must be delusional. His wounds were healed, at least, his physical ones. He sat up, and looked around. He was alone, in the temple, but felt that this place was where he belonged. He felt as though he was not alone, and never would be again.

 

Nathalie

Class: Cleric
Race: Reni

As I look up in the sky I notice that the sun is covered in dark clouds. At this sigh I sigh and thinks about birds in the sky, and the sun standing high shining down on my beloved city, Nexus. Is I am daydreaming a scribe approaches me.

- Hello, My name is Delron, and I am a scribe.
- Hello Delron, says I.
- Are you Nathalie, the priestess and follower of Aalynor?
- Yes I am.
- Would you like to tell me your life story to me? He asks
- Why would you want to know that? I reply
- I want to write it down and put it in out library here in Nexus.

Me having nothing else to do agrees to tell him the story, and we walks off to Tristas tavern.

When we enter I order a meal, and sits down with the scribe at the other side of the table.

- Want something to drink? I ask the scribe.
- No please, I would just like to hear the story, he says and gets ready with the quill.
- Ok, here we go, I say and starts:

I was born in a village pretty far from Nexus. I had 2 older sisters and 1 older brother. My mother was a cleric also, although we did not call it cleric in out village. My father had just left us, just before my mother got pregnant with me. When I asked my mother where he had gone, I never got a straight reply, only lose answers. I was not very old, and did not think much of that. The years passed and we lived happy in out village. When I was about 50 I discovered that I had in some strange way, the ability to heal people, and my mother taught me one of the simplest spells she knew, namely Vigor.

When I had learned that spell good, my mother started to take me with her when she healed persons. And there I learned about how to cure different sicknesses, infections, poison and other things. When I noticed that my mother had two ways of dealing with it I asked how she did it.

- My daughter, she said, yet you are to young to learn these spells.
- Ok, I said, and walked of to the patients a bit sad.

Many more years passed and when I turned 100 there was a huge party to honor me, the daughter of the healer. There I found a boy, Elision, whom I fell in love with. Later that year we got married and I moved into his house. But then disaster struck out hometown.

It was a later night, and me and Elision where cuddling in our bed when we heard a frightening battle cry, and suddenly a big thunderstorm came rolling over our town. Elision jumped out of out bed, took his staff, told me to stay inside and ran out. Of course I didn't do as he told me, and got dressed and ran out. I wish I had never done that. On the streets there were goblins running around, killing everything they saw. Then I heard a great noise, and I saw as the earth rose and trapped several goblins inside and then closed itself, trapping the goblins. Then I heard a familiar voice.

When I turned around I saw Elision dressed in his robe, but there was something special about him now. The air around him was sparkling with raw power. He waved his hands in front of him, chanting and released lightning that struck down in the goblins. And next to him was an old man standing, with long white beard, and age was hard to tell. I had never seen the old man before, but if Elision's spells were hard, this old man's were even harder. Goblins melded as they had been consumed by inner fire, the ground started to shake under others shaking them to death.

Great thunderbolts landed on other goblins. The fight continued for what for me felt like hours, but might only have been 5 minutes. Then suddenly the old man fell over, with a big arrow stuck in his back. Elision lost some of his concentration as he looked over at the old man and a goblin came up to him and raised his sword. I can remember myself yelling at my husband, but he did not have the time to avoid the blow that came at him. The sword from the goblin entered in his left shoulder and exited on the right side of his body, and my husband was cut in to pieces. I was stunned, but my mother came out and dragged me into a house, and showed me place where I could hide. I can say this, I was not in the mood to hide, but my mother forced me into it and told me to stay foot and be quiet. Then she left outside.

Many hours later I started to smell smoke, and I started to have problem breathing, so I sneaked outside buy saw no goblin. What I saw was even worse. The whole town was putted on fire.

I ran to my house, but the house was already full of flames. Then I turned my face to the place where my husband was killed, and saw him laying there, in to pieces. I walked over to his body and kneeled. Then I burst out in tears. I don't know for how long I cried, but it was early in the morning when I stood up and took a look around. Since we lived not far from the ocean, I grabbed my husband's body and dragged it to the shore.

- Rest well my loved, I said and let the body float away in the water.

I did not return to my hometown again, but set of following the beach a long way. Many days later, when I reached a small village, I was nearly exhausted from lack off food and totally heartbroken. An elven child saw me, and screamed for the guards to come. The guards came and helped me to get to a tavern, and the tavern owner gave me food and his wife helped me up to a room where I could sleep until I was better.

I did not do much else then sleep, but it was long. When I finally woke up, I started to cry again. When I had stopped to cry I walked down the stairs and started to talk to the Tavern owner. He told me that this was the small fishing village named Rymek. He gave me a short story about the town.

He told me about Nexus, the training Island Flacion, the hordes. I asked where I might find this island and the man showed me a sloop which I boarded. He took me to a fountain, where he loosed ma and said

- This is where your training begins. If you want revenge on the goblins you must starts here. Learn, learn, and when you think you are full of knowledge, learn some more.
I bowed before the man, and looked around.

I wiped some tears of my chin, and then I looked at the scribe.

- Is this enough?
- Yes, he said, that was a touching story.

I shrugged and stood up and walked out of the door.

 

Ochoski

Class: Cleric
Race: Drow

Many people have told their story, their story of how they came to be. I wish to keep my story to myself, as I am not an open person. Yet, many people ask about my life. Here is the story of my life, to all those curious individuals.

I am a drow, as many can see. I was born to parents unknown to me, deserted in a forest as a baby, to fend for myself. Fortunately, for me, I was found by an elderly human by the name of Reginald Ochoski. As I was nameless, I was given the name Ochoski, the last name of my caretaker.

Reginald is a good man, a healer by trade. He taught me many things about life, healing and many other studies. He wanted to fill my mind with knowledge, so I can see the world as a whole.

We lived in a cabin, isolated from most people. A few travellers dropped by occasionally, mostly the shopkeeper from the nearby village to deliver supplies.

My daily activities included my chores, my studies and my training. Every morning we would milk or cow named Martha. Tend to our garden, where we grew our herbs and vegetables. We also worked on any other things that needed to be tended to in the forest.

After lunch I would study mathematics, religion, history and many other studies. Reginald made sure that I would have a complete education.

During the evening, I would train in the healing arts of herbalism. I learned ways to heal with herbs found in the forest and our garden. I also learned some basic combat skills. I did not understand at the time why I trained to fight, but I do now.

I did this the majority of my life. I aged, and grew older, I became an adult and eventually, I grew tiresome and bored of my life. I achieved all that I could achieve under the guidance of Reginald. Reginald, most likely sensed this feeling in me and spoke to me about a place named Falcion.

I do not believe I have to tell you the story of the purpose of Falcion, because chances are, you already know about Falcion or shortly will. He also told me this was the only place I could further my abilities.

Obviously, I decided to come to Falcion to train. Reginald supplied me with some rations, some gold marks and a map to Falcion.

The next morning I said my goodbye and set out on my journey to Falcion.

Here is my life, they way I want it to be heard. Please do not ask for more information, this is all I am willing to share.

Signed, Ochoski, the Drow.

 

Orthae

Class: Cleric
Race: Drow

Tilnar’s Vein, home of the dark, and most fiendish of beings. Buried under thousands of tons of rock, these beings live in the depths of the mountains.

Two rancorous houses ruled with a tyranny so violent that none speak their names free of fear. De’ramour, the house of malevolence and Bathoney, the house of the blade.

Both equally ruthless and powerful, their blood feud has existed since the first great schism. The house of Bathoney was led by a succubus of a house matron. The deeds of Ell’ Saba Bathoney reflect well the cruel precepts of her following.

Their house is located upon an island in an underground lake. This lake is circled by sheer rock walls except for a small inlet where the drow land there boats. From here they would have to trek for two days through rough trails between rock cliffs, water traps and sinkholes to reach the battle ground to siege the other house.

Ell’ Saba was known as the felated whore, diva and temptress. One of her many "partners" was a drow known as Melange. He was a powerful sorcerer, possessing rare innate abilities to manipulate magic and bend it to his twisted whim. After three years of the matron’s favour and many bloody battles, a male was born of Ell’ Saba’s rotten womb. As an infant, he remained unnamed as he was born with an oddity. Alone amongst his brethren, this boy was born albino. His searing red eyes would randomly flash with spite and radiated the power his soul aura. Serving in the drow fashion, the boy labored daily to please the females of the house.

As the young male matured, the matron fell to a great illness that no one within the house could heal. The house healers tried for days to no avail. Her death bed was set and she rested thereupon listening to the grim news of great wars lost as armies lacked her guidance. Without direction the young male went to his mother’s side. He whispered ancient words he had not previously known into her fevered ear. The magical words he spoke and soon after forgot. After this had been done Saba grew cold and warmed to perfect health. The boy was then named Orthae, which in the drow tongue of his house; skilled aid, or great healer. Unknown of his full powers the boy grew and continued to serve the lady heads under a hated watch from the male portion of the house. Orthae was tormented, ridiculed and harassed every hour because of the great favor shown him by the women, and having been born with such power.

Upon the shores, Orthae stood and watched over the serenity of the water for sometime. Often he would do this, to escape for a moment the world he lived in. He would often wander up and down the shores, but on this occasion something life changing happened. He found upon the shores a small crystal. Not knowing exactly what it was he hid it in his uniform until he could further study it. That eve, he hid the rock within his room. After attempting to sleep he searched for the stone to examine it. This rush of excitement had never filled his heart before. Feeling the rock, it was almost mud like in texture; it also seemed to be squishy. Little did Orthae know that within his own quarters was another of his siblings, Denothnor, hidden, watching his every move.

Once Orthae went soundly back to sleep, Denothnor slipped out of the room and began to walk down the halls. He came to an elder male’s dorm. Knocking upon the door he then related what he saw Orthae do. The elder seemed lost in thought for a moment, and then stormed out of his room. Particularly powerful was this elder male, a special method of torture he used. To bind pain, and cowards in a visual form to ones very soul. Opening his eyes, Orthae noticed someone standing over him. Words were beginning formed from this figures mouth, but nothing was making any sense, until the person produced the stone of which Orthae had coveted. Dragged from his place of slumber, the elder took the young one in front of the Matron of the house. She was awaken and brought out to her throne. Remaining silent, with his head bowed Orthae stood before her, knowing all to well what would become of this. "Why had you hoarded this item from your family boy?" spoke the Lady. Silence filled the air. "Speak boy, you know of the rules, you know you were commanded to bring anything found before the elders of our house. Speak!" the Old Man said. Orthae remained silent, this time raising his head to stare the lady in the eye. Lady Saba spoke "You disgrace me, you’ve done a great deed before, but now that is forgotten. You are no longer one welcomed in this house!" She spoke to the Elder in whispers for a moment. "Boy, for your treachery and show of Treason you are hereby to be tormented and marked for the rest of your days!" the Elder spoke with a grimacing yet sadistic smile on his face. The young drow continued to stare the Lady in the face, with his eyes flaring full of rage and hate, for he did not expect to live long after this.

During his time in the lab of Unkom’lon many slaves had passed on giving in to the fierce torture. Scarred were his hands, to wound him from ever using them to cast spells. Marred was his face, so that no women could love him, and bound to his soul was an ever burning and toiling mist. The mist marked him as a traitor, so that if he were to hide, he’d be found, and killed. 20 years he spent in the torture labs until he was summoned before the lady. She looked upon him, broken, scarred, and marked for death. She showed pity then, in a rare moment of weakness for his behalf. "You may take your rock, we’ve studied it and it is nothing of worth!" she threw the stone at him. Orthae picked it up then he stared at her. "You’re still silent? Well we’ll see" she now turned to the guards, "Let him go ashore, see how he fares in the heat of battle with nothing but his silence to guard him!" snickering the guards did as they were told. Showing no concern Orthae followed in silence having no need of restraint. Ever staring at the stone, he stepped into a small boat that would bare him across to the main land. Both guards watched him carefully. Eyeing the Stone, Orthae fingered it carefully, detecting some hidden power within it. He summoned it up then, in a blinding fashion! The guards shielded there eyes, as the oarsmen jumped into the frigid waters. Urged with some dark power the device activated

"The Gods Rescue Thee!"

Lying naked and unconscious before the Altar of Twilight. Priests came to his aid. They clothed him in a dark garb. Orthae covered his eyes; the pain of the dim candle light seared him like nothing else. Remaining within the confines of his mind, he asked where he was. "Welcome to the Cathedral of Twilight" spoke the voice of a priest.

 

Pious

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

As Pious was born in the Nexus, the historians have maintained his life story since his birth. Born out of wedlock to one of Madam Despana's Strumpets, his father unknown, Pious was abandoned at the door of the clerical sanctuary soon after birth. Unable to ignore the poor child's cry, the clerics took him in eventually becoming quite fond of the boy. They raised him to follow their profession, instilling in him a tremendous amount of piety. Pious learned at an early age that healers must devote themselves to their craft, for good healers were lifesavers in times of battle.

As soon as he was old enough, the clerics began to take Pious along on adventures, teaching him to concentrate on healing the adventurers, and ignoring all else. At first Pious would attempt to join the fight,casting what few offensive spells he could, leaving the healing to others. However, he soon learned the errors of his ways.

In a furious battle, his mentor was suddenly attacked, and badly wounded. The task of healing not only his teacher, but also all of the adventuring party, now fell upon Pious. Turning his attention to the most seriously injured, Pious began healing them. In his foolishness, he did not stop casting offensive spells on the enemy. As the battle wore on, his mentor, seriously wounded, screamed for help. Turning toward his beloved friend, Pious attempted to heal him, discovering too late that he had used all of his magic.

Fearing for the life of his mentor, Pious forgot all else. He dragged his wounded friend out of harms way, and returned to the battle. The enemy was all but dead, and the adventurers were calling for a healer, so that they could finish the attack. Unable to use his magic abilities, all Pious could offer them was a few magical blue orbs, so that they could heal themselves. Finishing the battle without the help of a healer did not please the adventurers, and Pious could not hide his shame. Though the battle was eventually won, and none of the adventurers were killed, Pious knew he had failed in his duties. Picking up his friend, he carried him back to the clerical sanctuary, so that he could be cared for.

He knew that excuses were pointless, and his shame was great. All of the clerics gathered around to hear what had happened, and Pious explained what had gone wrong. All of his "family" nodded their heads knowingly, and allowed Pious to continue his training. They explained that it would be some time before he was allowed to go on another adventure, as he needed to learn much about responsibility first.

Time passed quickly for the devout cleric. He immersed himself in his studies, learning all of the healing spells he could. He never forgot the lessons of that day, and knew he had nearly cost several adventurers their lives. He spent his days wandering about the city, healing newcomers in their inevitable battles with criminals, madmen, and spies. He became known as a healer of great talent, though he had yet to accompany adventurers on another mission of importance and difficulty. Several years passed, and the goblins had begun to mass outside the gates of the city. Suddenly the call went out! A party was forming, as a white dragon, several giants, and battleslaves had been spotted just outside the east gates. All clerics that were available would be needed, and Pious was determined to redeem himself. The party formed in Aaylnor's Temple, and was soon marching toward the gate. There were many good clerics in attendance, and all prayed for a successful mission. Outside the gate, the first enemy the party came upon was a white dragon. The attack was quick, and the clerics kept everyone alive. The dragon soon fell, and the party was victorious, though just a little too sure of themselves. As they headed east, they ran into strong opposition. Rounding a bend, the party was ambushed by several fire giants and battleslaves. Changing tactics, they all focused their attention on one member of the party. Despite the best efforts of the clerics, Aragon was slain. His death shocked the party, and caused them great anger. They attacked with fury, and soon the entire enemy force lay slain.

Pious performed his duties that day as best he could, the loss of Aragon saddened him, but he had tried his best. The sheer force of the attack had been too much to overcome. Back at the clerical sanctuary, his mentors explained that it was impossible to prevent all deaths in battle. In recognition of the fact that pious had learned his lessons well, it was decided that he would be allowed to join in future adventures.

HISTORIAN'S NOTE: Pious continues to heal adventurers as of this writing, and still spends many days helping newcomers to our fair city make a name for themselves. His healing spells keep them alive as they fight the everyday enemies, which the skilled adventurers have no time for.

 

Rapheous

Class: Cleric
Race: Half-Elf

Rapheous walks into the hallway of the Nexus Library, he pauses for a moment looking about, before spotting a scribe walking past with an armful of scrolls. Motioning the young man towards him, he simply says, "I've come to give the tale of my past."

The scribe looks at him for a moment, then nods, "We are always pleased to hear of our heroes exploits."

"Bah, I'm no hero, I just do my job."

"Of course, of course, they all say that, well some anyway", the scribe responds, before directing Rapheous to a small room. The scribe briefly disappears, returning without the scrolls, but armed with quill, ink and paper.

"Now, in your own words, and take your time", says the scribe as he sits down.

"I was born in an elven village quite some distance from Nexus, the result of a human soldier taking advantage of a young elf maid."

Rapheous grimaces slightly before carrying on, "It quickly became apparent that I was not of pure elven blood, and soon after my 5th birthday, mother and I were exiled from the village. After two days walking, we stumbled across an abandoned cottage, and for the next 10 years this became our home. Whilst life was hard we survived, and we were happy.

Mother had an interest in herbs, and found all sorts of uses for them, from helping to heal cuts, to easing head pains and settling upset stomachs. As I grew up, she passed the knowledge on to me.

One day, not long after my 15th birthday, I returned home from collecting herbs, to find the cottage a burnt out shell, mother dead inside. Holding her in my arms, I felt helpless, no herb in the world could save her now. I buried her in the shade of a large oak tree that grew nearby, tears obscuring my vision as I whispered a few words to say goodbye.

Looking at the cottage again, I realised that the fire had been caused by someone or something of evil intent, and the helplessness welled up inside me once more. What would I do if they returned? Putting my hopes into a few leaves and grasses did not seem to be an option. With everything in the cottage destroyed, I simply walked away, with just the clothes on my back.

I walked without purpose or direction for days, relying on my herb lore to keep me alive, eating the berries and grasses that I recognised as edible.

I was amazed one morning when I found a road cutting across the countryside in a north/south direction. Shrugging my shoulders, figuring one way was a good as another I headed south, thinking that at least the road must lead somewhere.

That somewhere turned out to be a village called Rymek, which stank of fish, and there were people everywhere! I stared, wide eyed with amazement, seeing people of all shapes and sizes walk past me, going about their business. I kept walking through the village and the smell of fish got stronger and stronger, and then my vision was filled with the sea. I must have been starting at it for quite a while, when a voice brought me back to my senses asking, "Well, ye been staring at that bit o' water fer an hour or more, so ye obviously want to cross over to Falcion, so come on board laddie, and hurry up as I haven't got all day."

Blinking I nodded absently to the man who had spoken, and walked onto the floating thing, wondering what it was that mother had said they were called. Made of wood, the thing was packed with people, all seemingly headed to this place called Falcion.

Things seemed to happen very quickly when more land suddenly appeared out of the mist that had surrounded us. Everyone got off, and we soon found ourselves waiting to walk through some tall gates. I waited in line, having got nothing better to do, trying to attract as little attention as possible.

Eventually I was at the front of the line, and a rough looking, short man with a large red beard asked, "What do you want to be then eh?"

"Be? I don't know what you mean", I responded.

"Another with no clue as to what he's doing eh? What are you good at then? Anything?"

"Herbs are all I know", I simply replied.

"Herbs..alright, how's about trying out as a cleric? What do ya think? Yes of course, cleric it is". With that he propelled me through the gates, before turning back to the line of people behind me and shouting, "Next!"

The scribe looks up, waiting to see it there is any more, then puts his quill down. "An interesting tale sir, but might I ask one question?"

Blinking, his thoughts seemingly still in the past, Rapheous nods.

"Well, and pardon me for intruding, but I can see how you became a cleric and all, but..", he pauses and then glances meaningfully at the shackle on Rapheous" finger.

"Oh, your wondering how I decided I wanted to became a follower of Mistress Paelina?

My training as a cleric quickly made me realise that magic was a far more powerful force than using simple herbs, and that the healing that could be accomplished was often nothing short of miraculous. Having decided that becoming a cleric was the right choice for me, I focused on my training, determined to save as many from death as possible.

My decision on faith was one that I did not make lightly nor quickly, based on researching the ideals of those followers I could speak to."

The cleric pauses, glancing at the scribe," Perhaps we should leave the reason why I chose the religious path that I did for another time."

The scribe sighs and then nods, "Very well. Thank you for your time. Hopefully the next time will not be too far away." Rapheous smiles and nods, "Thank you for listening. May Honor guide your actions."

With that Rapheous bows and walks off.

 

Soh

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

To know the story of Soh, (or as he is properly known Pachelbel-Soh) one must first know the story of his father, Pachelbel-Vivaldi. When Vivaldi was just a boy living in the northern plains town of Travato, his people were hit by the ferocious eastern plague. Everyone in Travato and the surrounding region perished, except the little Vivaldi. In later years, when he thought about it, he assumed he'd been protected from the virus by divine providence. During the outbreak of the plague, his innocent life force must have won favor with the then tortured mind of Tilnar. He could think of no other reason.

Orphaned in a deserted land, Vivaldi had no where to turn and no one to help him. Tearfully he buried the remains of his family and placed grave markers in their remembrance. Standing on his village's high ground, Vivaldi breathed deeply and absorbed the decimated scene. He tightened the straps on his bulging backpack and headed toward an unknown future.

Packing as many supplies as his small shoulders could bear, he went out into the dark wilderness. Vivaldi matured much on his long lonesome journey. Through the blessings of Tilnar, he began to develop a sixth sense of nature, a familiarity with the healing arts. In his travels he learned the secrets of how to resist poisons and diseases. Using natural herbs for healing and nourishment became an everyday activity which he soon grew proficient in.

One late night, while dosing by a small fire, an extraordinary event occurred which forever embedded itself in to Vivaldi's memory. When sleep had nearly overtaken him, he was troubled as the moon slowly began to turn color, swirling black and blood red. Standing up tall trying to gather his senses, he rubbed his eyes. "This can't be happening," he thought to himself as the twilight sky turned deep violet. Suddenly the small fire which Vivaldi had burning began to grow in intensity rapidly. Magical energy crackled loudly causing Vivaldi jump back in alarm, the flames grew to the towering height of the mighty oaks around him. He hid in fear and awe as a midnight black shape rose from the flames casting an eerie silhouette against the changed moon. "A gryphon?" he asked himself, having been daydreaming that very day of them. "How could that be?"

An enchanting moan howled from within the flames causing the earth itself to rumble. A divine darkfire consumed and blessed Vivaldi, placing him into a deep sleep. Awaking what seemed days later, he recalled the wonders which had happened to him at his small fire. Vivaldi had learned much about the Lord of Death and his symbols during the plague. Many of Vivaldi's fellow villagers had vainly sacrificed their children in bizarre rituals to appease Tilnar; better they thought then letting them endure the awful plague. Prayer became part of Vivaldi's daily routine in order to calm his fear and awe brought by the power and twisted madness of Tilnar.

After surviving on his own in the wilderness for nearly four years, Vivaldi came upon a hidden valley deep within the northern Crystal Mountains. Between the sheer rock faces rested a peaceful village of the name Toffle. The elders welcomed Vivaldi with open arms and he quickly gained the reputation of resident medicine man. Surrounded by bountiful soils and fatted calves, he gained a tremendous amount of weight within his first few years out of the wilderness. His belly size came to symbolize his triumph over past hardships, and wisdom as a healer. His body as well as his daily prayers began to change after settling in Toffle. While he used to pray out of fear, he now prayed out of devotion. His prowess with healing herbs was used to cure the sick, and his prayers to a true deity gave him supernatural insight into many things.

As young men do, Vivaldi eventually came to take a wife. Customarily taking her husband's name she became formally known as Pachelbela-Mia. Mia was a well-learned and well-bred woman who became the light of Vivaldi's life. However, she was uninterested in his religion, the thought of praying to the Lord of Death frankly scared her. Mia and Vivaldi's years were many and they were well advanced in age when they gave birth to a giggly fat baby, named Soh. From an early age, Vivaldi tutored Soh in the ways of the healing arts and the beliefs he held. As young as the age of eight, the townsfolk of Toffle began consulting Soh for healing knowledge and prophecies. He enjoyed his responsibilities and his legacy, which he was responsible for carrying on. His knowledge and belly began to grow in size, mimicking the appearance of his father. Entering the sunset of his life, Vivaldi shied away from the everyday needs of the townspeople, leaving Soh as replacement medicine man. Thanks to his father's teachings, Soh's abilities blossomed and his reputation helped make a name for Toffle in the surrounding region, which ultimately served to be its downfall.

The strategic location of Toffle eventually caught the attention of high ranking goblin officials located in the east, because of the famed rotund medicine man. From scouting reports, they gleaned that it would be the optimal command post for their northern army because of its hidden valley and strategic defensive position. It was Soh's 13th birthday when the goblins decided to make their move.

The townsfolk of Toffle were going about their daily business when goblin warlords created a giant rockslide, brutally smashing two thirds of the people and their homes. The initial rumbling caused Soh to jump to his feet alertly and rush his aging parents to the cellar. From inside the moist earth they heard the bloodcurdling screams of crushed villagers. Soh cursed himself, knowing that they been attacked only because his notoriety had spread the word of his hidden town.

Leaving through a secret tunnel way, Soh led his terrified mother and father to a secluded home in the Eldane Forest, where they reside to this day. Vivaldi's faith in his God and his son continue to remain unwavering. Soh chose a life in Nexus so that he would never again bring atrocities to those around him, and so that he may one day seek retribution upon his Goblin enemies. When arriving in Nexus, his life force instinctively sought out Tilnar's famed church. His father's and his path continue to follow the guide of Lord Tilnar. On occasion, Soh travels to his parent's cottage where they greet him with warm butterbread and warm hearts.

 

Summerlinn

Class: Cleric
Race: Sprite

"Sprite arrive, and bring excitement."
One moment Summerlinn was practicing her flying, frowning intently as she beat her wings vigorously off-rhythm, the next she was in a dark cave, surrounded by looming, ugly monsters. Momentarily night-blind after the sun-dappled green afternoon she'd just been in, the huge shadows around her seemed horrible and threatening. She screamed and flew straight into a wall.

"Thy energies return!"
Their faces were no less hideous when they hovered less than a foot away from her own. Dark faces, dark eyes, and monstrous tusks jutting out of hard mouths. She squirmed frantically to get away, but only managed to get dust all over herself. A horrible rumbling noise came from one of them, then spread to the others. They bared their vicious teeth at her, and after a moment of frozen fear, she realized that they were smiling and... laughing.

She forced herself to smile back tentatively, hoping to keep them laughing. One of them rumbled to another in a thick, snarly accent, "See, she's alright."

Then, en masse, the lot of them left the cave, leaving her alone in the dark. She stood up groggily and fanned the dirt off her wings, feeling horribly alone in the cavernous darkness. They charged back into the cave in such a fierce rush that she cowered, hoping she would not be crushed.

There was a moment of silence. When she looked up, the monsters all had strange expressions on their faces that she couldn't interpret. One of them finally said hesitantly, "Why is she still here?"

Well, if they wanted to get rid of her, she'd be glad to oblige. She searched her land-sense for home... and there was nothing there. She searched again, looking for that line of green welcome that always rested with cool comfort in the back of her mind, no matter how far she'd gone exploring. It wasn't there - this land was barren.

She closed off awareness of the confused murmurs around her, focusing on her search. Yes, there was life here. Shy, hesitant clumps of life that clung tenuously to the sparse earth or huddled furtively in the shelter of cracked rocks. But none of it pointed her way home.

She felt faint. What fearful place had she come to, that she could not find her way back home? When would she see her mother, her father again? Would they be able to find her in such bleakness? She opened her eyes as wide as she could, trying to hold in the tears. Even so, tiny sprite tears spilled down her cheeks. At some point she had crouched down, hugging her knees to her chest. Now she pressed her forehead to her knees and tried to stifle the sobs that racked her body.

Something brushed against her back gently and oh so carefully, not even crumpling her limp wings. She wiped her eyes hard with the heels of her palms and looked up. One of them was smiling at her, extending a huge calloused hand. The smile looked odd. Summerlinn realized it was because this friendly stranger was trying to cover its tusks with its upper lip, perhaps to seem less intimidating. This surprised her enough to attempt a sniffly smile.

The stranger shuffled a little closer, hunched in an uncomfortable- looking position to get down to Summerlinn's level. It rumbled, "Don't be afraid. You can live with me until we can find your home. I have a little girl, Danika,, who I think will like you very much. Maybe you will like her, too?"

Tentatively, ready to snatch her hand back instantly, Summerlinn laid it into the hugely gnarled one. The stranger didn't even close that massive hand, but just lifted up. Almost magically, Summerlinn followed it up into the air, suspended from the hand, wings limp with wonder.

 

Taringail

Class: Cleric
Race: Elf

(Taringail cleans the paperwork from his desk and lays his journal before him. He tips a waxed feather with ink and begins writing in fine elven penmanship.)

Panur, Prairiefire 14th, 1347 WE/IY 958.

It is not often that I address matters of my history upon the pages of this journal. To be an elf with honesty, I rarely think of my own past. It is now that I will terminate this shadow and devote my ink to remembrance.

My memories of the settlement, Voronwerea, are scattered and confused. Whenever I attempt to map the geography of the area, it is only my home that I remember. High in the oaks of the this nameless forest sat the house in which I was raised. I remember the lack of pleasantries and decorations. Everything was made of wood - the furniture, the dinner plates... everything. My father, a faithful Amandil of the Daer’lin Goddess Pandora, was strict in his parenting. I remember he would awaken my mother and I everyday before sunrise for worship. He would have us all kneel on the front porch to watch the rising of the sun. The height of our home allowed the most breathtaking of views. Writing this, I feel chills throughout my body. It was such a wonderful sight. I remember we would chant, over and over, "Today is the Day of Hope. Today is the Day of Hope". I embraced Hope. At even my young age, the beauty of Hope was known to my soul. Tears of joy lined my eyes those mornings on the porch. Hope is the fire in us all.

After worship, my mother would begin her work about the house and my father would walk me to church. It was there that I was educated. My father always insisted on my education. Even on Dilur, Aalur, and Tilur he had my eyes attending a book. I never realized it, but my father never taught me of the world outside of Voronwerea. He kept me ignorant of Altin’s realities. I know now he was tailoring me to one day take his place and run the settlements only church. With his harsh molding of my character, I no doubt would have done a fine job.

The hand that created my innocence also destroyed it. I can remember the evening clearly. My mother had supper set, my father was in his room to change out of his robes. My mother and I were standing next to our dining chairs, awaiting my father to enter so we may sit and begin prayer. When my father entered, my mothers face paled. In his clenched fists was a piece of paper. "How dare you," he yelled, "Selling Pandora’s Gift for money! Money! You are the foul wench of Sin and Lie!" I remember the look in his eyes when he became too angry to speak. I remember blood and tears mixing on the floor while my mother was beaten. I was so confused, so lost. I knew only that I could run from this nightmare. And I did. I ran all night and all morning - my back to the rising sun.

For many years I wandered from town to town. Drunk was I every night. I gambled, I stole, I committed the Sins my father insisted I fear. I was a lost soul.. I had no direction, no purpose, no Hope. All who tried to befriend me I cast away. All those who showed me love saw only my back in return. It was the lowest point of my life.

When the Goblin force was no longer avoidable, I followed the masses into Nexus for refuge. I remember I was seeking shelter from a storm the eve Trelek found me. To this day, I am amazed he recognized the son of one of his pupils. He picked me up and brought me to the Temple of Hope, where he immediately began destroying the masks I had created over my years of despair. Trelek is very important to me. Without him, I would have never found myself and my Faith. He showed me I am capable of accomplishing anything. He returned to me the great Hope I had once felt on a porch high in the oak trees.

Perhaps one day I will try to locate Voronwerea, or perhaps one day it will reveal itself to me. Whichever the case, I will never return to the despair I once had. To Pandora and Her Church, to my family, to my friends, I now dedicate my life.

Faith in another begins with Faith in ones self.

 

Tiras

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

Autobiographical History
Tiras D'Borhannia - Priest of Paelina, Protector of Nexus.

My story, in my own opinion, is not one to make the history books, nor one to strike awe into the minds of its readers, but as it has been requested, so shall I provide.

I was born into a wealthy Highborn house in the City of All Races, Nexus by name. I was raised in the life of a noble, learning their ways and preparing to one day take over my father's holdings. Mine was a life filled with comfort, with many servants to do the minor housekeeping labor, thus leaving me to learn the art of politics and intrigue that makes up the game that nobles play to increase their assets. Needless to say, my way of life did not lend itself to battle experience, and I was in fact so sheltered from the outside world that I was under the false impression that battle was something that only occurred in stories and such that were read to children. Because of this, my first encounter with such things was quite a traumatic experience to say the least.

I recall a sunny day.... I had left my parents home to simply stroll the streets. Where I was planning to go I do not recall, only that there was a commotion about the entire city with men and women hurrying from one gate to another. Stepping to one side of the street to avoid being trampled while I watched, I quietly took note of the party before me. Some wore heavy sets of armor, while others walking cautiously behind simply wore robes and carried ornately engraved books, while still others blended into the shadows as they walked so that they were almost lost to the eye even as I looked directly at them. After a moment of quick discussion one of the larger members of the party called an order and the others fell easily into formation as they hurried off toward the eastern gate.

Frowning to myself with my curiosity peaked, I followed along behind to discover what the commotion was about. What I saw would change my life forever...

As I slipped outside the gate I could only stare in horror at the scene before me. Blood splattered the ground thick enough to be stand in the soaked soil. Foul creatures attacked with cunning, and valiant warriors, powerful magi, and priests dressed in white robes assisted. The blood was terrible.. Arms were rent from sockets, knees shattered, swords ran through armor like a knife through butter. Unable to bear the scene any longer I left into the gates once again heading for my home.. running the whole way..

The months that followed were haunted by nightmares of death and gore. I could not look at even a servant in my own hold without seeing him in my mind's eye being torn limb from limb. After a time my own anger began to grow. I had been held, protected against the truth of the city in which I was living. I was gaining from the blood, sweat, and tears of those fighting for my freedom, and I was in turn giving nothing back in return. There was no honor in the life that I lived. I had a duty to this city to protect it with my life as so many had before me.

It was at this time that I visited the city of Falcion for the first time. Trainers there worked with me day and night to help me determine how I could best be used in the defense. The ways of battle came quickly to me. I was a hard worker, and even though I received no joy from the killing, the necessity in weapon use was clearly evident.

Due to my smaller build, the life of a warrior was obviously not the path to take. Instead, my abilities quickly grew in the arts of healing. The reason for my affinity toward this art was not immediately apparent, but my trainers surmised that it could be that my dislike for killing may be dissuaded somewhat if I were able to heal as well. Whatever the reasoning for my ability, my life as a cleric began and such has it been to this day. At this time I am currently a proud follower of Lady Paelina and I strive to act in an honorable manner in all that I do.

 

Tyran

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

As chronicled by Christados of Lebo, "The Chronicles of the Krieger Empire"

..........had it not been for Artix's personal request that Tyran, an old reni cleric among humans, accompany what the Khan had said in their private conversations to be a "testosterone based group of over zealous Krieger who suffered from invulnerability syndrome", he would have walked from the room on the very mention of the histories relating to Drakath and his vampire minions. This vehement fear of the undead which made "Preacher" Tyran so irrational stemmed from back when Tyran was a child, before he had even envisioned himself as a servant of Krieger. Long before a freak mistake of identity took him from his true love and his friends, to a realm called Nexus.

He had been different back then, been unafraid. He had laughed along with a group of his other reni friends when one of the younger children had dared another to enter the forest bordering the small village he had grown up in. Located on the brink of Lidrak Ka-lith, the village was home to small reni families who made their living on hunting and trapping business the forest animals of the region could provide. Since before he could remember, the elder folk of the village had told stories and legends about the mysterious powers of the forest, claiming it to be haunted by spirits of dead warriors who had died in wars long past. Tyran had never seen anything which might support these tall tales and he had often laughed when the other children told him spooky stories in the attempt to frighten him. Other children were not as brave as he however, and it was in light of this that he had smiled and leaned back against a willow tree as his friends dared one of their own to enter the woods and bring back the bark of the spruce trees which were known to grow inside it's confines.

The child was one year younger than Tyran's age of ten but nearly as tall. He laughed back nervously at his friends, accepted the bet and started towards the edge of trees as the late afternoon sun began to set behind them. He stopped suddenly when a little girl shouted out in a taunt. "Remember, moonlit night... spooks delight!" She quoted, pointing up at the rising moon as it began its nightly climb into the top of the sky. The pressured boy stopped but did not look back and Tyran could remember seeing his shoulders rise and fall, as if he were looking for the courage that a deep breath could offer. The boy entered the forest cautiously, looking back one final time at his friends who sat there watching him. Then with a sigh, he plunged into its depths.

He had been gone for over an hour when most of the children either had gotten bored with waiting or were called home by parents. Tyran had remained, however. Worried that his friend may have gotten lost and feeling partly guilty for allowing the dare to occur, he decided to peek into the woods and search. The evergreens, which sheltered the inner forest, were hard to circumvent without climbing and catching his leggings on several thorn bushes which surrounded them, but after he had braved a few cuts and scratches he managed to break it's borders. The forest was silent and cold and there was no light except the pale moonbeams which; managed to penetrate the frightening canopy above, dancing in and out of the shadows their absence caused.

He was about to call for his friend but hesitated, worried more about what attention he might draw to himself. He didn't believe in the ghosts, but he was worried about more realistic monsters like bears or wolves. Doing his best to silently step through the underbrush, he lost track of the time he had spent looking. It had been at least an hour, that much he was sure of, when he recalled stepping around a large spruce tree and into a clearing, bringing him into contact with the nightmare vision which he would remember for the rest of his life.

As his vision adjusted to the darkness, he could make out a shadow bent over on the other side of the clearing. As it became clearer, he drew a deep breath in terror. The pale moonlight reflected off a body; which had been horribly mutilated beyond recognition, so much in fact, that the only way Tyran knew it had been his friend was because, at his feet was one of the boy's sandals, bent and cracked. As he crouched silently and picked up the shoe, he realized the ghoulish form over the boy's carcass was feeding on it. He fell back in a sudden onslaught of nausea and terror, slipping on some moss and crashing in leaves. The ghoul stood up instantly and turned to Tyran with rotting eyes full of hunger. With amazing speed, the creature bounded towards him with glowing yellow claws outstretched.

It had bridged the distance between them in a matter of seconds and Tyran raised his hands over his head in panic, staring with panic into the eyes of his attacker. As he waited in horror for the beast to rip his flesh to shreds, there was a massive flash of bright white light blinding him instantly. An agonizing screech from the creature caused him to cover his ears in fright to shut out the noise and he found himself joining in with a scream of his own. As his lungs propelled the last of the air from his body, he opened his eyes to see the thing crumpled at his feet.

In a panic, he turned and bolted, reaching the edge of the clearing before coming to a stop. He slowly looked over his shoulder seeing that the ghoul had remained unmoving where it fell. Through the scarce light he approached it, ignoring the scream of warning his mind continued to pound him with. When he reached the thing, he placed his foot on it's shoulder and shoved it slightly. To his amazement, the form crumpled into nothing but a pile of dust which a small breeze had already begun to scatter. Confused and terrified at the events, he turned and fled from the woods.

The next day hunters from the village had followed Tyran in the safety of the sunlight and collected his friends body for burial. Tyran had related his story to the priest in the village who had listened with intense interest, particularly when it came to the part on the destruction of the ghoul. According to the priest, the ten year old Tyran had managed to destroy the undead creature in a way similar to that done by the highest clerics in the church's order. The trauma of the event combined with the release of such power had left the young boy's eyes devoid of pupils, a phenomena which the priest had mentioned he had seen only once before. Besides the unique eyes which were noticed everywhere he went, Tyran was haunted by dreams of the occurrence continuously, both when sleeping and when awake.

* * * * * * * * * *

"C'mon, Tyran." The voice came from Thrawn and snapped the cleric out of his daydream as he realized he had been left behind and in the dark as the others squeezed through the opening. He could see the torch light beyond the collapsed rock, flickering as whispers of conversation reached his ears. He slipped inside the crevice.................

 

Velshari

Class: Cleric
Race: Human

The history of Velshari is actually a very unremarkable one. He was born on a small farm, only a short ride from the famed city of Nexus. Velshari managed to excel in all that he tried, despite a crippled leg at birth, due to hard work and determination. Always greeting visitors with a warm crooked smile, he became known for his abilities with medicine and healing. As the war with the goblins began to draw nearer to the farm, weary travelers would appear at their doorstep looking to have their stomachs filled and their wounds tended. It was during one of these instances that a certain priest came upon the farm with one of the hunting parties. The priest, Darshantis by name, saw the boy and was extremely impressed with his natural talents and decided to stay on at the farm. For a time, perhaps three months.. maybe four, the kind priest trained the boy in the ways of healing.

Several months passed after Darshantis' leaving and the battle continued to rage closer. Velshari's parents finally decided that it was the time to collect all of their precious belongings and move inside the protective walls of the city. Velshari, already forced to leave his home, made it known to his family his desire to move on to Falcion to continue his training as a cleric.

Upon reaching Falcion, Velshari worked hard and after many long months attained the Priesthood status. Fighting along side the heroes and overcomming his disability with enough success that many failed to even notice it, he worked up in the ranks and began to strive for other things in addition to his training. The first of his loyalties fell to his chosen deity, Andaras. Velshari had spent countless hours at the farm humming melodies to himself as he worked, and drawing small pictures in the sand as he would sit at the river admiring a sunset. Because of this love for art and beauty he could do nothing but strive to bring it to touch everyone's lives. Another drive that pushed the young man would be his endless quest for knowledge. After meeting and speaking to Derwyn, Guildmaster of the Guild of Knowledge, Velshari joined the group, and as always before in his life he excelled, soon becoming one of the Head Trainers for the guild.

Presently Velshari works to become High Priest in his church and hopes one day to become one of the chosen followers of Andaras. His crooked smile and sometimes sarcastic remarks brighten the day of many a weary traveler.

 

Verdis

Class: Cleric
Race: Gnome

Gnomes are known to be inventive, and Verdis's father certainly was. He was a typical gnomish engineer, constantly designing and testing the most strange looking devides for purposes that he never fully explained to anyone. Or maybe he couldn't, given that he never quite knew what he was going for. The only atypical thing about him was that some of his contraptions actually worked. Verdis' mother, a merry woman with a gift of great ale making, was so impressed by this that she asked him to marry her, contrary to the custom of men asking women to marry. One of his successful inventions was an invisibility device. Inexplicably, the device captured the magical forces and cloaked items attached to its 'outlet.' It worked very well - in fact, it worked too well that he could not find the prototype machine ever again when he mistakenly turned on the machine with the outlet attached to itself. He was delighted, then was concerned. What if this invention fell into the wrong hands? Less battle-like than dwarfs and less nimble than hobbits, gnomish people were already devastated by the invading goblins. It was unquestionable that soon the horde will show up at this small village, and they may take the device! But he loved his contraptions too much to destroy them. He decided to take the invention, leave the village, and, making the most of the invis device, hide out in the woods with his family. Hiding the whole village was impossible, but maybe he can hide a small cottage and its yard. When they left the village, the villagers could hear loud creaking noises of a wagon pulling heavy loads, but could see no wagon in sight.

Verdis doesn't remember the old village. She was still a suckling when the family left. She grew up lacking nothing, with loving parents in a house and a lovely yard hidden from the world. Her father eventually devised a partial neutralizer of the 'cloaker' so that if she wandered outside the cloaked area, she could still find her house. But he admonished her not to wander much. She didn't mind. She wasn't adventurous, and was quite content to stay close to the comfort of home. Every night, her mother would pray to the goddess Trista, thanking her for the good fortune and the wonderful ale she allowed to brew. If Verdis got sick, which wasn't rare, her mother would feed her the smoothest gnomish ale, saying a little prayer to Trista. Verdis loved the soothing and blissful feeling prayers brought within her, and would soon start praying together with her mother.

All of this protected happiness ended one day unexpectedly. Verdis was about twelve, a kind, precocious child with a quick mind but with no athletic abilities. Short even for a gnome, she had hair of warm brown shade and dark brown eyes that twinkled out of her round face. She was clumsy, stumbling occasionally just by walking. She was cautious, never venturing far from home. One afternoon, she walked down the familiar path to a flower patch, the 'neutralizer' hanging from her neck and a goatskin filled with her mother's nourishing ale slung across her shoulder. The woods were strangely quiet. Verdis thought she heard a wimpering sound. Peering through the undergrowth, she saw a fawn trembling. "Shhhh, it's all right," she said as she reached to the fawn. Just then, its eyes grew wide with fear, and it sprang up, trying to run away. A second later, with a deadly swooshing sound, a handaxe flew over Verdis' head and struck the fawn dead. Filled with horror, Verdis spun around to run, only to fall flat on her face.

Scrambling to her feet, she found herself staring right into a blood-stained armor. She looked up trembling, and her fear-filled eyes met evil, leering eyes set in a strange, twisted face of a ... "person." It took her no time to realize this was a goblin she had read about. Every strand of hair stood on her body, and she ran away screaming a thin scream.

She hadn't gone too far before she realized with relief that the goblin was not chasing her. She stopped and looked back. Through the trees she saw the goblin scout still standing in the same spot, fiddling with something in his hands. The 'neutralizer!' She must have dropped it when she fell, and now the goblin had it! Her eyes filled with tears. Without the 'neutralizer,' she wouldn't be able to find and get into the house. Then a horrifying thought struck her. The goblin would be able to see her house!! And he'll kill her parents! She had to do something! Without thinking, she grabbed a stone and threw at the goblin, yelling "here, here!"

Verdis immediately regretted her action, as the scout turned and started toward her. She threw another stone, now trying to chase him away. "Go away! Leave us alone!" The scout leered, delighted to have found another toy to torment. That fawn died too easily. This gnome might be more entertaining, he thought. Verdis ran as fast as she could now, which wasn't very fast. The scout shot a couple of arrows, but thanks to her small size, they zipped right by her. Or was he just enjoying her fear? Running out of her breath, she tried to hide by jumping into the bush; unexpectedly, she found herself tumbling down a slope.

All scratched and bruised, Verdis lay hidden. She was lost and weary. She'd lost the neutralizer. Her parents and the lovely home was in danger. What should she do? Then she noticed that she still had the goatskin. Saying a prayer to Trista, she took a little sip. Instead of making her feel better, the ale made her miss the warm, safe home so badly that she started to cry. A shadow stepped in. She heard a resonant voice chant, "Thy energies return!" and her tiredness magically disappeared. Looking up, she saw a pleasant face of a tall stranger. This looks like a... human! The human made motion to keep quiet and follow him. Instinctively trusting him, Verdis followed the stranger deeper into the woods.

Out of immediate danger, the human coaxed out of her what had happened. He seemed thoughtful. As the evening fell, he told her she should come with him for now, and led her to an encampment. Verdis gasped as she stepped into the small clearing lit by torches and magical light; many different races, from tiny sprites to half-giants, were there, atmosphere tense with an anticipation of a battle. The human went to an important looking mage (she must be an elf, Verdis thought) and seemed to be talking about Verdis. The mage nodded and announced to the defenders that a goblin scout got hold of an interesting item, and now there was no chance that the band of goblins they spotted would pull back. We must attack now before more goblins show up, she said. Immediately the warriors prepared for the battle. Battlecries rising, the defenders rushed into the woods to destroy the goblins.

Verdis shook in fear. She heard in the distance clashing of swords, and magic-filled air made her skin prickle. She smelled blood. She cowered and hugged herself and sobbed. Please, I want to go home! She desparately prayed to Trista. She didn't know how long she stayed like that, when the wounded started coming back into the camp. Those with enough energy cast healing spells and went back into the battle. Some were too tired and just lay there, bleeding or poisoned. A tall elf with blue skin and red eyes in a clerical robe would run back and help those badly hurt, before going back into the melee, to be on hand to heal the warriors. The casualty mounted. The dark elf looked harried and tired. He noticed Verdis standing and yelled at her: "Don't just stand there, come here and help me!" Snapping out of her state of shock, Verdis ran to the cleric's side and tried to help tend the wounded. Not knowing any healing magic, she did the only thing she knew; she fed a warrior her mother's ale, as she prayed for Trista's help and mercy. The wounded orc smiled at Verdis. "That was the best ale I've ever tasted," he muttered.

Verdis did what she could assisting the cleric, bandaging and helping the wounded for what seemed like an eternity. Then finally, the battle was over and the weary defenders came back to the camp, happy that no one died and the goblins were decimated. The cleric, finding a little break, apologized to Verdis for snapping at her. "I"m sorry, little gnome, I know you know nothing about the battle and nothing about healing. But I needed every little help I could use. There aren't enough clerics as we need." Just then, the human who helped Verdis in the woods stepped up. "Is this what you lost?" He was holding the 'neutralizer.' Verdis jumped with joy. "Yes!" He handed her the gadget. Verdis's heart sank. The neutralizer was slashed neatly in half. She let out a sigh, which trembled into sobbing. She'll probably never be able to go home now. A kindly hand fell on her shoulder. Verdis didn't look up. A voice said, "you can come with us back to Nexus. We'll think of a way to get you home." The cleric lifted her chin gently. "Little gnome, would you like to come with me and stay in the clerical temple? You seem to have the aptitude for healing, and your parents taught you well to be pious. If you wish, I will teach you the art of healing." Verdis was quiet now. Something told her that her life just started, away from her safe home, from her parents. She thought of them and how they must be worried. Her heart ached. But then, she realized that her parents were safe, if only for now. She wiped her tears. "Please take me to Nexus." She seemed to suddenly mature a year or two as she curtsied formally to the defenders. "I am called Verdis. Please take me as your student so that I may be of help some day soon: I want to be a healer."

 

Zharina

Class: Cleric
Race: Reni

I was on my way back to my home village, not so long ago. The healer there had taken sick and they were unable to heal him. They lived far to the west of Nexus and their isolation had cut them off from most outside help. My mother had sent word to me and I dropped everything to go help. While I made the journey, I thought often of the family I had left 10 years previous and my heart fluttered at the thought of seeing them again.

Upon my arrival, I rushed to the healer's home to diagnose him. He was afflicted with a slow-acting poison that had taken him to death's door. Because of my many experiences in Nexus, it was simple to make an antidote and bring him back to health. Shortly after, I made the trip to my family's cottage across the village. My heart pounded and my breaths came quick. As I walked to the porch I could smell my mother's scented candles burning and I was overcome with a rush of childhood memories... helping my mother at her chandlery...my always-smiling, but rarely-present merchant father...my innocent baby sister... I found myself staring at the front door. I gathered myself together and knocked. All my composure left me when I saw who answered my knock. I gaped at a mirror image of myself!

"Krenna?"

"Zharina!" I hugged my sister tightly. She was so much taller!

"I can't believe how much you've changed!"

"You should talk." She smiled playfully at me. "Please come in."

As I stepped in, I heard a voice from the kitchen, "Who is it dear?"

"It's Zharina!" my sister yelled back.

The house was just as I remembered it. A sense of well-being filled me. My mother hurried in and we embraced. As I looked at them, it struck me that we looked like three versions of the same person. "I'm working at my candles, you can help Kren mix herbs for the scents." That was my mother in a nutshell, never idle and always efficient.

"Is dad around?" I asked.

"Sorry dear, you missed him by a couple weeks."

The three of us talked and made candles late into the evening. Finally I retired to my sister's room. Mine had been converted into a storeroom. My mother didn't even waste space. Krenna told me of her desire to become a scribe and asked me to tell her my reason for leaving.

"It was a difficult decision, but it was something I had to do. Mother always said I acted more like dad, though I look like her. I've always remembered dad's stories of far-off places and finally I decided I had to see what was out there for myself or forever dream of what I did not have..."

"So where have you been all this time?" She asked.

"In the far east, I've found a great city where all the races of the realms dwell. They are constantly at war to defend the city from the goblin hoardes.."

"The what?"

I sighed. "I forget how secluded our village is. The goblins are a twisted race, in body and soul, and seek to destroy or control everything."

A look of horror passed over my sister's face.

"Heroes and heroines have journeyed from across the lands to protect this great city. I myself have taken a vow to aid them in any way I can. That is why I became a healer."

She fixed me with her eyes. "Will you take me there?"

At first I was going to refuse, but the look in her eyes showed that she would not be dissuaded. And it would be better if she came with me, than if she wandered off alone as I had foolishly done.

"Okay."

We left three days later despite my mother's best arguments. We were fortunate enough to get there unmolested by goblins. Of course, the first place I took her was the library. She was in awe. "I've never seen so much knowledge in one place!"

We spent most of the day there. In the evening of her first day in Nexus, she handed me a scroll.

"What's this?" I asked.

"Well, I saw all the stories of those brave adventurers and I wondered if you might submit this, my first work."

"Of course I will, but what is it?"

"It's your story."

It was one of those rare times when I couldn't say anything. I was shocked and touched at the same time.

"Thank you Krenna." She smiled and nodded.

The next morning I took two scrolls to the library. One was written by my sister and the other by me, the previous night. It was a request for apprenticeship for my sister.

-Note by Senior Scribe Horush: I have taken young Krenna as my apprentice and she promises to be a most excellent scribe.

Fighters

Most of these histories were taken first hand while the Hero still lived. Doubtless all are long dead by now.

Aleph

Class: Fighter
Race: Half Elf

Aleph's story begins with his parents. His Mother, Malana, was a very attractive Elf of royal blood. Her kingdom, Woodspaire, was home of many of the local wood elves but one time a traveling group of goblin hunters came through the area and she met this one human, Benae, who was just a perfect match for her. He was a tall, well built, and had a tongue that could melt the hardest female heart. His words were of philosophical roots but he was not the smartest, she could tell. They fell in love and had to meet in secret for she did not know what her parents would think.

Malana's older sister did not like her and always looked for ways to get her in trouble. One day when Malana tried to lie and say she was going to the forest to gather flowers, so she could see Benae, her sister followed. Her sister saw them together and listened to them talk about how much they love one another and how much they couldn't live without each other and her sister saw a great way to get her sister in trouble and destroy her love for this human.

Malana's older sister ran home to the kingdom to tell her parents. When she told them of what she saw they seemed enraged. Malana's sister thought she was going to get her good but did not realize how good. When Malana returned home her parents were waiting. They argued over it and in the end they gave her the option to leave and be with the human, or she could stay and remain royalty and have a prosperous happy life. She did the more romantic, heart led decision and picked to leave the kingdom and be with Benae.

When they returned to Benae's home village she was not welcomed with open arms. They did how ever eventually get use to her since Benae was the best blacksmith in the whole village. They lived a semi-regular life and she learned from the other local women, the ways of the working wife. Benae felt she might not be very happy there so he tried to make her feel more at home by helping her keep some of her old customs.

As time went on she grew more and more adapted to her new life. Also she grew pregnant. When she had the little boy she was officially the settled into her new life. She helped teach the boy, Aleph who was half-elf and half-human, the ways of her people and let Benae teach him the boy things. Benae was a master of arms and a great blacksmith.

Malana was very well educated, she taught him things like reading, writing, and ideas of magic even though he was slow to pick them up. After about nine years of regular day-to-day life, Aleph was doing good enough to aid in hunts and help around his father's blacksmith shop. His mother started to grow ill. She was losing her beauty and she was not able to move. She was very young for an Elf. They sent for Cleric's from all over and no one could heal her illness.

Benae and Aleph were devastated that no one could heal Malana. It wasn't long before she fell to Tilnar's touch. Aleph wanted to be more like his mother since she died, he wanted to keep her spirit alive but just wasn't smart enough so he decided to be the best at what he was good at to make his mother proud. What he didn't know is that he was a lot like his mother and she was proud and her spirit would live on in him.

Twelve more years went on and Aleph was growing into a very admirable young man. He was now in the ranks of the goblin hunters and led small groups to hunt for food. Benae was very proud of Aleph and all his good work. Benae found himself growing older and more depressed since the passing of his wife and real reason of living besides Aleph. One morning before Aleph was going on a goblin hunt, Benae stopped him to have a talk with his son. Aleph and Benae talked about some father son stuff and Benae started to speak to him of moving on and expanding his horizons. Aleph did not want to leave at this time in his life. Benae insisted and tried to make it sound like he had to go. Benae obviously knew something no one else did.

That following morning when the village awoke, his father did not. Aleph was worried cause his father wakes up before the rest to get his shop up and going to start the day. Aleph went to wake his father to realize he was not going to wake. Aleph thought about what his father had said to him and he gathered some of the best supplies from around the smith and had the village come together to tell them what has happened. The village was sad for their losses but they respected Aleph's decision to move on.

Aleph then started out of town and on his journey that would lead him to Falcion, where you know him now.

 

Ariade

Class: Fighter
Race: Half Giant

The sounds of laughter woke him. Bellowing laughter, dragging him from the depths of his dreams and re-acquainting him with the cold, hard ground beneath his wet and ill-clothed body. Peculiar laughter, Rey thought. Bitter and delirious, as if oblivious to the outside world. Shivering and attempting to lie still, Rey pulled his patched cloak tightly to his body as he squirmed further into the brambles he had used for a rainy night's shelter. The laughter seemed to be everywhere at once, yet as his eyes focused in the dark he could barely discern a tall figure in the stark moonlight.

The looming figure could only be a half-giant. He seemed to be leaning back, reclining on a fallen log. The laughter abruptly stopped, and a low, base-ridden rhythmic voice spoke out into the night air.

"Ophelia, is that you? Where have you been? Come my Shieldmaiden, the battle awaits. I have felt your absence as a blade in my side."

A feeling of disquiet inhibited Rey from moving, and carefully fidgeting among the brambles he attained a more comfortable position. A scribe at heart, he carefully unwound a pouch carrying his greatest treasures: A master's delicate scribing pen, and silver ink case. Carefully spreading out a single sheet of papyrus, he focused intently on the words floating through the darkness. He shivered involuntarily at the shadow that seemed to fly across the half giant's face.

**********************************************************************

A moment of confusion crossed Ariade's shadowed features, and a sudden haze clouded his mind. Speaking to the vision of heart's desire before him, he breathlessly said, "Ophelia, where have you been for so long? You left me, and I believe I may have gone mad. I spend my days reliving the past, when you and I used to fight as one, Ariade Blademaster and Ophelia Shieldmaiden, side by side. Ho, all is right with the world again, if you and I may be together."

Confusion tightened the half-giant's brow, and in a tight voice he continued. "But it's odd, you know, my love. I had a dream, again a dream of our battles together. You and I were surrounded by Warslaves of the gobin hordes. We had been betrayed…but by whom? It's hard for me to recall now, it has been a long time since that dream. Yet I feel as I have..been there many times. I have dreamed many dreams since you have gone."

Gazing into oblivion, Ariade spoke aloud, his voice cracking and breaking with the remembrance of a forgotten battle. "I remember being struck from a mage's blast and falling, my flesh torn asunder. On the ground the trolls leapt on me, their blades lancing my flesh as numbness crept through my fingers. I remember you coming to me, ever my savior, my heartseeker. You defended us both as Shieldmaiden, strong, proud and beautiful."

Chest heaving and hands shaking, Ariade choked out, "You fell to one knee, their blows hammering your body. Shield still raised above my broken form you fell atop me, striving to ward off, nay, absorb their hits meant for me, on your own flesh. As the cold consumed me the last thing I recall is the blood: blood of mine and blood of yours, mingling amid the cold, dead ground."

Gasping for breath with a voice breaking into delirium, "Your back! I used the last of my energy to put my arm around your back, but when I reached for you, you were riddled with too many blades. Cold protrusions, stealing you from me."

The night air rings as Ariade grips his wide-eyed head and screams, screams of a wounded, piteous beast, a beast in the claws of delirium and insanity. Shutting his eyes tightly with hands clasped over his ears, Rey struggled not to hear the tormented voice of the half-giant. The cavernous shouts penetrated Rey's weak form, waves of anguish rolling over his consciousness. As the screams died down, Rey carefully lowered his hands to hear a sorrow filled mumbling.

"Oh aye Ophelia, the madness takes me. You were stolen from this world and I am but a shadow, a walking corpse. I died that night, but yet I live on. I live in a dream, and in this dream I will seek the city of Nexus. I will seek an end to this dream amidst the last known fortification against the Goblin Horde, where I will wake once more in your arms and by your side, so that we may be together, soul and flesh."

Heaving himself up with a heavy burden, Ariade trudged away, not bothering to push away the sharp branches that must have bit his flesh. Quickly packing his tools, Rey scrambled in the darkness behind the half giant, a small shadow gazing into the torture of a heavy soul.

 

Atriedo

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

Hellos. Mys name is Atriedo and I's will tell yous my story.

I's was borns on the potato farm back over the other sides of the mountains and that was good. Mys dad name was Schlok, my moms name was Mooshi. I call her mom. I also used to have a mom's mom, but she died. She taughts me hows to reads, and hows to write. I's good, you thinks? So, I grew ups on the potato farm, learning to makes stuff with potatos. Mys favorite is the sugar-glazed hot potato. Here is recipe.

1 potato
5 handfuls of sugar
a hot fire

Alls you do is melt the sugar in a cup, and then poke lotso holes in em potato. Then yous dip it in the sugar, and waits till it get hard, then yous eat it. Its good.

Another good thing yous can do with potatos is to throws them at peoples. Theys only hurt alot, they no kill.

So anyways, I's lived on the potato farm. I tell yous story about one time there. Theres is a creek running over there next to the farm, and one days, this big bird floated by on it. It was a Swan. I runs out to it, and I throws a rock at it. It looks at me, and it goes, "HONK!!!!" And it flapped its wings and bobbed it's neck. It scary. Then, it chase me all day, and part of next. Moral of story is, Swans can float.

Another time, there was this guy and he comes to our house. He says, "Hello!" We looks at him, and he says, "Would you like to buy a shovel? It must be hard to plant potatos with rocks!" He had seen us planting, methinks. Then I says to hims, "What is shovel?" He says, "This is a shovel!" And he shows me this thing that is shiny and shaped like a half a potato! Schlok, he goes, "Oot! it shaped like potato!' So he buys and the man shows him how to use it. I tell yous, We can plant lots more potatos with it. Like maybe a trillion. So anyways, this guy says, "Could I trouble you fine people for room and board?" We looks at him funny. Why he want that? So, Mom says, "Okays." She goes into the shed, and gets a board, and gives it to him. Then wes back away. He look at us funny, and goes, "A place to sleep. We says, "Why not you says sos in first place?" He made a face then. The next day, The shovel man, he says, "Well, thank you all for your kindness." We sayed "Yous Welcome," and then I starts waving. Schlok and mom start looking at me, then back at shovelman, then he look at me, Then mom and Schlok say, "Wes give you to shovelman to learn to be a shovelman. "Come back somedays. We wait for yous!" I's say, "I don't wants to bes a shovelman!" Then shovelman says, "I will show you things better than shovels!" So I think for a minute, and I says, "Okays."

It not fun being shovelman, we wandered around for a long times, selling shovels to whoever wanted ones. Not many peoples want shovels. The shovelman, He not nice. He make me carry all the shovels. They heavy.

One day, shovelman, he says to me, "Come quick, we are about to make a sale!" So, I follow him, and he takes me to a a little house with smoke coming out the chimney, and we go in, and this old lady, she says, "Do you have my shovel?" Then the shovelman gives her her shovel. He says, "Where is my money?" She says, "I decided not to pay you." He says, "Then I will take back my shovel." The lady, she looks at him, and then she starts to yell stuff at him, she say, "May you be cold as the dead!" Then the shovelman, he started shivering! Methinks shes was a witch. Then, she looks at me, I was skeered! She starts waving her arms around, and I got skeered more, so I just gave her a good one right in the noggin. She faints, and we ties her up, and we warms the shovelman up. Then, When she wakes up, she glares, and starts spitting at us. So, shovelman, he says, "I will show you what happens to witches!" Then, he picks up the shovel and starts digging a hole outside. It takes two days to finish, and the witch almosted escaped, because the ropes was frayed. But I tied her ups with more. So, when he done, the shovelman, he put her in the hole, chair and all, and she starts saying, "I'm sorry!" Then he says, "I don't believe you." So, he did some mean things to her. He threw mud on her, and put water on her, and she got really angry, and she says, "I will kill you both." This scareded me bads, and I say, "Shovelman, wes gotta go!" He laughs, and keep being mean. So I start running, I not wanna die! I run, and run, and run, and run, and I come to this place, where I not know where I was, it was a forest. I got lost, and just kept walking, and finally, I comes to a mountain. I decided to climbs the mountain, to see if I's could see.

So, I starts to climb the mountain, and Theres this cave. I's can see light at the other end, I think, it mebbe a shortcut. So, I's go in. Then all of a sudden, a big, shiny, thing came outta the wall! It says, "YOU ARE IN MY MOUNTAIN!" I scream and I run. I outta mountain. I starts climbing again, and this thing comes outta cave! I climb fast and fast and fast! Finally, I gets angry, and throws rocks at it. It falls down mountain, and I heared it go CRUNCH! CRACK! POP! and this gross wet sound there no word for. So, I's go back in cave, because, I thinks, I killed it, now I's go and get his stuff, I hungry, mebbe he got food. So, I go in cave, and where I saw him come outta wall, I's look, and there is actually a hidden door. So, I's go in, and I sees lotsa bones, and armor, and stuff, I put the armor on, and in a sack, there was this note that says,

PLEASE RETURN TO NANOC IF FOUND
INQUIRE IN FALCION, RYMEK, OR NEXUS.
$$REWARD$$

I thinks to meself, He no need this, so I go, and take sack. I climb to toppo mountain, and see a big camp so I climbs down other side and I goes down, and there was these ugly things, and one seeses me, and grunts! He picks up this big ole sword, and runs at me! I bashem in the noggin, and he drops sword. I pick up, and cut his head off! It was gross! So, I sneaked around the camp, and see they ares fighting people that looks like me. I says, hellos! They look at me, and says, "Someone help him, There is a goblin about to kill him!" So I say, "What is goblin?" They say, "look out!" Then I feels this sharp pain in my bottom, and I looks, and it is arrow! I starts crying, and run over to them. They pull it out, and heal me, and take me back to big city. It was Nexus. Then they says, "Go to Falcion, they will help you train to become a fighter." So, I's ask directions, and they show me way, and I go to Falcion and becomes a fighter, because me no knows way back to potato farm. Mebbes I find it someday.

Stories Of Mes Training

After mes get to Falcion, I's decides to becomes a fighter, becauses mes not too smarts. But not as dumb as barbarian. Sos, I gos, and I starts looking arounds. I goes to this place, called Fountain of Hope. Thats is place where everyone goses. I sees this Chest, I looks inside, and sees lotso stuff! I take it all. I starts looking around mores, and I goes north from theres, and I comes to a pawn shoppe. So, I's goes in, and I says, "Hey! Mes Atriedo, yous wants some stuff?" She looks at me, and says, "What have you got for me today?" So, I's dump out all my stuff, and she says, "What tier are you?" I says, "Me One." She looks at me, and says, "Where did you get a Steel Breastplate?" I says, "Oh, theres was a chest, and it no looks like anyones, so I takes it!" Then I grins. She leans over the counter, grabs mys ears, and says, "I don't take stolen goods. Get out of my sight!" So, I leaves. Moral of story, yous reads the proclamations and notices next to things.

Another time, I's was walking around, and by nows, I's was about three tier. I goes over to tavern, and on the way theres, I notice a hole in the rock! I's not sees before! Sos, I go in, and starts looking arounds. I about to leave, becauses it looks like nothing there, but then I sees a crack in the wall. Sos, I go in there, and I cant no go backs! I start stumbling arounds, trying to find a way out, and all of sudden, KERPLUNK! I was knee deep in a pool of water, and something was in the pool with me! I's scared! This big monster comes and trys to eats me! I runned! I was almost giving up for dead, when, I sees a light! i can no climb up to its, so I yells, and yells, and yells! Finallys, a mage, he find a barbarian, and the barbarian get rope and pull me up. That cave, I never go back in again! Except for one times, but I died thens. After thats I never goes back in.

When I's was sixth tier, I was walking arounds, minding my own businesses, when all of sudden, a big bug, it poop on me! I look ups, and sees all the bugs! Everywhere! They started landing and killing peoples! I hide in corners, because thoses bugs, they nearly kill mes with one pinch! I brain talked to someone and tolds him about the bugs, and he brain talks back, and says, "Stay there, We are coming." Soon after thats, A bunch of big strong mages and fighters and clerics, they come and kill the bugs. Then someone says, "Someone needs to clean up these streets!" So, me and a bunch of other peoples, we get the bodies, and we buries them over by the pier. If yous look close, yous can still see graves. But then, right after we finish, this guy, mes forget his name, he come and kill some of us, and try and kill me! He not finish me off thoughs. I's was too strong for him. So, they go, and they catch hims in a big forest, and I not know what happens to him after thats.

After thats, I gots to be seven tier, and I goes to Nexus.

Well one day, I's was in the Townsquare with Will, and Sevel, and mebbes Frolus, and we hears that a highwaymen killed someones! Then the person, he braintalks, and says "Highwaymen blocking Tothese Road!" So, everyone starts looking, and sure nuff, theres is highwaymen! They were tough, but a bunch of us killed them alls.

A little whiles ago, Theres was a little goblin problem in Nexus. Me, Will, and Felicity was ins the Townsquare, and we sees the goblin spys run out of the shadows! We screams, and Felicity brain-talks, and says, "Goblin Spies in Nexus!" So, I starts looking for more, and people were brain talking, and saying wheres theres was bad guys. Peoples was tellings about Elven Sniperslaves, and Ogrish Deathralls, and Goblin Warriors, and lotso others! I go out the west gate, and I run smack into four Goblin warriors! I Run back to Nexus to tell everyone, and I tells them, but theys was busy killing other stuffs. So, I helps them. First, we kills some trying to rob the jewelry store. Then, We go in bank, Because Calvin, He says, "They are in the bank!" So we go in, and There is so many! So many, that even Serge got killed! It took awhiles, and I not able to help much, but we killed them alls! They not get into the vault, even though they tries. Then, I tells them about the four warriors. We all go, and kill the warriors, then I scout some more, and I run right into a Morloch, or Warlock, or somethings like that. I's was toast. For real. he zap me good, two times! He kills me, and I angry! I comes back, and they tells me, they ran off! But, I got two good clubs out of the whole thing. Moral of story is, yous sees a Morloch, runs and gets helps!

That end of story, I tell you other stuff now.

RECIPE FOR MASHED POTATOS

One potato
A big Stick
A Pot
Salt

Put the potato in the pot, and smash it for a really long time. Then you heat it up, and put salt on it.

RECIPE FOR POTATO SALAD

Potato
Knife
Lettuce
Lard

Yous cut up potato and lettuce, and put lard on them, and eat.

RECIPE FOR TWICE BAKED POTATO

Same thing as baked potato, only bake twice as long.

POTATO LOVERS OF NEXUS

Join the Potato Lovers! It fun.

STUFF I HAVE LEARNS FOR PEOPLES IN FALCION

If yous first tier, fight in the park.
If yous two tier, fight in the sewer.
If yous three tier, fight in the cave.
If yous four tier, fight in grey building.
If yous five tier, fight in mansion.
If yous six tier, fight in mansion.
If yous seven tier, go to Nexus. It fun. Lotso peoples.

STUFF I HAVE LEARNS FOR PEOPLES NOT IN FALCION

Fight in Tothese Woods. Lotso bandits, need law enforcement. Don't use teleport devices fors fun. I's got killed one time. But if yous do use one, and yous end up in a desert, walk around untils you find the black pyramid, thens yous brain talk for help. If yous in a cave, don't moves. Just gets help.

 

Brost

Class: Fighter
Race: Orc

Draila looked to her husband, Beltok, right in the eyes, as he raised a knife from his side.

"How could you..." he said softly, as he quickly slashed her throat with the blackened blade. Draila had just given birth to a child. However, something seemed amiss with the newborn. Beltok brought the child to the village shamans for examination. After one intense look at the child, they revealed to Beltok the painful truth; Beltok was not the father of this child. Moreover, the baby had birth defects that brought his future into question. Faced with a motherless child who would ultimately lead an unfulfilling life, Beltok chose to expose the newborn. He climbed the mountains despite the fierce biting winds and extremely cold temperatures. At the summit, he made his prayer to Erisar, and laid a carved stone that read, "Brost Uk'Beltok, the Forbidden Child. May your life destined for suffering end so that you may sit with the Gods."

Three days later, a giant found a basket with a newborn orc in it, barely alive. Not quite sure what to do, he examined the child carefully for a while, holding it tightly to warm it, and decided to take the child with him, taking the carved stone that lay near the child. Fearing for the baby's health, the giant searched for the nearest temple so that priests could evaluate the little orc.

"How is he?" asked the blue-skinned giant, in a deep, somber voice.

"He was exposed for many days, "explained the priest, "The fact that he is still alive is a miracle in itself, in my mind. We've healed him as best we can. There is not much more we can do."

"How does his future look for him?" asked the giant.

"We can't determine that. It appears that he may have some sort of physical abnormality, but we can't really tell. I haven't dealt enough with orcs to be able to know for sure."

The giant nodded and continued on his way to Dilran, his home village. When he returned, he went to the town orphanage and put the child under its care. He left the carved stone with the caretaker and left, confident that the child would be safe.

The child's name was determined to be Brost by a foster parent at the orphanage who, by some odd coincidence, could understand the orcish written language. Although much smaller than the Storm Giants that he was surrounded by, the caretakers were amazed when he equalled or, in some cases, bettered his counterparts in certain games of strength. However, the caretakers also noted his slow mental development which worried the workers at the orphanage. Though certainly a part due to physiological differences, Brost's complete inability to grasp the language of the Traenol gradually became a greater cause for alarm. In addition, his overly rounded face which resembled an ogre more than an orc made his parents wonder whether the child was even normal.

Brost was raised by the Traenol orphanage for five years, until the village of Dilran was assaulted by the juggernaut of the Horde's armies. The outnumbered Traenol warriors fought with incredible valor and unparalleled skill, but the sheer numbers of the Goblin Army proved to be their downfall. As the warlocks began to cast anti-barrier spells in unison, the giant by the name of Havaris ran to the orphanage and mounted a winged beast, flying away to the southeast to the city of Tae'rival.

Havaris flew for many days with Brost the Orc in his arms, stopping only briefly to feed himself and to feed his young companion. The two of them reached the Crystal Mountains about a week later, to find a pair of cloud giants marching up the mountain trail. Noticing the two beasts, he attempted to travel around them, but he noticed more hostile troops all around. Havaris decided his best attempt would be to assault the pair of cloud giants. Pulling out an enormous claymore from his scabbard, he ordered his beast to fly low and accelerate as he charged the two giants. The beast let out a cry, and as he did, Havaris took a deep breath, offering a prayer to Dilanis and Tilnar, and let out his war cry, sword in hand, ready to impale. The beast swooped ever lower, and was now within ten feet of the ground as Havaris prepared his sword. The cloud giants turned quickly, to see what was behind them, and immediately Havaris swung his sword, slicing one giant's head off with one giant chop. As he passed the giants, he flipped backward, dismounting the beast and landing on his feet, about 15 feet away from the remaining Cloud Giant. He noted a pair of stripes that lay on the giant's bandolier, and immediately recognized those stripes as the mark of a leader. Havaris locked his sword, tip pointed at the giant's forehead, and immediately began running, his head moving forward like a bullet throughout his charge. He let out a long battle cry, and swung his sword backward, in a backhanded uppercut slash. The giant, still disoriented, threw his sword down as he desperately deflected the attack. The two exchanged parries and blows for several minutes. The cloud giant then caught Havaris off balance, and swung his sword brazenly for his head. Havaris instinctively put his arm up, allowing his forearm to take the brunt of the strike. Wincing once, then pulling a straight face, Havaris returned that attack with a thrust aimed for the cloud giant's abdomen. The giant dodged the blow partially, letting the blow smash through a rib, as he returned another slash across Havaris's chest. Havaris twisted his claymore, gutting the innards of the giant, as the giant's broadsword carved an enormous wound across his chest. Havaris pulled his sword out, and thrust it once again into the dying Cloud Giant, this time in the middle of his chest. The Cloud giant fell into a heap, his translucence fading away as his life force left him. Bloody and dying, Havaris covered his wounds and returned to his beast, where the child waited, eyes wide open and in utter shock. Havaris ordered the beast up, as he slumped against it's back, searching the ground for a caravan. Several minutes later, he spotted one, and weakly ordered the beast down.

Upon landing, Havaris collapsed onto the floor, his bloodied body sprawled across the ground, as he inched toward the stopped caravan. A man stepped out of the wagon, and ran to Havaris's side, examining his wounds. To this Havaris replied, almost inaudibly, ". . . Take the orc on my beast . . . and let it go . . . He ... will ... know ... where ... to ... go ... but please ... bring Brost ... to ...safety......."

Havaris looked up to the sky, and saw a blue aura around the beast, as the man took the child. He then saw Dilanis's face looking at him, kissing his cheek and saying, "He will one day fight as you did . . . with the utmost honor." Dilanis faded from existence, as the world became black.

The merchant saw the pitiful, dying traenol and shrugged, taking the small orc from the best, who immediately flew away. "Hey Will, get off your lazy ass and come look at this," he gruffly called, prompting a bearded man to exit the wagon. The bearded man looked at the small orc.

"He looks kinda funny to me, wonder what's wrong with him," the bearded man said, holding his chin in contemplation. The merchant then began talking to the boy, trying to get a response.

"Hey, kid, you hear me? Answer me, boy. Damnit, I said answer me!!" the merchant called, with increasing frustration. Finally, he pulled back his hand and slapped him across the face. To this, Brost responded by glaring at the merchant, and pushing him flat on his back.

The merchant got up quickly, startled, and said to the boy, "Why you little ... I'm gonna ...!" as the bearded man held him back.

"Hey, he doesn't look too bright, but maybe we can make a little act to showcase that strength of his," said the bearded man to the merchant.

The merchant looked at Brost thoughtfully, and said, "Hmmm, that sounds good." He then picked Brost up, and carried him to the wagon.

As the two men rode to the nearest village, Rytolla, they discussed ways to exploit the child. Among other things, a way to bind the child to prevent running away was discussed. Upon arriving to the town, the two men went to the blacksmith and asked the man to make handcuffs and a steel muzzle, all connected with chains that go to a neck piece. In addition, another chain stood at the back of the neck piece, which could be tied to any object to keep him in one location. With this slave's outfit on, the two men began to test his strength by throwing heavy objects at him. The orcish boy caught each one, despite having chained hands, with relative ease. The two men then rolled a large boulder at him, which he stopped, and then, to the men's astonishment, picked up and threw back. With this simple yet astonishing show set up, the two men began to perform shows. On their first informal show, the audience simply sat there, astonished. The two men netted a total of 5,000 gold pieces as a result of this one, informal show. The two men continued to rake in an abundance of gold as a result of their new circus slave. As the child orc's reputation grew, so did the crowds who came to see this wonder, to see if the rumors were actually true.

In the middle of one show, the two men were interrupted by a half-giant as he arose, with a deep scowl on his face.

"How much have you made off this child?" his voice boomed as he asked the question.

The bearded man replied, "Why the hell do you care? Sit back down and enjoy the show. You are disturbing the rest of the audience."

"No." the half-giant boomed with frightening conviction.

The merchant chuckled, and said, "And what are you going to do about it, kind sir?"

The half-giant gave a small smirk, and, throwing off his cloak, pulled out a sharp, blackened katana. "Do you wish to debate this further, or are we in agreement that you will stop exploiting the child and hand him over to me?"

The merchant returned his smirk with a deep scowl, and unsheathed two daggers. With the flick of a wrist, a small knife flew out of his right forearm, toward the standing half-giant. The half-giant quickly dodged the knife as he moved forward, toward the two men. The bearded man unsheathed a curved shortsword and a small knife, looking smugly at the half giant. The merchant struck first, daggers slashing opposite directions. The half-giant deflected one with his katana and disarmed the first dagger. Before the second dagger could strike, he struck the merchant with the flat of the katana blade, stunning him. He then directed his attention to the bearded man. The man went for a downward stab with the shortsword, but the half-giant effortlessly deflected the blow, and sent the shortsword flying across the village streets. He then sent a powerful kick to the man's stomach, pushing him into the ground, out of danger. The half-giant returned to the merchant, pointing the sword at his neck, and said, "Do we still have any problems?"

Not waiting for a reply, he searched the man for a key to unchain the boy. After retrieving the key, he unlocked all the boy's chains and said, "You're free. You can come with me."

While embracing the boy, the half giant unexpectedly turned and thrust behind him, piercing the chest of the retaliating merchant. He then turned back around, wiping his sword with a cloth, and resheathed it in a beautiful carved jade scabbard.

"My name is Ariade," the half-giant said softly to the trembling orc, "I will not hurt you, Brost." Ariade carried the orc on his left shoulder as he walked across the Crystal Mountains to his home, Nexus.

 

Carston

Class: Fighter
Race: Unknown

"Faster, boy! If you want to fight with us, you have to keep up!" Fenwick boomed at the boy, whose round babyface betrayed his body of a fully-grown human.

Carston trudged along, struggling to keep up with the rest of his cadre of trainees. His father, Wicked, watched from Fenwick's side, his shadowed face as emotionless as ever.

Only a tender child of eight years, Carston trained on the front lines, receiving a premature and gruesome lesson on the true nature of war. The green squad marched through the forest, struggling to keep up with the grueling pace that Fenwick demanded of them. As they were marching, Carston heard a faint rustling in the shrubs by his feet. Although the rustling unnerved him, he shrugged it off as a squirrel or other small forest animal as they marched their way back to the camp.

As the squad approached the camp, the group could sense the chaos that was building around them. Plumes of smoke rose from a tent. The faint sound of crashing metal emanated from the base. As the signs of a fight were more evident, Fenwick ordered his group to move as fast as possible together so they could help out at the base. Carston, who struggled with the previous pace, watched Fenwick and Wicked in awe of their ability to move so swiftly while donning a full set of armor. He gasped for air as he trudged through the muddy forest, trying desperately to maintain their pace.

When they were within one thousand yards from the camp, Fenwick halted. Carston's focus switched from Fenwick to what was in front of him. He saw a mixed squad of both drow and goblin, unsheathing their weapons and preparing for battle. Behind him, he heard loud footsteps meeting the squad's rear. Turning around, he saw another squad of goblin soldiers, walking toward their rear. Fenwick screamed, "Attack!" as the Goblin forces descended upon them. In that next instant, Wicked and Fenwick charged the Goblin soldiers, each moving with lightning speed and leaving blood and gore in their wake. Carston turned his attention to the rear, and looked in horror at the experienced Goblin soldiers attacking the timid, untrained crew that he belonged in.

Screams followed grizzly screams as more of his comrades were slain. Carston unhooked his mace from his belt, and charged one of the soldiers. Mace over head, he swung his mace downward as hard as he could over the unprepared goblin's head. He watched the brown-skinned creature crumple into the heap on the ground, and looked around him for a new target. As he met with their blazing red eyes, however, he suddenly became filled with fear. He found himself unable to think normally as they came after him like ravens. He desperately fought off their attacks with his mace, trying to keep alive.

As he walked backward, trying to get away from them, he tripped over a rock, leaving his helpless body sprawled across the ground as several angry goblins approached. He looked the goblins in their eyes, their predator's faces eagerly awaiting another victim. Then, suddenly, one by one, the goblins' faces turned from carnivorous to shock, and they fell to the floor, blood oozing from their backs. Carston looked up, and saw Wicked and Fenwick standing over him, breathing heavily. He then stood up, and looked at the sight around him. He looked at the seven men from his squad that lay dead. Each body was replete with large, hideous wounds. One man's slash wounds were so bad that his guts leaked onto the bloodstained ground. Another man's arm lay detatched, a foot away from the rest of his blood-soaked body. Carston vomited, unable to stand the stench of death and the horrible consequences of battle.

Wicked stooped down low to enter the tent in which Fenwick was housed. Upon entering, he lowered himself to one knee to make himself comfortable with the low ceiling. He found Fenwick sitting by a table, studying reconnaissance maps and planning his troop movements. Fenwick looked up, and opened his mouth.

"You wished to speak with me, Wicked?" asked Fenwick in a stone-cold voice.

"Yes. I am sending my boy back to Nexus," replied Wicked.

"As you wish. May I inquire why?" Fenwick answered.

Wicked replied, with stern emotion, "I cannot bear to allow my son to be forced to witness the appalling aspects of war at such a young age. The last thing I wish is for our young to forget just how evil and how horrible war is. We have been fighting the goblins for such a long time, and I fear that we have forgotten how to live without fighting. On top of that, I fear for his safety out here. Not only does he have talent as a fighter, but I care for him, my son, as I would for myself. His life is equal to my own, and it would devastate me if I had to bury him. One is supposed to bury his parents, not his sons and daughters."

Fenwick listened, and replied in a less-harsh voice, "I understand your decision and the desire for his safety. I will arrange for him a place to stay in Nexus, and make certain that he continues his training there. I wish him the best of luck back home."

Wicked looked at Fenwick and gave a rare smile, as he said, "Thank you. You do not understand what your support means to me. I keep you in my prayers."

With that, he walked out of the tent.

 

Cole

Class: Fighter
Race: Half-Orc

He is faceless among all the other half breeds. his appearance quickly forgotten among the myriad of races and creeds in Altin. If you were to ask him his name, he would respond with simple and complete detachment one simple word, Cole. He would maintain his distance and keep his eyes averted.

But that was not always so...

Cole was born in the year 1218 of the Empire, on the 19 of the month of Wildfire. He was brought into the world by Lillian Heart, a local human healer, and Ravo Tholmsbane who spent most of his life unemployed, but aspired to be a great warrior. As you might have guessed Cole was not his given name. He was born as Kymrok Tholmsbane in Rosehelm. The first few years of Kymrok's life were uneventful, he spent it under his father's drunken tutelage, learning how to be a fighter. Spending his days watching his father hunt rats or simply practicing his parrying. Kymrok soon learned he had a natural ability with a sword and a strange natural strength.

At age nine, Kymrok began his apprenticeship with the Rosehelm bank (An attempt by his mother to keep him out of trouble). He learned slowly and after two years of miserable work, the banker announced him unfit to keep ledger there. So feeling dejected, Kymrok began spending much of his time doing nothing, simply sitting at home waiting for messages from Nexus, City of all Races, crowned jewel of Altin, the one place he had wanted to always see. So the days dragged on to months, months to years, and Kymrok woke up one day to find himself at the age of fourteen. This was a vital year for Kymrok, he had to decide his profession this year, he was becoming too old to be coddled by his mother. So one morning he set out to the local blacksmith, resigned to his fate of dreary, repetitive work. But as he was nearing the Smithy, he noticed a sudden change in the weather, the skies became a overcast full of what he knew to be thunderclouds. A steady rain began to fall and quickly became a torrent of water striking him. Kymrok became alarmed by the weather, but decided to think nothing of it, and continued to head towards his destination. As he came to the door of the blacksmith's shop, he heard the sounds that would end up changing his life forever. He opened the door and heard a huge explosion! Followed by several screams and yells that sounded vaguely like "AT ARMS!". Mr. Aneon, the Smithy, yelled for Kymrok to come inside quickly and bar the door. Kymrok did so and found himself being dragged to the cellar of the shop all the while hearing Mr. Aneon muttering "I knew those damn goblins were coming, if they had only listened ... if they only listened.". While he continued his mantra, what he had said sunk into Kymrok, the goblin hordes had found their way into Rosehelm! Suddenly Kymrok arrived at the very corner of the cellar. Mr. Aneon flipped a switch and a secret opening sprang up before Kymrok. Kymrok was quickly thrown and locked inside and could hear only the faint sounds of water running. After what could have been a minute or eternity, Kymrok heard quiet scratching above him. A sudden burst of torch light greeted his eyes as Mr. Aneon, blood running from a wound in his forehead, Took Kymrok from his hiding place. The injured Smithy told Kymrok to run home and see if his mother was still well. Kymrok, having forgotten about his mother, quickly set off towards his house. As Kymrok neared what remained of his burning home he saw what had been in his dreams since he could remember. A tall dark half-giant, Covered in head to toe in silver armor and wearing a flowing black cloak. The warrior quickly noticed Kymrok's presence and asked him if he had lived in that house. Kymrok nodded and the shining giant knelt down and told him very quietly, "you should come with me then, your parents have been slain during the goblin attack". Kymrok followed the Shimmering hero, tears flowing from his cheeks, and left Rosehelm.

They walked a day's travel and arrived at a strange sloop leading to an island Kymrok hadn't seen before. The warrior then simply said "This is Rymek, if you wish to avenge your parents' death, board that sloop to Falcion and enter the gates, they will teach you to fight". And so he did. Vowing vengeance for his parents death and promising to fulfill his dreams of becoming a fearsome warrior. He walked. Upon arriving he changed his name to Cole and quickly graduated from Falcion to become a Myrmidon. And to this day he fights for Nexus and his parents.

 

Decimus

Class: Fighter
Race: Half Giant

I don't remember much from the first years of my life. But at the age of 5 the elders in our little tribe started to train me in the arts of combat. The first two years I was trained as a barbarian, but the elders in our tribe said I wouldn't fit as a barbarian, because they could not sense the rage inside me. Instead they suggested I should learn the finer things in combat.

One of the drillmasters told me he knew a man that could help me with my training. So I packed my things, took my sword and walked of.

After a few days I arrived to a house, almost overrun by the wilderness surrounding it.

As I approached the front door I heard a branch snap to the left of me and a split second later I felt the tip of a blade at my throat.
- Who are you? Asked a voice coming from behind a large stone.
- I'm Decimus, I said and let my hand slowly slid towards my sword.
- What are you doing here? The voice asked.

So I explained why I was here. I felt how the sword disappeared from throat. You can guess how supprised I became when a dwarf came crawling down from the stone.

At first I had a hard time to believe that the dwarf was a master in the arts of fighting, but as the years passed my respect for the little man grew.

I stayed at the dwarf's for a long time, mostly training all the time.

One night he woke me up and told me to arm myself and then to follow him. I did as he said and we sneaked out from a hidden exit in the house. When we had found a good spot to observe I understood why he had told me to follow him.

Outside the house was a small squad of Goblins, looking interestedly at the house.

- Now it's time for you to show me what you have learned, my trainer said and handed me a human hard and a blue orb.
- In case things should go really bad, he added and smiled slightly.

I wielded my sword and walked down to the goblins. The first two goblins died after my first 5 cuts. The rest of the goblins started to surround me.

Before they had surrounded me, I charged at the goblin in front of me killing him. Quickly I sidestepped and the blow from the Goblin behind me missed. As he tried to cut me and missed he left his entire back open, and I just thrusted the sword down in his back.

The four goblins left looked at me with a little bit of fear in their eyes when suddenly one of them shouted something and the three goblins charged at me, whilst the one shouting the order tried to flee. I killed the three goblins fairly easy and tried to see where the last goblin had fled.

Then I saw something round flying towards me, it landed in front of me and I saw it was the head of a goblin. I looked at the way the head had come from and saw my teacher walking towards me, cleaning his blade. - Piece a cake, he said and went inside.

I cleaned my weapon and headed to bed.

The morning after when I woke up my teacher told me it was time for me to leave.
- Why? I asked
- The city of Nexus needs good fighters like you. But first you must prove yourself worth on a island. I shall take you there today, then leave you for your destiny.

So we went out in the woods and after 12 hours he showed me a sloop and told me to board it. I waved to him, and boarded the sloop, and the beginning of my adventures started.

/DeCiMuS Do'Gas

 

Doralus

Class: Fighter
Race: Half-Giant

A young reporter was sitting in the Tavern in Falcion, quietly sipping his drink. He paid little attention to the two fighters that walked in and took their seats at the bar, until they began to speak. Quietly eaves- dropping, he learned that the younger of the two was being interviewed for acceptance into the Fighters' Guild. This piqued his curiosity even more, for he had never seen this strange, wild-looking half-giant before.

After time, the two stood and shook hands, the elder seeming pleased. As he left, the reporter stood and ran to the door before the other could leave.

"Ah, hello there. I'm Stryne," he said hurriedly.

The large fighter stopped and looked down at him. "What you want?"

"I just happened to hear part of your conversation there... I'd like to talk to you and write some of it down. It sounded interesting."

The half-giant grunted and moved to leave, but Stryne reached out a hand. "I'll buy you a drink."

The larger one sighed, aggravated at being detained, but not willing to refuse a free drink. He sat down with a grunt and gruffly ordered the bartender to bring him some ale.

Stryne sat down next to him and pulled out a pad with a quill. "So, let's start over, shall we? What's your name?"

"Me Doralus," was the short, guttural reply. He was still not happy at being held up here, but he was at least enjoying his drink.

The reporter smiled and began to take fluid notes as he spoke. "I heard something about you being in a carnival. What happened?"

Doralus grunted, "Bah, start sooner dan dat. Me wander since young. Came to dis town. Dis man dere, he like me. Show me tricks."

"What kind of tricks?" Stryne asked.

"He show me throw tings in air, den catch. People watch, dey laugh and clap."

Stryne's quill didn't stop moving. "Ah, you -were- part of a circus then."

A grunt was his only reply, and Stryne chuckled at the image of this large brute being a carnival side-show.

"Were you there very long?" Stryne had to wait as Doralus ordered more ale.

"Me dere some time. Learned lots. Learn throw knives, clubs, every- ting." Doralus boasts, "Me make blade do what-ever me want!"

"Ah, I see. So what happened after that? Obviously, you are not still there."

Doralus frowns darkly, "Da goblins happen." He muttered something to himself as he took another sip of his drink. "Dey come every-where. All town, kill every-ting. Dey come to us, we try fight, but we do no-ting."

Doralus glares at nothing in particular as he finishes his second ale and slams it down on the bar. "Me try hurt dem, bash wit clubs me use. Dat no work, so use blades me prac-tice with."

Stryne just nods, writing furiously.

"Dey come anyway. Kill every-ting. Me friends yell, 'Run! Run!' so me turn, run to dem, but da goblins get dem first. Me see, den me run into woods."

At this, Stryne pipes up, "So you got away? They didn't follow you?"

Doralus grunts and nods. "Me lose dem in woods. Den me start wander again. Have one small blade, use get food," he said as he ordered yet another ale.

"So how did you end up here?"

"Me keep wander, come to dis town, Ry... ry..."

Stryne looks up from his notes, "Rymek?"

Doralus grunts and nods. "Some person dere ask help wit hunt, need food or some-ting. Me help, den dey pay me come here."

"So why are you here?"

Doralus stands and drains his ale in one gulp, then sets the empty glass on the bar with the others. "Me train. One day, pay dem back." Doralus nods to himself as he walks quickly out.

Stryne calls out for him to wait, but Doralus has already gone. He sighs, gathers his papers and stands to leave, but he is stopped by the bartender who points to the empty glasses and holds out his hand.

 

Dratin

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

During one cold day of winter an ogre child was born into the world. This child would leave his own people to lead others to victory. This child was Dratin, a born huntsman and leader. The story of Dratin is not to be told in its entirety for it is not completely finished or even known. Dratin was born into a wealthy family a decade or so ago. His father was a successful hunter and tradesman. His mother was given a large area of land in which the rest of the family farmed all year. Dratin’s birth was widely rejoiced at first, since his mother was thought to be barren. His birth also excited Dratins father immensely. Now his father had someone to share the passion of the hunt.

In Dratin’s early years were typical of any ogre child, filled with hard work and long days. He stood tall with huge forearms and bulky body. He had the ways and teaching of a leader. At the age of five Dratin went on his first real hunt. This day will live forever in the memories of Dratin as the day his father was killed. Dratin and his father were walking through the woods in search of a tiger cave. They stumbled upon a corpse of a dead unicorn. The unicorn was mutilated and covered with strange marking burnt into its flesh. Dratins father seemed very startled, most likely because he knew that no good being would ever slaughter a unicorn. Unicorns are a beautiful and elegant race, and should never be harmed. As the two ogres stared upon the unicorn’s corpse a greater evil was being unleashed on a neighboring village. Dratin and his father were totally oblivious to the death and destruction that was taking place near the very place both of them grew up.

Some how a mutated beast resembling a tiger had leaped over a small barricade and was tearing a town full ogres to shreds. The beast stopped at nothing to destroy the town, even when all the warriors joined for a resistance they were all slaughtered. Mean while Dratin and his father started home to gather a scouting party to find out what killed the graceful unicorn. On the trek his father took the time to explain to his son what it meant to kill a magical creature like a unicorn and how a hunter should respect his prey. Dratin understood what his father was saying completely and agreed to protect the hunt. As they approached their town they saw a massive cloud of billowing smoke off in the distance. Both the ogres ran home, as Dratin was preparing for danger his father was gathering a group of the best warriors and scouts. Every ogre in the town was fully armored and stood dissipate ready at their posts around the wall. Dratin was sent up to the main north wall with his father. The smoke had begun to dissipate and scouts were sent out to he village.

After four hours and no word from the scouts, two more scouts were sent out with full armor. They rushed out and ran quickly through the trees. When they were out of sight another ogre scout was sent out to check the near by forest. After a few minutes an incredibly loud sound echoed through the area, a roar that will never be forgotten. Dratin’s father immediately gathered the fighters and sent out to the village. A sense of fear could be felt and seen in the eyes of the ogres. When the men were out of site Dratin sneaked out and followed the path of the fighters. As Dratin approached the village the sounds of clashing swords could be heard. Dratin quietly came to the edge of the forest where he saw the most horrible thing ever. A mound of dead ogre warriors could be seen through holes in the small fence of the smoldering town. The groups of warriors from his town were surrounding a huge tiger like beast. Left and right ogres would go flying back and slam against the ground. At the head of the assault was Dratin’s father. The group of ogres were fighting their hardest and striking blows to the tiger constantly. When Dratin thought it was safe he rushed into the group. Immediately Dratin was sent flying by a blow from the tigers right claw. At the same time a left claw slashed his father. Dratin rolled right into his father who was badly injured. At that moment Dratin felt a burning desire in the pit of his stomach, a desire to destroy the beast. In one movement Dratin stood up and slashed the throat of the hulking tiger. Blood sprayed out all over him and his father.

It was over, yet the pain was horrible. The blood from tiger acted like an acid on the ogre’s armor. Dratin quickly striped off his armor and rolled in the dirt. When the burning stopped he glanced over to his father who was motionless still in his armor and still on the ground. He was dead The beast was killed but at a high price half of the warriors of his town were killed along with his father. The whole village mourned the deaths and tried to get on with life. But Dratin did not go back to his normal ways. He spent many days and nights in the woods in search of what evil had killed his father. Finally Dratin decided to leave completely, so he did. He roamed the country for evidence of similar beasts.

One day he came to a destroyed village, still smoldering. The stench of a familiar beast was in the air the tiger beast. Dratin ran to the sounds of swords clashing. He came to a group of fleeing humans who were being chased by similar tiger. In one moment he stopped the fleeing people and instructed them to charge! The people were perplexed by the orders but with another booming order from Dratin the people obeyed. The people Raised up their arms and charged to the tiger. Dratin quickly barked orders to the people and unsheathed his blade. He joined in on the fight along side the humans.

After an hour of battle Dratin delivered the final blow. Many had fallen dead in the attack, but again the beast was slain. The people rejoiced greatly and that night dinned on fine grain and deer. Dratin was given a golden helm and given the name "Honorable fighter". The humans asked Dratin to stay with them and help rebuild the town, but he refused. He said, "If I am to be the leader of all races I need to go where I am needed more. I need to find where these evil tigers are coming from and lead others to victory against it. After he spent the night in the town he set out and would never return. He journeyed to the city of nexus where he now trains and searches to destroy the evil that killed his father"

 

Faith

Class: Fighter
Race: Human

I arrived late at the For-Hire matches in Reymuth and had to elbow my way rudely into into a proper vantage point. The crowd pressed at me, traders seeking bodyguards, petty lordlings looking to replace slaughtered men-at-arms, mercenaries after new recruits, and pickpockets after everyone. The dusty ring lay before me, empty.

A sigh went up as the ringkeeper raised the pennants for the next match: red and black for a novice, then a long pause while he searched in his chest for the other- purple! A grizzled soldier at my side shook his head. "A Were-beast, and at full moon! We're soon to see a very stupid greenie become a very dead greenie."

"These matches aren't to the death, are they?" I asked, uncertain. Reymuth was far from home and customs diverged wildly in these desperate times.

"Try telling that to an angry Werebear." He snorted.

The Assassin emerged from the contestants' tent and dropped its purple silken cloak in a disdainful heap. I had only seen one before and not at such close range. Its size and vitality startled me, its utter, intrinsic alienness. The light which burned in those two black eyes could not in any way be human, nor the finger-long, needle-sharp fangs, at their apex now with the phase of the moon. It shrugged beneath its elaborate harness of leather and horde-jewels, rumbling ominously. "Berserker!" hissed the veteran beside me.

She had already stepped from the tent and stood cloakless, deathly still in the arena. Once I had laid eyes on her I could not look away. It was not her tall, whipcord-muscled body clad in supple leather which held me, nor the eyes that glowed with fever blue behind the traditional mask. I had no time to search my feeling as the ringkeeper held up his hand for bids. The crowd rustled restively despite the low minimum.

"What's wrong? Why don't they offer?" I asked the solder.

"Not daft, you know," he answered. "What commoner would work with a Were-beast that can't be blood bound to him? And as for that crazy greenie-girl, even if she isn't dead or crippled afterwards, she's just proving she has no sense."

"Maybe she's very good-"

"Or very desperate." He turned his shoulder to me in disgust and made off through the throng.

The ring keeper still called for more bids, all well below my purse. I raised my hand. "win or lose?"

"Both," I said. My neighbors stared openly at me. All the "win" bids were for the Were-creature, but I wanted the option if she survived.

She turned to look at me for a fleeting moment as she took her place in the ring center. In those burning azure eyes I saw, or perhaps I only imagined I saw, such relentless will that I did not know if I wished her victory or the peace of death more.

"Weapons?" called the ringkeeper

"Tangles" I called

"No, bare hands!" roared the others. They surged like a many-headed, ever-hungry beast lusting for blood.

The Werebear stepped to its place, dwarfing her by two heads' span. I winced, wishing I had not bid and could leave now. The ringkeeper clanged his gong and it was too late.

The Werebear snarled, its huge muscles rippling beneath its pearlescent fur as it settled into a stance and raised its joint-sundering arms.

She was instantly a blur of movement, slamming aside one heavy arm as her other hand sped upward, angling sharply toward the vulnerable base of the creature's throat. In the blink of an eye, her boot had swept its feet from under it, her fingers digging deep into the vital reflex point. The Werebear went down, coughing and spitting in outrage, rolling heavily to break her hold by its sheer mass. The crowd grew suddenly, horribly quiet.

The Werebear heaved itself to its knees, but she had already spun behind it to land an explosive kick on the side of its heavy-boned skull. Another sweeping step took her directly in back of the creature, a knee between its scapulae driving it forward to its face in the dust. On a man it would have worked, but Werebears are not so easily stunned, and it caught itself with one forepaw, recovered, and leapt directly to its feet.

I saw her eyes flash grim as she circled it, looking for another opening. Enraged, it would not stop for mere pain now. She would have to disable or kill it, or she would not leave the ring alive.

The Werebear closed with alarming, dazzling speed, swinging a punch like a mallet at her head, impossible to block in its utter power. She curled in a circle toward it, seizing the Werebear by the neck as if they were dancing partners, and spiraling it away and downward along the arc of its own momentum. The great beast staggered, clawing at her and knocking her to her knees. It reached for her as she threw her weight on her hands, lashing out with one booted foot.

The Werebear howled and fell back. She scrambled to her feet and backed off, taut and alert. Whether by luck or art, she had surely stunned it, for it lay grunting and pawing its eyes in the gray dust.

The ringkeeper came out and counted the full five which declared her a winner, while the crowd muttered, cheated of its death. I went around to the pursekeeper's stand behind the tent and put down the hiring fee.

She came, bearing the traditional long knife and a small leather pack, which she set at my feet as she put her mark on the deed of release. For a moment it seemed she was about to write her name, which of course a mercenary for hire could not do, but then she made a clumsy, ordinary bird-mark, the novice sign, and turned back to me. She was still wearing her contestant's mask, The pursekeeper motioned for it; they did not give away anything.

She untied the mask, still fixing me with her searing blue gaze. Her face resembled her body, strong, functional, hinting at a bitter, uncompromising spirit. She touched me, disturbed me in ways I could not name.

"Name?" I asked, a little too brusquely.

"Faith. And I serve?" Her voice was of medium pitch, as pure as a bell.

"I'm Eddard and you're for my master, not me."

"Well," she said, picked up her pack and followed me to the inn. She was easily as tall as I and her easy, swinging stride more than matched mine.

I wanted to ask what had driven her to accept challenge of the masterless werebear, but custom forbade. The rules of For-Hire meant that she had sworn that she was free and without blood-price on her head; that was all an employer was entitled to know. But where had she learned to fight like that? Not in any backwoods garrison I knew of. I had heard drinking tales of knights but they were all of the old, old royal blood. When we stepped through the open portal of the inn, doubt assailed me for the first time, An unknown greenie, fierce though she might be, was not what my master had in mind. We needed dependable protection until we could reach the sanctuary of Nexus. Why had I even bid on such an unrealistic choice? I had been better educated than most men-at-arms and did not believe in witches, but there was something about her that caught at me, compelled me, almost gave me hope in these darkest of days.

We climbed the narrow wooden stairs back to the small private rooms. I opened the door and went in first. He lay on the rude bed, my dear lord, his eyes were still eagle bright.

"Eddard," he said, motioning me foreword. "What fortune?"

I stepped to his side and bowed. Faith moved in her long powerful stride to the bedside, her eyes darkening to mystery in the ill-lit room. Slowly she went down on one knee as was proper, but with such grace and strength that the gesture was no obeisance, but a courtesy.

"This is all you could get!" stormed my lord.

I trembled a little, but not from fear of him. His wounds in the last terrible siege has cost him dear, and he could not afford the luxury of unnecessary anger. "She bested a Werebear," I protested.

He hauled himself up on his one good shoulder and glared at her from beneath wild, bushy eyebrows. "Did she?"

She stirred, a flicker of quiet power beneath her smooth, unreadable surface. He lowered his eyes. "She'll do for now."

She touched her fingertips to her lips and forehead in the formal gesture." My lord Bardon.

"Eddard-"

"My lord, I swear I didn't tell her!"

She brushed my protests aside and stood. "My lord, as I am now your shield arm, I must tell you that Reymuth is not safe for you. You are a marked man, and the Goblin King's troops are but a day's march away."

"Child, how came you to know who I am, and such news of the horde?"

She shook her head proudly, as if her hair were loose and not tightly bound beneath a tooled leather cap. "I am no child!"

Lord Bardon's voice deepened into the kindly stern tones I had obeyed and respected all my years. "I am your master, child, and you are whatever I choose to call you. Or did you shame your bond oath when you obeyed and respected all my years. "I am your master, child, and you are whatever I choose to call you. Or did you shame your bond oath when you vowed service at the For-Hire meet?"

"My lord." Faith bit back a reply and bowed her head, trembling a little. "I have seen your-likeness before, and heard of the siege and fall of Bardon Tower. As for the rest, it is rumor, but from a source I trust."

I dropped to my knees beside him. "We dare not risk a longer stay, lord. Another day will not see you stronger, and we must not get cut off from the passage."

He drew in his breath, gathering the rags of his once-massive strength, and sent me down to pay our accounts and have our mounts made ready. We took the traders gate from the town, mostly deserted in the late of the day, A pair of cutpurses leapt out at us as we neared the northern forest, but Faith beat them off with her long knife with easy competence. My lord smiled as she came trotting back to us after chasing them into a darkening corpse. I drew an easier breath, knowing that he was pleased.

"We will not camp tonight, but backtrack along the suns' path," he said.

I began to protest, but Faith silenced me, saying, "You yourself said it, Eddard. There is only more peril in delay. Our mounts are still fresh, and once we find the entry point we can relax a little, Until then we must push on."

We went on through the deepening forest, Faith leading the way with a small torch, then my lord Bardon slumping in weakness in his saddle, and I at the rear. Leaves of a thousand dead seasons muffled the hoof beats of our mounts, and I startles more than once at the innocent sound of a wakeful night creature. Once Faith drew us to an abrupt halt , motioning for silence and shielding the light of her torch, listening intently.

It seemed like a dream, following her through the night, keeping the brilliance of her beacon ever before my eyes, following her.…Although I was worried for my lord and his deep unhealed wounds, and frightened lest an errant sound signal the dreaded Goblin King's troops, there was such comfort in Faith's strength and certainty that the distance passed quickly.

She drew us to a halt and extinguished the stub of her torch. Above the choppy trees, the stars glimmered in their slow circling dance. A milky veil tinged the east, and the jagged peeks of the crystal mountains loomed in front of us. It was nearly dawn.

"We are almost there," she said quietly. "Can you smell it?"

"I thought only those-" I began.

"Hush!" said lord Bardon. "lead on, child. These old bones are ready for a rest."

I caught the ghost of her smile in the faint half-light. She turned her mount, doubling back the way that we had come… And suddenly the emerald gossamer of an entrance to the passage surrounded us with its brilliant light. Lord Bardon slipped from his saddle with a cry of relief, for the remaining path through the Crystal Mountains was distinct, unique, and untraceable. We need fear no pursuit now, not until we arrived at Nexus.

I lept from the back of my mount and went to see him, leaving Faith to attend the beasts. She accepted the task without complaint and soon joined us with the food bags and waterskin.

"I gave our mounts a measure of meal," she said, drawing a small knife to slice a round of hard cheese for my lord. "They will have to wait to forage; what grows beneath their feet looks like grass but has no knife to slice a round of hard cheese for my lord. "They will have to wait to forage; what grows beneath their feet looks like grass but has no sustenance." I took the slivers of cheese and chunk of bread from her and fed him with small bites and sips until he drifted off into exhausted sleep. I looked down at his face, etched sharply in the flickering light of the torch. Gray , like a secret silent enemy, had invaded his hair and beard since the wanton destruction of our home.

"Damn the Goblin king and all his henchmen!" I muttered in sudden protective anger. Faith, sitting cross-legged apart from me, looked up, her eyes glittering like some strange gemstones. "It is a tragedy when so many good men must suffer," she said.

"Tragedy!" I spat, keeping my voice low so as not to disturb him. "It's evil, all of it, from the bloodthirsty demon himself to his demented lust for power. He's been seizing one kingdom after another until there's no stopping his terrorist reign."

"The bloodshed is wrong, I agree, I cannot stomach it any more than you can. I condemn it, but-but not the dream of uniting the whole land. We were once one, you know, in the golden ages, when many marvelous things happened, when men could live in peace with their neighbors without constant, bickering warfare."

"It's a man's right to defend his own,' I retorted. "Through law and justice, not indiscriminate pillage that starts an endless blood-feud, amongst the races," she answered me, the light in her eyes flashing with inner fire."

"Who are you to mouth such highborn philosophy?" I drew back a little at her intensity. She had accepted the challenge of a Werebear, after all; she might be capable of anything….

"I am-" She cut herself off abruptly, and the flame in her deep blue eyes smoldered down under tight control. "I am only one who is tired of slaughter. At the hands of each petty lordling or the Goblin warhounds, it does not matter. People die and their dreams die, too."

"Dreams!" I cried, the vision of Bardon Tower crumbling into burning rubble rising before my mind's eye. "What could you know of lost dreams?"

"Because I too have a dream, a dream of a land united in peace, a dream of people living their lives in harmony and good will."

"Then you had best slit your own throat now and hope to see it in Tilnar's realm, for you won't find such a fantasy at the hands of the Goblin King." I snapped, all the bitterness of my lord's ruin and our exile of terror welling up in me. I drew my cloak around my shoulders and turned my back to her. I did not want to hear her next whispered words, although they were meant only for herself.

"I will see it."

She was still sitting guard duty when my lord awoke, wan but refreshed. We mounted still-hungry beasts and traveled on through the flickering light. I only know that we went on for sometime until Lord Bardon signaled us to halt.

"The City of All Races" he whispered, "We are on the threshold." He looked to Faith and she nodded.

"I should go first, my lord," she said politely.

She turned her mount, leading us again in the backtracking maneuver which opened the portal of the strange pathway. Suddenly a normal yellow light flooded our senses. I raised a hand to shield my watering eyes and peer about us.

We stood at the edge of a grove of trees just outside the borders of Nexus. Across a gently rolling, grassy slope I could see the Barrier-shielded walls of the sanctuary. The road before us lay open, inviting. I urged my mount foreword.

Faith raised a cautionary hand and drew her long knife.

"This is the most dangerous part," she warned. "We must ride prepared."

We spurred our beasts into a ground-covering trot, scanning the surroundings for ambush cover. I heard my lord cry out as his mount stumbled and recovered, jarring him cruelly. My nerves tightened with fear and I glanced up at Faith, riding at our head as if she were born to it.

We came down one hill and across the flat expanse at its base, seeing the rocks and bushes which had been hidden from our sight before. The shelter of the sanctuary grew ever closer, the open gates holding welcoming arms to us.

The howl of a battle-pitched Mercenary Captain shattered our hopes as we drew almost within reach of our goal. My heart stilled within me as I saw them pound toward us from around the walls; at their head a trollish captain bearing the sash of the royal house-hold guards. We pulled our mounts to a halt.

Faith whipped around to face us. "I'll go first first and draw them, " she shouted in the oncoming din. "Eddard, take Lord Bardon around to right to the eastern gate. Do not stop for me!"

"Are you crazy?" I shouted back. My mount began to plunge about under me with excitement. They were almost upon us. I could see the gleam of the sword the man bore, the black light in his eyes as he bore down the last slope.

"Do it!" She commanded, and the regal authority in her voice shocked both of us into obedience, swinging our mounts into a hard gallop as she had directed.

At first I could hear only the pounding of my animal's hooves above the pounding of my heart, my eyes fixed on my dear lord who clung grimly to his saddle. Suddenly, I heard her voice rising like a paean above the tumult, shouting, singing, chanting the wild words a battle prayer to lord of Dawn in the ancient tongue. My head throbbed with the sound of them, my heart catching in my throat at their beauty and power.

We were almost at the gates. I slashed at the rump of my lord's mount with my riding whip, sending it frenzied across the threshold to safety, and reigned my own beast to a halt. Looking back, I saw her sitting tall as a goddess on her prancing steed, one arm flung wide as the giant man snarled before her. The soldiers milled in confusion, keeping their distance. I drew in my breath to call to her, but the echoes of her command held my tongue.

Slowly, incredibly, the Troll bent to his knees before her, dipping his massive, terrible head.

She urged her mount to the kneeling Troll, speaking him in a voice too low for me to hear. I saw a flicker of gentleness light her face for a moment as she laid one hand on his shaggy skull.

I trembled on my snorting, nervous mount as Faith came toward me, the mercenarys quiet and obedient at her heels. The captain of the soldiers herded his men into a semblance of order, waiting, watching.

A movement at the gates demanded my attention; my lord Bardon stood there on foot, supported by two of the kind, simple folk of Nexus who offered anonymity and sanctuary to all who fled there. His eyes glittered, fierce as a hawk's as she brought her mount to a halt before us. She slipped from her saddle.

'My lord, I must stay,' she said in a low voice, "It must begin here, the hope of all the realms lies here, and from here it must spread. I have completed my charge to escort you here. I beg you to release me from your service."

"Child," he said softly, and reached out to sweep her leather cap from her bowed head. The knots had loosened in our last flight and it came away easily, revealing hair which was dull, dyed black everywhere except the roots, where the pure, iridescent silver of the imperial blood shone like moonlight.

She smiled fleetingly, her gaze meeting his, "I had feared you would recognize me from your time in my father's court."

"You were younger then. My lady Faithula, and your brother-"

"My brother serves the Goblin King now!" she cried with sudden anger. "And in their quest for power, they are tearing this land apart, slaughtering leaders and innocent folk alike. I left his bloody court when I would no longer be party to it, I-" She paused, hands resting on the hilt of her long knife, tears luminous in her eyes, "I thought I could carve out a world for myself, for my own dreams, beginning as a mercenary…. …Now I see that my selfishness will achieve nothing, I realize that my duty is to serve all those that live in these realms, because I choose to make it so. You and your dear lord have shown me another way to rule, by inspiring love instead of terror; love that is not learnt by a single example but by constant reminder. "

"What will you do, lady?"

"I will make a stand here, and I shall return to our land But not to support his bloody throne; only to rule in his stead," The azure fire in her eyes leapt high, challenging the light from her silvery hair. "That's suicide!" I sputtered, my tongue finally having regained its wits. "you'll never be able to wrest power from him."

"I will not contest them by force of arms, but by force of right," she said quietly. "The gods will show us a way if we have faith. Now take your lord to a place where you both can rest"

I smiled and I turned to help my lord to the rest of Nexus, In my memory her blue eyes and silver hair shone, piercing me to the core, tugging at my soul to be gone and at her side.

 

Frolus

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

In the depths of the Crystal Mountains lived a small nomadic tribe of barbarians. This tribe of barbarians was composed of nothing but ogres and all of the ogres trained much like the guild of barbarians in Neuxs. By the ogre tribal leader Frouk and his wife Lusia, Frolus was brought into Altin.

Growing up, Frolus did not have many friends because he was not interested in the skills of the barbarians and could not use his madness as strength. In the tribe Frolus, like every other ogre child, was forced to train as a barbarian. At the age of three Frolus, his family, and the whole tribe was attacked by goblins. His father, mother, and most of the tribe were killed, with just a few including Frolus imprisoned.

In the goblin imprisonment camp Frolus spent five years of his life. At age eight Frolus was at an age for an ogre in the camp to be able to fight in the battle ring. In the camp the goblins would have two prisoners fight to the death. These battles were made to control the overcrowding in the camp.

Frolus being very young choose a steel sword as a weapon when he was first made to battle. His first opponent was a half-giant with a name he did not know of. Frolus did not want to battle anyone but was forced to or he and his opponent would both be slain if they did not. Frolus won the first battle. During his three other battles that he won, passed three years, which was one year each battle.

Frolus, before going back to his cell got a thief there to steal weapons from the battle ring and supplied the many prisoners. When it was time for the prisoners to get locked in their cells for the night, Frolus and the other prisoners attacked the camp and escaped.

Frolus did not know that he had one hour to run from the camp, for the goblins had send a scout to run to another camp to get other goblins to track and kill him and the other escaped prisoners. While walking away Frolus was met by the trackers and he ran as fast as he could south of the Crystal Mountains.

Frolus, after running for two hours came exhausted and fell at the west gates of Nexus. He was then met by a cleric of nexus and was healed. Frolus searched around Nexus for some time and decided that Nexus was the place for him. He was then sent to Falcion for his training in hopes to one day be able to train in Nexus.

Since Frolus was trained in the goblin camps in pure fighting skills he decided to join the fighters guild that was offered to him in Falcion. He was skilled at the basic skills of fighting already so he quickly trained in the guild and was out of Falcion in just one week.

Frolus now trains in Nexus hoping one day he and the rest of Nexus will be able to rid Altin of the goblin imprisonment camps and avenge his mother's and father's deaths.

 

Garender

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

Garender started life in a small village on a secluded island. He was born to the leader of the village and grew under his tutelage into a fine young lad. His father was the greatest Warlord the villagers had ever known, and much was expected of young Garender. He was like any kid though and would skip out on his training sessions sometimes to sneak off down to the beach to be with the young ladies. One day during one of these excursions he and his lady friend came across something they had never seen before...it was the corpse of an elf. Though, they had never seen such a thing, as the only other inhabitants of the island were a savage group of trolls who lived on the other side of it. He immediately got his father and the town council had a meeting. The decision of the council was to investigate where the elf had come from, and Garender was volunteered by his father to lead the expedition off the island. A ship was built in no time. Before leaving, Garender's father gave him his blade, he told him, "I wish for you to wield this as well as I by the time you return." and with that he gave him a Warlord's Katana, which his father had found on a ship that had washed up on the shore.

And so Garender departed, heading for who knows where. After many days of travel a storm caught the ship. Seeking shelter from the storm, they made an emergency landing on a nearby island. As they trudged through the jungle looking for food, they came across a mob of beasts the likes which they had never seen. He was later to find out these beasts went by the name of Bugbears. They attacked him and his comrades. The ogres scattered and were picked off one by one. A few ogres made it back to the ship and they lifted anchor and left with another group of ogres, including Garender, stranded on the beach. Garender was much faster than most his comrades and outran the Bugbears as they swarmed onto the beach in hot pursuit of the ogres. Luckily for Garender, he found a Row Boat hidden in the reeds and used it to escape...but his friends were not as lucky.

He had no oars, so he drifted on the sea for quite some time. He nearly starved to death. He was so famished that he passed out and when he awoke he was surrounded by strange people in white robes, which he later found to be the clerics of the Healing Hand. They had found him on the shore of Falcion and revived him. And so he began training in the city of Falcion as a member of the fighter's guild. After much hard work, the trainer on Falcion told him, "You have learned all you can from me, it is time for you to go elsewhere." and so Garender took the Transport sloop over to Nexus for the first time...

When he reached Nexus he was overwhelmed by the diversity of people and the size of the city itself. It took a while, but eventually he made some friends and was proceding with his training very nicely...until two tragedies befell the two best friends he had made at the time. One committed suicide and the other followed Kyorl. He was devastated by the losses and decided he wanted to leave Nexus.

He hired a crew in Rymek and sailed for home...but when he got there he was not happy with what he found. A Goblin Pirate ship had followed the retreating ship of his comrades from after the Bugbear encounter. The Goblins had ravaged the island. They had killed or enslaved half of his people. He found that some ogres had even betrayed us, one of which was Garender's sister. His father was leading a small rebel force against them and he was quick to join his father in battle against the menace.

The battle was long and hard. Many were killed on both sides. At one point in the fight Garender's father was fighting off half a dozen Blademasters. One struck a blow through his father's leg and leveled him to the ground. In a desperation attempt, Garender parried the blow of the Goblin Striker he had been fighting and struck a lethal blow to the neck of the Goblin Blademaster that had felled his father. As his father lie there, Garender's sister appeared. She tried to slay there father, but Garender did not allow it. He didn't have time to parry the blow off is father, so instead he took the blow, and it tore through his ribs. At the same time he landed a blow through his sister's collar all the way down to her sternum. As they both lay there on the ground awaiting death, she looked over at him and said, "Oh Garender, what have I done...I'm so sorry..." and he forgave her just as her eyes rolled back into her head and she was gone.

The ogres barely won that battle, and the Goblins fled the island with many ogreish and trollish slaves still in there possession. The village was decimated, there was almost nothing left. Garender's father got an infection from the wound and died soon after. But before he did, he did two things, he told Garender to leave the island and start a new life somewhere else and that he was proud of how he handled his sword in battle. Garender buried his loved ones, his father, sister, and the sweetheart he had left behind but couldn't save.

With that he returned to Nexus, the wound in his torso nearly killing him as he managed to drag himself back to Town Square where several clerics worked to heal his wound. After a long state of depression, Garender came to and started training once again. He continues to this day to defend his adopted home of Nexus.

 

Groth

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

In our lives there are many paths we take, some we choose others it seems we are forced towards. I remember when I was a child the path that started me on my journey that brought me to the island of Falcion.

As a child of no more than 8 years I used to wander the land with what I guess you could call my clan though we went by no name, we lived in caves or whatever shelter was around. We took what we needed and what we wanted from villages and travelers we came upon, in the process usually slaughtering the people.

One day I was out wandering around with two others in search of any signs of adventurers to slaughter and loot, when in the distance we saw 3 scrawny little creatures. Grins came across our faces as we broke into a run each looking to be the first to kill one. They had also seen us though, and two of them sprinted away while the other took up behind a nearby boulder to hamper us with his crossbow. To my left one of my clansmen took a bolt in his leg and stumbled slightly but kept moving on. I chuckled to myself and brought my makeshift club back and then let it fly through the air towards the creature. The club smashed into the boulder nowhere near the little thing and as I cursed my aim, the others had all but closed in on the little archer. I started to walk over knowing by the time I got there the creature would be dead.

After looting the body we dragged it back to our cave to show the others. A few stared blankly at it, some I could tell recognized what it was and then I heard Etrius the oldest among us and our leader if you will, growl out the word "Goblin." I could not help but laugh as I said, "This is goblin? This what be killing all in its way?"

Speech as for most of us was not my specialty. Etrius growled again and I shut my mouth. "This is just scout, worthless. There be more around, lots." Then he asked us "This was only one you are seeing?" We told him of the two that had fled and I thought I caught a glimpse of fear in his dark eyes. He told us all to gather our things and that we were to be off away from this place and we all did as he said.

We had made our way from the cave each carrying all we could and as night fell we set up a camp area to rest and were to be off at first light. I had drawn one of the last watches and so I gladly went to sleep. I was later awoken by shouts of warning and cries to arms. As I jumped up and scrambled for a blade I heard 3 thunks, I looked over to see Gwylum, a fierce warrior standing looking down at 3 arrows deeply embedded in his chest. Another rain of arrows came down, some finding marks but most falling harmlessly into the ground and then in the distance form the dark stepped an innumerable amount of these creatures that were goblins. We were pitifully outnumbered and I recall looking around and thinking to myself that this is a good a night as any to die. They stood in ranks the first bunch seemed very anxious, this was obviously there young soldiers, behind them stood the more impressive warriors and behind them still concealed in the night was another dark presence that could not be seen. One of the younger goblins started to laugh and to my side I saw Etrius pull out an axe and let it fly through the night air. The laughing goblin's head snapped back violently and then he fell first to his knees and then to the ground to lie dead, face down in his own blood with his skull split open. There were shouts from all about as the young soldiers charged in, and so it began.

These poor soldiers were not skilled at all. The first to me swung high, I easily dodged and slammed the hilt of my blade into his face. I heard the crunch of bone as he staggered backwards, as he was blinded by pain I brought my blade about and embedded it deep into the side of his neck. I pulled by blade back as his head sickly hung to one side and turned to the next soldier that was coming at me. He came in with an overhead chop and I brought my sword up to block it. As our blades met I looked into his cold eyes and smiled as I picked my foot up and brought it down delivering a crushing kick to the side of his knee easily breaking his leg. As he fell to the ground I circled behind him and drove my blade through his back as I felt the bite of steel on my side. The battle with the soldiers raged on for many minutes and then with most of their fodder lying dead on the ground the larger warriors started to step forward. I took the time to glance around and saw Gwylum with 3 broken shafts still in his chest breaking the neck of the last soldier in his hands. I laughed to myself "too stubborn to die that one." We had not gone without our losses and among the dead soldiers lay a good couple of my clansmen.

The warriors advanced slowly, and we could tell no foolish mistakes were to be made by these ones. Then for some reason the stopped their advance and for a second I thought the gods had smiled upon my clansmen and myself. That though did not last long though as from the night emerged the dark presence that I had felt. This goblin wore no regular armor but instead a robe and held a staff in his hand. I heard someone behind me say the words "Magic Man" and it was at that moment I knew all was lost. Gwylum who had been too stubborn to die before had no choice but to succumb as blades of ice burst out from within his body, to the left of him another fell to the ground in spasms as bolts of lightning racked his body. Chaos ensued and a few of the warriors began their advance again.

I gripped by sword tightly as I watched them advance and then ready to meet my death in battle I charged forward as my clansmen did the same. I swung down with all my might at the first warrior I came upon, he brought his sword up to block my strike but his blade shattered under the strength of my blow and my blade continued down deep into his body. As I tried to free my weapon, I caught a glimpse of a warrior advancing on me. I turned in time to see her attempt to relieve my body of the burden of head. I flung my head to the left as the blade whizzed by taking off the top half of my right ear. Already off balance I expected the ending blow to come but it never did and as I looked back I saw the warrior impaled on Etrius' massive sword, the goblins legs dangling a good foot off the ground. Many of my clansmen had already fallen and soon enough we would all be dead. Far off to the right horrible screams could be heard as an ogre's body was consumed by flames, Etrius then looked to me and said "We must flee and get revenge another day." He shoved an old sack into my arms that bared the symbol of unbalanced scales and said, "You fought good, but go now. I will save as many as can" I started to protest but before I could speak a word he held up some strange device and then the whole battle field was gone, I was standing in some strange forest.

I had no idea as to what happened and started to yell out for any of my clansmen looking around desperately. I yelled out for Etrius to bring me back that I would die with them on the battlefield, no answers came to me but I continued to yell. Soon the blood loss began to take its toll and no longer able to stand I collapsed to the ground. It was then a human male ran right by me then turned around and came back to stand next to me. I growled a lunged for him and soon found myself unable to move any of my muscles, more magic? I growled and cursed at the lone man who just stood there and looked at me. While I was unable to move he started to mutter words under his breath and as I near glared a hole through his head I could feel my wounds starting to repair themselves. "I am no cleric but I what little I can do to help you I will." he said, "My name is Khalil. I have not seen you about before. Are new around here young one?" Still unable to move I spat out a few more colorful words at this man who was trying to help me. He then sat down and said "I have all day young one, and can keep you from moving as long as I like." Hours later having listened to him talk and talk and talk about nothing at all I asked, "Where am I? How come you not kill me yet?" He then told me much about where I was and that I could stay with him and the few others he had taken in. Completely lost and confused I followed him, and we went to the island I found out to be Falcion.

I passed most of my time on the island alone and up until recently spent much of my time in nexus alone, learning from this adopted family I had come across and studying the way of weapons. Many mistakes were made and I am sure I will make many more in the future. My past is my past and there is much I have not said and will not say, I committed many unspeakable acts before my arrival and acceptance into Falcion and have worked hard to become what I am today. Since my arrival I have learned much including the ability to read, write and speak, though a hint of my old broken speech is still present at times. I have learned for the most part the difference between foolishness and bravery along with the difference between wisdom and cowardice. Upon my formal acceptance into the Fighter's Guild I have tried to become more active with people of nexus and of Falcion for the betterment of my guild, though I still do not care to be around many people. I will continue to do my best to uphold my Guild's honor, and will fight until the day I die or until I need to no more.

 

Jennikki

Class: Fighter
Race: Half-Elf

Jennikki was raised by her mother in the town of Talmet. Her mother had two elven children as well, but their father had been killed by goblins just before they were born. Her mother, being lonely and poor, met a human ranger who used to come to Talmet for supplies and they fell in love and had a child, Jennikki. She loved her father very much, because he was the only one who really loved her, because she was a half breed in a society of elves. Even her half brothers despised her and the only times she could feel safe and comfortable was alone with her father.

When she was 15 years old she witnessed her father being killed by a wolf and she mourned him for years. With her father dead her brothers began to bully her even more and she became aggressive, and often had to defend herself physically. After a fight with them she had to leave the village for good. She left for Nexus where she accepted any work she could find to earn a living on her own, she served drinks in taverns, worked in the stables and in shoppes and stores. At the age of 21 she decided that she was getting nowhere in life and that there must be a purpose for her, and enlisted in the fighter's guild and went to Falcion for her training. The aggression that her brothers created in her would now be turned into an asset, and she soon learned control and self discipline.

With no friends or family to spend her time with she spent her time fighting and training and soon learned how to use a sword and shield. After a couple of months on the island she met her first love, a fighter by the name of Caliban. He was lonely and had gone through so much hard times, and for the first time since her father died, Jennikki felt needed and loved. But Caliban disappeared and she never saw him again, but he had inspired her with hope because now she knew that she may some day be loved again and that all was not lost when she lost her father.

The day came when she completed her training and she was a Myrmidon of the fighters guild. She got ready to leave for Nexus again, but was told that during her time on the island, the fishing village of Rymek had been besieged and there was no way to reach Nexus at the time. She contacted an Arch Wizard who told her that the best, and only way to reach Nexus at the moment was to use a magical spell called teleport. Slightly worried, but determined to reach Nexus, she tried it. Disoriented and dizzy, she found herself facing a band of goblin warriors and two huge shadowy figures that looked like giants but larger and blurry. Exhausted and wounded, she managed to flee into the woods, to heal her wounds and rest. With directions from a ranger from Nexus she reached the town and was at last safe. It did not take long before a group of heroes set out to rid the roads of alchemist forces and requested her help, and soon the fighting began and it continued every day for as long as she stayed in Nexus. Goblins, werebeasts, wolves and such were common opponents, and as she grew stronger, bugbears, cavebears and necromancers made excellent challenges. Obviously talented, it did not take her long to advance to a prominent rank in the guild and her name is now inscribed into the Roll of Honor in the fighters guild and she has been dubbed a guild elder by her acting guildmaster, Wolf-biter the Champion.

 

Kleto

Class: Fighter
Race: Human

The earth shook underneath his feet. The soldiers feet marched all about him. He knew he shouldn't be in this open area but he smelled food. That was for sure. Quickly he turned around only to find a massive object careening down upon his small body.

Lerti heard a distinct crunching underneath his foot. Looking down he found the remains of a rather large ant. Grimacing over how he would get this off his boots he walked over to his troops. "Listen up! We have scouts reporting the movements of the Clansogres. I will not lie to you recruits, this fort will be hard pressed to stand against them. That’s why I need you all to fight with all we have taught you thus far! Sure, you have not finished your training but I have seen some of you perform incredible feats! Now I demand that you not falter under this siege. This is what makes us Champions!"

To that there was only silence. A few of the soldiers passed out, from all of the tension and fear. Standing in the back of the formation was a young human by the name of Kleto. He stood grinning at his elderly drillmaster. For all the times he hated the man, this was his time to prove that he was better than his fellows. With feet spaced apart he looked quite the warrior. With his battle sword in hand he felt certain he could take on all the Clansogre himself. A siren sounded within the fort. With a smirk he rushed off to his battle position, at the gate.

Sweat beaded his forehead. "I thought they were supposed to be here hours ago!"’Kleto grumbled underneath his breath. Reaching down he grabbed a rag and wiped his forehead. It was the heat of the afternoon. A low rumbling came from the north. Quickly he tensed his muscles. There was no clerical outpost here. If he died, that was it. Removing his blade from its sheathe he quickly had it in front of him. Holding his breath he readied for the impact of the Ogres.

Before him the gates were ripped open, charging through were dozens of Ogres all carrying clubs the size of humans. Quickly Kleto rushed towards his prey. Finding an Ogre that had turned his back he quickly spun and plunged his blade deep into the massive back of the berserker. Falling to his knees instantly Kleto hacked at the Ogres knee, disabling his victim.

Jumping up from his kill, he had no time to savour the moment. Immediately attacking an Ogre with a good friend of his, Kyoto. The half giant quickly sliced through the Ogre's arm cutting him down. Glancing at Kleto, he grinned and they both charged the Ogre Chieftan.

Looking around the fort Detin surmised that he would easily win this battle. The ramshackle building had cluttered the Crystal mountains far too long. Quickly dispatching all the pitiful fledgling soldiers in his way he made way toward the Drillmaster of this pitiful post.

Coming upon the chieftan Kyoto and Kleto were astonished to find the Ogre clutching the bloody head of the ancient drillmaster Lerti savagely ripped from his still warm body. Scanning the ogre for any weak spots the two soldiers quickly went about their futile task. Kyoto took the front of the assault, it made sense since he was so much bigger than his friend. Parrying the Ogre for all he was worth Kyoto held him at bay, while Kleto made his way to the Ogre's backside. He knew he would only get one strike at his enemy, before the monster was upon him. Hefting his bastard sword over his right shoulder Kleto charged forward letting out a thunderous warcry! Heaving his sword up he managed to clip the Chieftan's lower back. With a gasp of pain, Detin threw his arms in the air quickly seizing his assailant by the throat. Swinging his club in a direct path for the human's body, Detin lurched as he felt the cold bite of steel.. within his gut. Looking down he found the half giant on one knee with a battle blade poised in his powerful arms. Dropping the human instantly Detin pawed at his killer with his hands, as if flailing for a fly. Blood spewed out of the Ogre's mouth as he called out his last orders.

"By Kyorl's fury, kill these basta...rd..s.." Detin cried, as he fell to the ground atop Kyoto.

Kleto quickly glanced at Kyoto who was chuckling, yelling for him to get this monstrosity off of him. Kleto ran over to his friend and started to heave at his torso, to no avail. Quickly grabbing the Ogre's twitching foot, Kleto pulled with all his might, but it would not budge. Glancing up at Kyoto he saw the half-giant grin to himself.. That was the last time he saw Kyoto's friendly face. Blood spattered onto his face along with bone fragments cutting into his face. Wiping the mess from his eyes he could not believe what he saw. His friend was no more. He felt himself choke on tears instantly. A surge of pain split his skull, as he felt a warm liquid cover his scalp.

A putrid smell waft over the place where he lay. Opening his eyes he saw a whole company of Ogres sitting around him. There was no where to go. He could do nothing. A grunt could be heard among them. "Whats we do with’em?"

"He killeds our battlemaster, he deserve terrible death."

An intelligent voice was heard over the group. "Fools, I will show you a most terrible way to do away with the fellow and alas, he will not die for weeks, but writhe in pain while the birds pluck at his innards."

This seemed to be just what the Ogres wanted. Not wanting anything of the sort, Kleto quickly stumbled from his place of rest. Slowly fumbling through the camp he tried to be quiet but nothing could have stopped the noise.

"Confusion of mind, and blast of body." was all Kleto heard. Struggling to turn his eyes towards the group. He found that he could only make out a figure. The Ogres were upon him in an instant restraining him while the figure stepped into the light. What seemed like elven features were present.

"Well, hello fool. You were quite foolish to have lived through that battle. You have murdered their Battlemaster. Quite a foolish thing indeed seeing how you were so easily caught. Anyhow, and don't take this personal, you will die a cruel death. I do believe it will be quite hilarious indeed."

With a cruel chuckle he turned his back upon the human.

"Urhm, Astaroths whats we dos?"

"Leave that to me, just knock him out."

Into the darkness Kleto came yet again. Who was this Astaroth? Why was he helping the Ogres?! What in the name of Altin!

"Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!"

Kleto gasped his breaths coming in ragged succession. The pain was excruciating. Straining to look up he saw that a stick was sticking through his stomach. Tears wet his face in the heat of the day. He turned his head looking down, Kleto could see that he had been pierced by a small tree, sharpened to a point. There was no more bleeding, his wounds had been healed with the tree jutting through his abdomen. Kleto clutched for his weapon, anything to end the pain, but even that was taken from him. He could not even end his life. He flailed his arms in a helpless manner causing him pain from which there was no respite… He passed out yet again.

Overlooking a ridge in the Crystal Mountains was a Drow. Peering over the edge he saw an oddity in the midst of some bushes. Squinting to see he could make out the faint outline of a person. Quickly he made his way down the ridge. From afar anyone could have mistaken this for a dead tree. But upon closer inspection Deriseus found that a human had been placed upon this small tree in an absolutely cruel form of torture. The man had passed out as anyone would have under that pain. Coming to the tree he saw that no vital organs had been punctured. Touching the human's neck he found the man to still be alive. Smiling at such news he spoke a few words and the limbs of the man lift level with his torso. Taking out a small blade he cut away at the small tree, breaking it free from the root he lifted the man from his supposed deathbed and quickly pulled the rest of the tree from his stomach. Lifting the human's arms Deriseus grunted, "Now let's take you somewhere safe, and you'll tell me of what happened to you child.”

With that Deriseus chanted, "Go where the winds carry thee."

 

Krono

Class: Fighter
Race: Human

Krono spent his earlier years in a small town, Aldonica. His household consisted of his father, Relam, his mother, Talissa, and his sister Myra. Krono was your typical small child, running rampant around the town and getting into trouble here and there. When Krono reached the age of 11, his father felt it time that Krono learn the art of swordplay. Relam trained young Krono vigorously for years and gave him little time to do much, other than train. During his free time, he would play with the other town children, causing mischief and whatnot. As he aged, he reached that point in a young man's life, and he became fond of his sister's friend Aylaa, and began to spend his free moments with her. He even mustered enough courage to skip some of his father's lessons to run off with Aylaa. Now, almost a full fledged man, Relam felt that there was little more Krono could learn from him, and had the town blacksmith forge Krono a sword of his own. His life seemed perfect, for he was now a skilled swordsman, and his feelings for Aylaa had blossomed into what he thought was love.

Weeks went by and Krono had been taken in as an apprentice for the town smithy. One day, after working for only a couple of hours, the smithy gave Krono the rest of the day off. Krono rushed home to eat, and then planned to go spend some time with Aylaa. When he arrived home, he found his father speaking with the Queen of Cigam herself. Krono, interested in the conversation, eavesdropped for the remainder of it. When the queen left, Krono's father summoned him. "Son, the queen had come to personally request that I be one of the Elite Guard. I have accepted and we shall be relocating to the kingdom in the early morn." Mixed feelings overwhelmed Krono, for new life would be exciting, especially living in the kingdom, but he would be leaving Aylaa behind.

The next morn, an hour or so before it was time for Krono to leave, he decided to spend his remaining time with Aylaa. The two went deep into the woods to spend their last moments of intimacy in peace. When they reached a nearby clearing, sounds of dreadful screams and wails of suffering filled their ears. They quickly turned back and headed to town, and when they arrived, they saw strange, hideous creatures they had never seen before. The hoarde of creatures were slaughtering the inhabitants of Aldonica and pillaging the town. Krono quickly drew his katana and began slaying the humanoid creatures. He guarded Aylaa till they arrived at her house and he told her to get her club and join him. He then saw his father slaying the creatures near a mysterious yellow opening in the air. He was quick to aid his father at his side, and the two battled the creatures as they stormed out of the yellow opening. "Go see if your mother and Myra are alright, many of the creatures slipped by me when I was baffled at what was going on. I'll hold them off here" his father said ecstatically. Krono, heeding his father's command, rushed to his house, slaying a creature here and there as he passed them. Wasting no time, he kicked down the door only to find his sister mutilated on the ground and one of the strange creatures holding a blade to his mother's throat. Krono screamed with rage and charged the hideous being, but it swiftly got behind Talissa, keeping the blade to her neck. The creature opened his mouth and began to speak, "Another move, and this woman receives the same fate as that girl." Krono looked astonished "You can talk?" The creature snickered and swiftly dashed out of the house, still holding his mother captive. Krono quickly chased after them, only to see the creature jump through the yellow opening with his mother. As Krono ran toward the opening, it disappeared without a trace. He looked around only to find bodies of villagers and the strange creatures covering the ground. He saw Aylaa kneeling beside one of the corpses and as he neared it, he realized it was his father. Devastated at the death of his father and sister, and the abduction of his mother, Krono knelt beside his slain father, and wept for many hours, Aylaa at his side, offering whatever comfort she could.

As Krono finally began to calm, he and Aylaa heard a strange noise. As he stood to search around, the yellow opening appeared again, and a dozen of the creatures emerged from the gash in the air. Seeing the creatures he drew his katana and went into a ballistic rage, giving the damn creatures only seconds to live. After he slew the last of them, he turned to Aylaa, then to the opening, and back to Aylaa. She took his hand into her own, and nodded her head slowly, and they both walked into the yellow opening, and disappeared. The two were quickly spit out of the opening and as they looked around, they realized they were in a foreign area. They analyzed their surroundings, only to see trees and forest floor. The two walked for a short time before coming to a city, the city of Falcion. As they entered the city, the two encountered many things they had not seen before, such as elves, ogres, trolls, renis and half-giants. Among these they also found other humans, which was relieving to them. As they spoke with the inhabitants, they were informed that the creatures that had destroyed Aldonica were known as goblins. Krono, eager to find his mother, if still alive, and to avenge the deaths of his father and sister, joined the fighters guild and began new training in Falcion. Krono's new life has yet to unfold.

 

Lanaya

Class: Fighter
Race: Elf

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I grew up in a small village, about twenty adults and five children including me, I was the only girl in the village. My father was a woodworker, he made many beautiful and wonderful things, one of the things he made was a toy sword, he gave that to me just as a joke of a gift, but it turned to be a lot more.

I loved that sword, it was special to me, even though it was made of wood, to me it was a real sword. Hours upon hours I would practice and play with that sword. I loved it, the weight, the way of swinging. Soon though it became time that my parents wanted to look to find me a husband, I was still very young, but they wanted to marry me off early so that I would be happy or some such. But I was happy with my blade, the boys of the village would have nothing to do with me because well, they were afraid of someone that could beat them with a sword I suppose, never thought much about it.

But soon I began to feel like I was a disappointment to my parents, which made me feel bad. We got word of a war being fought in a far off city, and that they were in need of any who were willing to help, I told my parents this is where I would go, and well as you see I am here now ... this is my home, and I will always fight to protect it.

Much has happened since I first came around, and I have acquired many wonderful friends and even family members. Most of my past, like many of my years here, I have lost to my memory, unable to remember much at all. I am sorry if my past story was not much for you to enscribe, but I hope it will help.

 

Licede

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

Fifteen years ago on Ruvur, the twenty-second of the month of the Twilight, in the year 1,637 since the Godswar, and year 1,220 of the Empire a young warrior from a great line of warrior blood was born. Young Licede Maximus Corwin was born, his name meaning brave one. He lived 3 happy years with his family. Even at this young age he mimicked his fathers hopes and dreams. His father, a noble warrior, taught him ancient values.

One night in his village, Ofike, to the south of our great stronghold, his father awoke with a piercing cry, for his heart had been pierced by the knife of his beloved wife, Licede’s mother, Gena. She had been spying for the goblins for 1 year now, and was maddened with the power of dark sorcery. But she could not end the blood line with Licede’s death, for when she stood over his innocence, knife in hand, she felt a moment of weakness.

In that split second the child was whisked away by Rolend, the trusted advisor to the family and powerful weavemaster. Wizard walk was his tool, and he sacrificed himself in this great drain of power for the sake of Licede, leaving him with only a magic medallion, passed down through centuries. The amulet was crested with a dragon. The edges glow in his times of need, protecting his soul. They flair with a mighty aura and the burning prophecy that the Corwin blood line would one day take part in leading the alliance against massive hoards.

Lost without Rolend to guide him, Wizard Walk could not be understood or controlled. He fell to a different world. He met a nameless warrior who he somehow knew. This warrior nourished his skills and taught him to fight with all weapons. His world was training, but he could see into our realm. He longed for a different kind of companionship. His blade sung and arrows flew with wildfire, but he lacked a certain magic.

One day he saw through his one-way curtain between worlds, a beautiful women named Kura. He plead with his master to go and see the world, woo this ogre, who was sheer beauty in his eyes. His master reluctantly let him go.

His master sent him back through a portal to the crystal mountains, but his power had grown and his presence was sensed by the dark powers. The alchemists disguised themselves as beggars and villagers. They brought him to a long sleep with powerful draughts. They infused his blood with the rich blood of black dragons. They hoped they could possess his soul and bind his life-force to the dark side of the weave. His amulet glowed like fire and purified the blood in his body. The searing heat of the amulet burnt a dragon emblem into his chest linking him to the prophecy. When he awoke his essence had not been turned; His body and heart had been strengthened by the blood under guide of the amulet.

He then over through the alchemist that was contorting his being. He ran for days and lived off the land and the wild creatures that inhabited it. He finally came to his destination, a small town called Hida. Exhausted by the travel he was brought in by Martin, a young warrior of similar age to Licede. Martin brought Licede to Falcion where he quickly advanced in rank with his power and training. Licede won his love. His blade protected them, yet his hatred for the goblins and the evil heart that possessed his mother drove him further to seek revenge.

 

Lisaninizi

Class: Fighter
Race: Reni

Resting her hands softly on her belly, she dreams. Though she faces the clear night through her window, her eyes are enormous, dark, and softly unfocused. Her pupils drown most of her iris, but for a thin rim of gold. Though the night breeze is chill, she makes no move to either close the window or move away. A secretive smile dawns on her face as she cups a hand gently against her abdomen.

She remembers Dr. Fillis, so brilliant she thought the force of his eyes must burn her. She remembers his soft voice, his soft hands, the compelling power of his gaze. She was sixth sub-assistant to his junior associate and the idea that she could help him with his work thrilled her. Dr. Keyrine Fillis had made Yerris-fulln famous with his research on sub-theoretical chant manipulation in areas of low ether concentration. To help him concentrate, to help him focus - this was a great work.

Sometimes, watching him furrow his brow at a particularly difficult schematic, or stretching his shoulders after a long day, she wished for more. Even as she went to him, to offer him comfort, release, she treasured different hopes in her heart. When she felt life begin to grow within her, she thought the Gods had given her a chance.

Her hand reaches into the air over her shoulder, stroking hair that is no longer there. She sees it still, luxuriant sweeps of darkly glimmering sapphire. Her hair had swept smoothly to the small of her back, clinging to her sleek aqua fur. She had been considered beautiful. She drops her hand back to her lap.

She remembers the way men had looked at her. How they had vied for her attention. And she remembers the way sad Dr. Kurrint had stared at her for so long before speaking... before... before... She had thought that he meant ask her out. She had thought he was evaluating the morality of her position as his patient. But that was before...

For a moment, she almost remembers something very sad. She almost remembers his hesitant words as he explained how she had lost the baby. How, sometimes, under stressful conditions, a child could be re-absorbed by its mother. How she was devouring her own child. She almost remembers something beyond bearing.

She turns her back. She closes her eyes. Her body has not moved, but it is just that, a body. Sometimes she goes somewhere else, and no-one can find her. There is a mirror on the wall above her bed, containing a gaunt reni with dull, matted fur and jagged-shorn hair. A fly lands on her cheek, resting near her eye like a tear, but she does not twitch.

There is a little light in those eyes, still. One day they may open again, and see what must be done.

 

Magmus

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

The many stories of Magmus are occasionally conflicting, but always horrific. I, Ts'okn the scribe, have chronicled Magmus' past from the many stories told of him and have found the following to be, if nothing else, the best attempt made thus far to chronicle this Ogre's checkered past:

It is said that his origins lay in the northern Crystal Mountains. Though little is known about actual his birth place, it is known that along with the many other unlucky races whom have toiled at the hands of the goblin horde, Magmus too grew up knowing only a life of slavery.

Because of his apparent size and strength, even at a young age, Magmus was assigned to tasks normally saved for beasts of burden - which he soon became. From dawn to dusk, his hands and feet were shackled together. By night, he was chained to a large stone wall, spending many a cold night bare to harsh elements.

Magmus came to know years of being forced to plow fields and turn millstones, his strength harnessed to feed the hungry masses of the goblin horde. After many years of whippings, wound saltings and inadequate shelter, Magmus had finally reached a time when he could escape. Metals had come to be in short supply and was needed by the Goblins for weapons and armor among the many implements of war. The chains used to subdue Magmus were melted down for stock, and his restraints were replaced by hemp rope.

When this change was made, Magmus effortlessly cast off the ropes with a flex of his thick, rugged musculature. Grabbing the head of his sleeping Goblin taskmaster, he twisted it off like a mushroom cap, releasing it from the limp body. He is often found carrying this very skull present day.

The details of Magmus' history become increasingly vague after his escape from the goblin labor camps. He apparently spent many years alone, wandering in the wilderness, taming his ravenous proclivities on stray sheep and cattle.

It seems from most accounts that Magmus has an almost instinctual urge for combat, a bloodlust far beyond even the most fearsome of his race. Perhaps his years of torture and slavery are responsible for this, perhaps not, his words are few and often in discernible.

In my evaluation I have found Magmus to be more of a beast than a 'person'. His sheer physical strength has come to both respected and feared because it is accompanied by organizational and strategic combat skills. For a seemingly simple minded beast, he is extraordinarily resourceful, able to live for several suns with naught food nor water. His close friends are few, as he often may not at first remember them. This trait has made him an almost perpetual rogue, like a boulder rolling in its own direction on a seemingly predetermined course.

 

Mandela

Class: Fighter
Race: Elf

Name? asked the corporal at the desk. Mandela Quilin'siir, corporal, I answered. Quilin'siir ... not on the list of Inheritors of the Blood, is it? No sir, I'm not aristocracy, sir. Not among the High Class, either, murmured the corporal, sifting through lists of names. No, sir, I replied, wondering what he was driving at. Well, he declared, you've no title and no real money. Infantry, for you. Sign this form, then report to the Quartermaster. Yes, corporal, I replied, taking up the quill ...

I sat on the ground around one of the Double Blue Regiment's watch fires, looking out over the field the Third Flag was camped alongside, and cleaning the grit off of my pike. The fires of the encamped army spread around like a reflection of the sky, each star a burning spot of flame in the dark ground. The lines spread for almost a mile and a half down the plain, at Irith Sol. I could see the rest of the Nineteenth Infantry, also the Third Elite Bows, the Eleventh Mounted Dragoons ... half of the Elvish Third Flag forces, making ready on the eve of battle. Looking across the plain, I could just make out the glocks' camps as well, like some sort of seething, firelit anthill. My army and theirs sat in the darkness that night, and watched each other.

Excuse me, ma'am. I looked up, it was Arcis, my corporal, wearing his standard-issue drab green uniform, and a smile. Battle group assignments are in. We're with the Greys and the Treble Greens, with some lovelys from the Third Elite Bows. Lieutenant Durbin requests that we brief our squads and get them armed, the convoy just pulled in. Good old Arcis, always on top of things. You get worn down after thirteen years out in the muck, but he had only been out for five, and was still full of patriotism and excitement, a little kid still playing soldier. I got up, straightened out my uniform, and started off to take care of my squad.

We were up before the suns the next morning, forming up the lines. Lieutenant Durbin, our commanding officer, was out being pretty as we got our pikes and knives ready, wearing his gold braid like some sort of visiting General. He was thrilled over being given a regiment from the Elite Bows as support for our Double Blue Regiment, normally we got Standard Bows, if we got anything at all. I took my colors pike off the stack, and lashed the battle flag to it. The Color Sergeant has to keep the squads together in the fray, and I was a Color Sergeant. My rank privilege, apparently, was getting a flimsy toy of a colors pike, longer and lighter for carrying a flag, instead of a nice heavy battle pike like everyone else.

Corporal Arcis and Lance Corporal Felliwit got the squad into the forward line, as I checked with the Field Sergeants on either side to make sure they had their men together. My flag group was running in front this morning ... first in, last out, and nothing needed to be left to chance. Across the plain, the glocks had their lines formed, big and black, waiting for us. We took the charge at a full run, pikes down, careening across the plain like demons, our lines and the glocks’ dashing madly towards each other, until the final, inevitable crash together.

It was the standard hell for a while, every man Jack fighting to keep alive ... either you killed the glocks, or they killed you, and if you died, that was it. You were bagged, tagged, and sent home to your mother in a big wooden box, fit only for worm food at the down-six. I kept the flag up until about fifty percent of my squad of twenty was downed, and then started using the pike as the good Lord Erisar intended it. It didn't last long, without the metal sheathing of a battle pike, some glock chopped it in half in fairly short order. I gave him the end with the point on it as a present for his liver, and almost grabbed his pike instead (I have never yet used my general-issue combat knife). That was when the horror beast showed up.

By horror beast, I mean only a glock larger than your standard infantryman. Every so often, you'd meet one out in the field, trying to mince you up better than the standard piker. This one was one of the trained warriors, all in black armor and leather. I had seven out of my squad left, and it didn't look good. Apparently it didn't look good to Lieutenant Durbin, either, because he told his regiment of archers to open fire. The only problem was that my squad was still in the thick of it.

Warbows are not discriminating about who they put holes into, and the arrows mostly don't stop until they hit the ground, they'll go through three or four bodies, given the opportunity. What was left of the three squads in my flag group ended up being torn apart. I didn't have a weapon to worry about, and managed to get all the way under my shield, there are advantages to being smaller than most. When the arrows stopped coming, everyone that was still alive got up and ran. There were three of us left.

Felliwit died later that night, unable to breathe with his lungs full of blood. Arcis lost his right leg, which had been so completely torn apart by nine separate arrows that the medics gave up on it and just lopped it off. I was ready to kill, and people knew it. Durbin had opened fire on his own men, like an incompetent, or like we were some kind of trash, which I suppose we were. Still, we're there for the glocks to kill in massive amounts, not to be torn up by our own. I had been in the hospital tent for two days and a half when the aide-de-camp showed up. He handed me a new uniform and a wheelbarrow full of excuses.

This isn't my uniform, I told the aide, looking at it. This is a dress uniform, and it has five stripes on it. That's Master Sergeant, you blithering fool. I'm a Color Sergeant, and what I need is a combat uniform. The aide looked a trifle afraid for a moment or two, before beginning his practiced speech. Er ... ma'am ... it is my happy privilege to inform you that Lieutenant Durbin has promoted you to the rank of Master Sergeant, and that you will be moved into the Quartermaster Corps immediately for administrative ... That was when I blew up on him ... Durbin was going to give me some presents and try to appease me. I snatched the uniform, threw it on, and started off for Durbin's tent in a blind fury, knocking the aide over a table as he tried to stop me.

Ah, Master Sergeant Quilin'siir, Durbin said with a self-satisfied smile and a wink as I entered the tent he had his office in. I've heard they're putting you in for the Valor Cross, even, and I have to say that ... You slime, I said, my tone in itself making him stop his happy small talk. I'm sure I beg your pardon, he said uneasily, looking rather confused. You, I said, killed my men. You are a gold-braided two-starred piece of undercooked glock flesh. Now, now, my dear, you see ... were the last words out of his mouth before I hit him. I will take the credit for breaking his nose, but I maintain that it is his fault about the concussion he gave himself for foolishly falling onto the corner of a desk. I left the Nineteenth Infantry that very day, before my court-martial and execution could take place, and before any more ineptitude or apathy killed more of my men.

 

Markham

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

"Markham!" screeched a woman. "Coming," roared Markham as he emerged from a bush. "It's 'bout time you got here," said the woman. "I's sorries mothers," replied Markham. "Are you ready?" she asked and Markham nodded in response. His mother nodded and threw a sheathed katana to him, "It's swords day." Markham caught the weapon with a growl and nodded.

As far back as Markham can recall every day has been rigorous training and weapon wielding. His father was one of the leaders in the Warjin tribe and his mother resides as the chemist of the tribe with the title of "War Maiden." They were well known throughout the tribe as adroit and proficient warriors. Through this reason is why Markham trained himself. Markham was partially forced in the early beginning, but ended up enjoying the time he spent training and never missed a chance to compare himself with others, especially his father. Markham resembled his father in many aspects, but he lacked the intelligence his father was known for.

The daily rituals Markham underwent were always the same and coordinated precisely with the commanding general of the tribe, General Cosell. He was more or less the biggest ugliest ogre of the tribe. He was cruel and hostile to everyone of the tribe except for Markham. He always enjoyed his time with Markham and wished to handle his tribe training and recruitment.

As Markham exited the door he arrived to a crowded street full of people with different racial backgrounds. At this point in his time he was about used to the racial differences, but many of his peers and loved ones coped with it differently. As he left the steps of the blacksmith shop he was bombarded by a crowd of salesman.

"Yus cummings?" growled Cosell. Markham laughed and ran to the man nodding leaving the salesmen befuddled by his disappearance. "I's redies," replied Markham gripping the katana sheath. Corsell patted his back and said, "Yus gon r-" just as he started his sentence a blood curdling scream emitted a few hundred yards in front of them. A dark red giant appeared in front of them and as Cosell began to walk back they encountered two more giants except these two were dark tanned and light blue. Cosell signaled to the gateguard. A loud rumbling bell rang throughout the city. The gates were immediately opened and people began evacuating. The tribe was gathered in many squadrons over the city. The giants began attacking the buildings and Cosell summoned Markham, his father and mother to dispose of the red giant.

"Nos runs in and attaks Mark," grunted Cosell. Cosell ran behind the giant and slashed it viciously in the back. Markham nodded to his father as they both leaped at the giant. Markham stabbed the giant and his father left but a graze. Markham struggled to remove the katana, but it was lodged inbetween the giants ribcage and collarbone. The giant howled in pain and knocked Markham clean into a wall. The yelping giant wrenched the katana from himself and darted toward the edge of the city backhanding any obstacles from his way. "Get wolves," roared Cosell. Immediately two immensely large wolves ran to his side. "Mark! Yus cums wif mes, " declared Cosell. Markham leaped onto the wolf placing himself behind Cosell. He strapped his arms around Cosell and grunted. The wolf dashed off following the scent of the giant. Following them was his parents.

On and on they went following the giant until thud! A tree trunk landed a blow to Cosell's chest knocking him and Markham off. Markham flew back and tripped the second wolf sending his parents off also. Cosell growled and grabbed his sword. "Yus okies?" he asked looking between the three. All of them nodded in unison returning to their feet. "Who ther?" snarled Cosell.

At this question a hoarde of goblins armed with tree trunks emerged from the forest. Cosell growled, "Arm yuselfs. Mark taks left arms, Sergeant yous taks right sides, I's will taks frunt." At this order they ran to the position as the goblins marched toward them bearing their teeth. "Kemis! Cums back hers!" yelled Cosell. Markham's mother placed herself in between the three. A boulder was thrown at her and she barely dodged it as she stepped back. The rocks gave way under her feet. She stumbled forward and looked behind her. Below her was the ocean breaking against a nearby reef.

The goblins charged and the three of them fought: slash, stab, slash. The bloodshed kept growing, as did the goblins. Markham's mother knelt down and began chanting prayers. Four goblins charged Markham's father. The man growled and fought for his life. The goblins clawed and bit and finally overthrew his father. No one was aware of his casualty as he died silently. Once they were sure he was dead they moved towards the kneeling woman. One claw-bearing strike to her neck left her decapitated. Cosell growled at Markham and said, "Gos jumps!" Markham shook his head furiously Cosell lunged at Markham and threw him over the cliff. As he watched Markham struggle to maintain his composure he was bashed instantly unconscious by the goblins. Markham hit the water and fell unconscious as water slowly covered his body.

He drifted through the endless sea unconscious as waves rippled over him. He coughed and sputtered water out of his lungs one lonely evening as he came to his sense.

Markham rubbed his head with a dismissive grunt, "Ughs mes heds hurts. .whers am I's?". He growled and looked around maintaining his head afloat. He slowly swam to a small beach and removed his dripping clothing. He wrung it out and placed it back on. He searched the area for people and growled. He walked forward a few fields and finally came upon a beach hut. He looked around and finally heaved a deep breath and walked towards the hut. He yelled, "Hullos?" and a young human lady emerged with a gaping mouth, "Are you alright my dear." Markham just shrugged and asked, "Wher's mes ats?" The lady standing there with an astonished look and said, "Why your at Rymec silly, where did you think you were?" Markham just shrugged and said, "Mes gos homs from hers?" The lady said, "Where is your home at?" "I's no nos," replied the ogre. The lady sighed and said, "I do not know then, but by the looks of you, I'd say you could live her with no trouble." Markham eyed her and shrugged, "Mes wunts gos homs to keel dos goblins." He growled and the lady stumbled back in fear, "Well if it's goblins you wish to kill this area has a goblin problem that you could take care of." The lady summoned an a man with a letter and said, "Give this to the one in the city looking for men to fight." The archer nodded and left immediately.

For the next few days Markham stayed with the lady and became good friends with her. Her name was Shikara. On the fifth day a man came to the hut. He was carrying a parchment and quill and looked at Shikara, "Is this the man you were speaking of?" She nodded and said, "Indeed this is Markham, he wishes to return home, but lacks the knowledge of it's whereabouts, and he has some grudge against the goblins from what I've heard. So sir, if you do see his predicament, he would be of great assistance to this army."

The man nodded, "Well I'm sure Fenwick would love his company upon the field, but he would have to undergo some training upon the island." The woman nodded, "Well whatever it is, I'm sure he'll do it." Markham just nodded looking off into nowhere. "Well I'm sure we can send him tomorrow," said the man. So the night before Shikara cooked him a fine meal and said, "So before you get all famous and well known come back and see me please. I'd love to see how you turned out." Markham just shrugged at this kind statement and said, "Mes dos."

Markham awoke the following morning to the man banging upon his chest. Markham just growled and said, "stups." "It's time to wake up sunshine, now get on the boat before I whip you to submission. Markham just laughed and rolled over. A few moments later, CRACK! Markham jumped to his feet rubbing his back, "Mes gos," he growled. He boarded the boat and leaned over the railing slowly closing his eyes as he drifted back to sleep.

 

Merca

Class: Fighter
Race: Troll

Merca was born on Panur, the ninth of Midnight, in the year 1,629 since the Godwar, and year 1,212 of the Empire, in a small desert tribe. Living his life out as any normal troll, he spent the time learning to survive in the desert and tending goat herds. An only child, his father taught him what he knew, the use of weapons to fend off rogue scorpions and lizards.

Tending the herds was a menial and boring task for Merca. Guiding the goats around the hostile creature and sleeping with them at night. The only benefit seen to his young mind was the wyverns, sometimes raiding the herds for food. Wyvern hunting was among his favorite pastimes, relishing the challenge of tracking and slaying these beasts.

Different areas of the desert hold different threats, to be treated in different ways. The oasis located towards the southwestern edge was one to handle with care. With water nymphs inhabiting the area getting the goats in there thrice a week for water ending up being a continual challenge.

Traversing across all areas of the heated sands, the young troll found something many had forgotten. On one of his common forays into the forbidden areas of the pyramids, he came upon an ancient relic. Carrying it to this day, the magic container once gifted to Ta'Urag, the Honored Battler by Vrackon.

In the last year before the goblins found and enslaved the tribe, Merca came upon a scouting party. Leading the scouts was a giant talking wyvern, holding the goblins under its sway with fear, its ebony black scales and sizzling saliva filled jaws. Using the tricks of the desert Merca removed the goblins one by one, until there was only the wyvern left.

Being young and foolish Merca tackled the wyvern head on, challenging it to a battle on a sandy desert plain. Coming down to all fours, the reptile eyed him in contempt for daring challenge him. As as the battle started, Merca knew he had met his match, this wyvern was far superior to any he had fought before, using both cunning and magic.

In the end luck alone saved him, his foe disturbing a giant scorpion sleeping under the sands. Enraged at getting woken on, the scorpion drove the beast driving off to the north. Merca did not escape his foolhardy thrashing unscathed, the dragon scarring him badly. Its scar tinged from the green saliva, runs from his left ear across the front of his face down to his shoulder.

Later, to the horror of the camp, the goblins returned enforce to enslave the trolls. Being outnumbered and out skilled, the trolls never stood a chance. Merca was out scouting the red lizards, incase they were looking to hunt the herd again. Returning to find the goblin warparty throughout the burning tents, his tribe enslaved and society gone. He had no option but to venture west, surrounded by impenetrable obstacle all on other sides.

From there Merca found Rosehelm and came upon Nexus, City of All Races. Still at a loss what to do now his tribe has gone, he has made the city his home at least temporarily. Having no fondness for the goblins, holding and using his bitterness against them for destroying his life. Living now to slay the giant wyvern, learning from the Fighters Guild how to combat its claw, breath and magic.

 

Minsc

Class: Fighter
Race: Human

Born into a comfortable lifestyle, Minsc was bound for greatness from the moment he stepped into the world. His father was the chief advisor to the Mayor, an old man who has lived as a rule over the small town for all of his life. His mother was a young woman that was recently married to his father, after the devastating loss of his wife, who died suddenly in the night.

As a child, Minsc spent most of his time in the presence of the local militia, fascinated by the training the soldiers underwent. With all of his time spent watching the soldiers, he started to get informal training from the soldiers during their spare time. After a while the generals took note of this, and found out who this child was. Once finding out he was the son of the Kings advisor, they began to train him in the arts of strategy and leadership.

Minsc proved to have a natural affinity for battle, and gifted in the ways of leadership. By his early teens Minsc was already in command of a small division of new recruits, and was settling skirmishes along the border. Even though he was younger by sometimes decades, his troops always gave him the respect they would any skilled leader. By his second year in command he was at such high respect that he was assigned the leader of the entire militia squad, second in command only to his father and the Mayor. Proving himself over and over, Minsc never lost a battle.

After a particular bloody and long battle, the town signed a peace treaty, throwing the city into a time of calm and relaxation. Taking advantage of this, Minsc decided to leave the city to further his training as a warrior, and a leader. He decided to go to travel the world in search of an army worthy of his skills. A few months into his travel, Minsc heard from a local drunkard, who seemed to be an x-soldier, that there was a large city that was under attack by the goblin hordes. After further inquiry, Minsc learned the location of the city, and how to get accepted into apprenticship.

Leaving immediateley for the long journey ahead of him, Minsc set out into the world alone, with only his wits and his sword, in hopes of finding this rumor to be true...

 

Nertz

Class: Fighter
Race: Unknown

Bursting into Trista's Tavern, Nertz greeted all her friends as they pushed bottle upon bottle of spirits into her arms. After downing one bottle, warmly hugging friends and lewdly kissing others, she started on another bottle and made her way over to a shady table in the corner.

"Allistar, how are you doing this evening?" she asked

The scribe turned and saw a warm, loving smile on Nertz's face, yet her eyes had a haunted look to them, unable to hide the horrors they have witnessed. "I am faring well. You appear to be haveing quite a nice time."

"Yes...well...after a hard day's killing, one has to unwind." Nertz turned leaned back in her chair and put her feet up on the table.

"So, I assume by your presence that The Archivist told you I was here to collect the story of your life in Nexus." Allistar rolled out his sheets and inked his quill.

"Yes, I got his message. I hope you don't mind my current condition, but it shall probably make the tale come easier."

"As long as it does not make the story more interesting", Allistar sneered.

"I fear there is no room for embellishment, as it is not a life to be proud of."

Nertz polished off the bottle and started on the next.

"My father was known as Zahnithar, one of the few drow elves who chose not to walk in the shadow, even going as far as to swear off his natural magical abilities, lest he be tempted. As a farmer before the hordes came, he lived a quiet, happy life in fields outside Nexus. He strived to help those in need and often had very little left for himself. Commonly tagged as caring and generous, he was well liked by a majority of the populace. During the first goblin attacks, his farm and lands were destroyed, so he retreated to dwell within Nexus as a produce merchant, again living a relatively quiet life. It was not so happy as before, as he was constantly tortured by the cries and torment of those returning from battle, badly wounded. He broke his promise to himself and started using his magical abilities to heal those he could, spending any extra time at the University studying to improve his spellcasting abilities."

While the pen flew furiously over the parchment, Nertz took a long drink to loosen her toungue, and to give the scribe a chance to catch up.

"After a particulary bloody battle, he was frantically patch-healing people with low-level spells so as to keep as many from dying as he could before he had to stop and recover his magical power. A team of clerics did the more complete healing behind him, praising his help in keeping the defenders of Nexus alive long enough for them to get to them. Many still died, however, and he fell into a deep, deep depression. Just as he was seriously contemplating suicide, a voice came to him: it was Tilnar, apparently during one of his more tender moments. He, from what my father told me, actually thanked him for keeping so many from entering his realm before their time. He asked my father to continue his work, and that he would see to his happiness. Then father awakened, as if from a dream, and was presented with the last survivor off the field by the now-exhausted clerics: Nert, a human barbarian. She was very close to death, yet through the horrific wounds and blood my father somehow fell instantly in love with her. Attempting to do the best healing he could, he was surprised at how completely he managed the spell. A few weeks later, they were married. He often told me he thought Tilnar had given him some extra ability and Nert as thanks for his efforts. I've often heard of Tilnar granting powers, but never mates."

Nertz chuckled a little and took another long pull off the bottle.

"Ah, parents...who knows the truth of the legends they tell of themselves. Now..."

One more sip.

"My mother was a completely different person! How she and father ever got along I'll never know. Maybe it had to do with her belief in Dilanis. She always told me that she was raised to believe that the more people believed in and prayed to Dilanis, the stronger her shade would become in Tilnar's realm. She even believed that if enough people prayed at once, that Dilanis would actually become resurrected from the very love she represented. Bah!"

Slumping back in the chair, Nertz takes yet another drink.

"She was a barbarian. Very good at damaging things. She was kinda chunky by human standards, but I guess with all those muscles, she really couldn't help it. Father used to tell me that between his slender elven form and her muscular form that I turned out pretty good. Some others tell me they agree."

Drunken giggles.

"Anyway...back to my tale..."

Allistar looked up, peering over his glasses, "So far I've heard almost nothing about you...just your parents. I am here to get your story, not your entire geneological history."

Glaring back, Nertz stated coldly, "It is very hard to understand me without understanding *who* I came from as well as *where*. I will get to myself in good time."

Another sip, and a suddenly relaxed posture.

"Ok...mother...She was one of the finest barbarians in the land, coming from far north in the mountains. Her build made many wonder if she were a small giant! She had an affinity for causing the shortest, least-painful deaths she could in battle. As one of the few remaining followers of the now-dead Dilanis, she professed love and understanding to all she met...even as she bashed them. I think she would have made a good follower for Trista, as well, as she enjoyed spirits every chance she got."

Nertz opened the next bottle, and began to reduce its contents.

"Guess THAT'S definitely a trait I inherited, huh? Anyway...she came to Nexus to help defend it against the goblin hoardes. She often led the groups that ventured outside the gates, usually coming back battered, but still alive and with plenty of loot. At the beginning of the month of darkness, she rallied with one of the largest forces ever brought to bear against the goblins. As luck would have it, the goblins had assembled their largest force that same day. Many bloody smaller battles occured in the whole of this battle, and mother was in the group against the Dragons. She could not do much but break their toes, but it was enough of a distraction to let the mages practice their deadly craft successfully. Battered and near death, she was the last one brought off the field. Apparently, she was under a dragon corpse, and was discovered by a thief searching for dropped goods. Once she was brought back to town, the clerical team had already exhausted their powers and feared they could do nothing for her. An uncharacteristically kind drow elf had cast a detraumatize spell upon her so well, that she never even bore a scar from that battle. She was so taken by his kindness, even after she had slain so many of his kind in defense of Nexus, that she fell instantly in love with him. At least, that's what she says...I still think the gods must have had some hand in it, no two people that different fall for each other on sight!"

Allistar continued writing as Nertz tossed empty bottles into the air as practice targets for some of the more enebriated mages.

"Ok, now we finally come to me..."

Nertz opened the last bottle in her posession.

"I was born some time after the month of darkness, and my parents were a very happy couple. In their haste -- I was born between battles -- they named me Nertzanalina, a twisted, poorly thought-out combination of their names."

"It's about time", Allistar muttered under his breath.

"Oh, I loved them and my name...I didn't know any better, but that whole thing is just too hard to pronounce when you're drunk. Anyway...during slower times, father would teach me how to barter with the shop owners, so as to fetch the best price possible for an item sold. He also taught me some of his healing skills. I'm not very good at healing, but it has saved my life and others at opportune times. Mother would take me out hunting, and back when the Wildlife Preserve was still overpopulated, she would teach me how to hide and strike out, surprising an intended prey. When battles raged, they would put me in the care of Delepidous, their mutual friend at the Fighter's Guild. As a child, it was frightening to witness so many battles going on in one place. Once I realized they were all practice, it became exciting to watch as heros honed their skills. Delepidous would even train me on days when the Guild was near empty, and I began my journey as a fighter."

The last drop goes down.

"One day, a goblin batallion broke through the city gates and made their way into town square. All three of us happened to be at father's stand that day, and mother immediately joined others there in the defense. Father rushed in in an attempt to keep mother alive. The battle raged on for several minutes when a group of goblin assassins appeared. One assassin, who was much larger and better equipped than the rest motioned for the entire group to attack mother. Mother was mercilessly slashed with poisoned weapons repeatedly, and father, in a frenzied panic to save mother, was grabbed by a goblin warrior and thrown. He landed squarely on the chest of the large assassin, striking a rather intricate-looking bone amulet, and disappeared. No one has seen or heard from him to this day. Mother died within minutes as all the other healers in town were busy healing others in other parts of the city."

Tears begin to fill Nertz's eyes.

"I was about 15 then...you know...just starting to 'fill out'. A pair of soldiers bound me and took me to their camp. I was raped repeatedly. In the morning, they 'presented' me to a high-ranking battlewizard in exchange for enchanting all their armor and weapons. He treated me well enough for a goblin, I guess, but I was expected to 'perform' each and every night. The bastard even presented me as a party favor to higher ranking officers, even the ones they consider female..."

"We can continue this some other time if you wish", the scribe said, noticing a black rage burning in her eyes.

"No," she said, calming down, "I want to get all of this out of my soul...it's been eating away at me for years, now."

"Very well, but stop anytime you wish."

Another bottle materializes before Nertz. She turned and waved in thanks to a friend, skillfully faking a smile.

"As I got older, the battlewizard began to cast spells on me. I noticed that my adolescent skin would clear with each spell. I guess he liked young girls and wanted to keep me that way.. One day, he and a group of warlocks he had shared me with incanted a spell together and blasted me with a magic so painful, I shall never forget as I can still feel it -- to some degree -- to this day. I asked him what I did to deserve such torture, and he stated that it was not torture, but that he was preserving my youth forever. If I were a vain person, it would still not have been worth that amount of consuming pain."

The black fire raged again.

"One day, he was playing card games with some drow that were temporarily stationed at the camp. He bet me to a high-ranking officer and lost. The officer must have seen the drow parentage in me, for after that, I was taken to an obviously rich house of drow, and was given to a royal warrior who had just lost his wife in battle. The customs and expectations of dark-elven wifehood were flogged into me. Again, I was to 'perform' on command. I bore a son, who I have not seen but for the few seconds after he arrived into this world. He was taken away, and I was told that he was full drow, and that he should never have to suffer the shame of a half-breed mother. Apparently, he was raised by a surrogate family."

Tears streamed down Nertz's face as she guzzled more liquor. Allistar continued writing, his own eyes beginning to tear up.

"An apparently high-level exploration team from Nexus stumbled onto the drow house, and proceeded to eliminate the family. In the skirmish, I escaped to the woods and hid, moving by night, until I found the western gates of Nexus and returned. Since then, I have defended Nexus, and trained at the Fighter's Guild. Delepidous had long since died, but there were some there that remembered me and welcomed me into the guild. They were so aged by then, I barely recognized any of them. I don't know if it's my elven parentage or the spell blast that has preserved my youthful appearance, but I do notice that I don't seem to age like any of the other races here."

Nertz's pained expression faded, and the black rage was replaced with diamond-blue joy.

"The male fighters don't like to practice with me much, I guess because I have this strange knack of starting my battles with a bash between the legs with a sharp or thrust weapon. I don't know why I do that, I just do. I had and have many a good friend here. I am even engaged to a fine mage, ya know!"

She flashed her ring to the scribe.

"We had children, and then he disappeared. I dearly hope that he has not been killed!"

The haunted pain returned to her eyes.

"I would very much like to find out what happened to my son and my fiance, and maybe teach my son to be as kind and good as his grandfather, and to unite him with his sisters. I would also like to know what happened to my father, and whether or not he is still around."

"Perhaps you shall." Allistar reached across the table and took her hand. "Many wonders exist in Nexus, and even the dead have been known to come back a time or two."

Nertz hugged the scribe, tears forming again, got up, and left the tavern.

 

Olven

Class: Fighter
Race: Human

I was born in a small little village a long way from Nexus. The village was a quiet place and everybody was good to each other. My father, Kurik was a farmer that had retired from the armed forces. He started to teach me the basic skills of fighting at a very young age.

My mother, Lillian, was a typical small town person. She was nice and polite to everybody, both those who lived in our town and to visitors.

The years slowly passed in the town and I helped my parents out on the farm. When I was 14 years old I met a girl named Micelle and we fell in love. About 3 months after we met we got married. Then, one month after we got married something happened.

It was a cloudy day when two men came riding up to our house and wanted to speak to my father. Father had a short talk with the men's then returned to the house. He went straight up to the attic without saying a word. When he returned he was dressed in a black splintmail armor, mithril leggings and sleeves. By his side hang a big sword and around his neck he has a silver colored cloak.

He ordered me to go saddle his horse while he spoke to my mother. 10 minutes later he came out and sat up on his horse and looked straight in my eyes.

- I must leave now, my son. Now you must take care of your mother and your wife.

Then he turned his horse, nodded at the men and they rode of. Life continued after my father had left, and me, my wife and my mother kept the farm in a good state.

One morning when I was lying in my bed, my wife came in the room and laid down next to me.

- Olven, my love. She said. I have something wonderful to tell you.

- What, what? I asked curiously.

- I'm pregnant!, she exclaimed.

I was a bit stunned for a while when her words while through my brain. Then I started to laugh and we hugged for a long time.

A week later, at my 16th birthday, my mother came up to me and said that she needed some stuff from a town that was about 2 days of riding from here. So I saddled my horse, kissed my wife and rode off. I got to the town, bought the stuff and went back.

When I was about 2000 meters from my hometown I saw that something was burning. I rode as fast as I could to the town and saw something horrible. The whole town was burnt to the ground. I jumped down from my horse and ran to my house. There I saw my mother and wife sitting and holding each others hands, all bloody with a big sword trough their bodyies. I just ran back to my horse mounted it and just rode. I rode, rode and rode until I came to a small village named Rymek.

There I boarded a sloop and cane to some island. I walked up to the gates and asked a guardsman if they had any tavern with strong ale and some place to sleep. He showed me one and I bought a room there. Just as the guard was about to leave I asked him:

- What place is this?

- Its Falcion, the guard replied and walked out in the night.

 

Schoddo

Class: Fighter
Race: Human

"Sir?"

Commander Frederick Rhuskias turned in his chair to look at me. The light cast by the hooded lantern on his desk did little to illuminate the office, and yet I could clearly see the fatigue in my father's eyes. When he was facing me, I stood rigid and saluted. He nodded. "At ease, son," he told me. I relaxed my shoulders. The commander sat back, taking in a deep breath and crossing his hands over his lap. "What can I do for you, Schoddo?" he asked with a smile.

"I wish to give my report now, sir," I told him.

"Aye," he replied, with a wave of his hand. "Go on, then."

"My scouts have returned, sir. A goblin encampment was found forty miles south of Knoll's Meadow in the Mythwood, sir." As father listened, he looked towards the ground with a knit brow, pondering as I reported to him.

"How many were they?" he asked.

"There were reported to be over three thousand, sir."

"Three thousand..." he repeated to himself, thinking it over.

"Apparently they were putting a lot of effort into keeping their campsite concealed, sir."

He nodded. "Aye. I'd wager they're setting up for an ambush on Jostforth, then."

"They have been awfully quiet these past few years, sir," I added.

The commander then stood up. "Schoddo, return to your platoon's barracks and await my command. I am going to see the king and tell him of this predicament."

"Aye sir," I gave in reply. I turned to go, but I felt my father's hand touch my shoulder before I went. "Schoddo," he said, his voice more relaxed.

I turned to look at him. "Yes, sir?"

His voice was earnest but warm. "It is most likely that we will be going to war. That said I want you to prepare yourself, not only with your armor but with your heart as well. The goblins are a formidable enemy and it will take more than a swift blade to bring them to their knees."

I nodded in reply, and felt an involuntary smile form on my face. The expression of determination and courage that resided in my dad's perpetually youthful face would make you believe in hope even if losing was inevitable. With that, he stood up and dismissed me.

Surely enough, after hearing of the goblins and consulting with his advisors, King Karnad, the ruler over our city Jostforth, issued orders to the Dragoons to go to war. A group of scouts was sent to the encampment, and soon after they came back with the goblin's strategy. Apparently, they were to leave in a tenday towards Jostforth. Given that, my father ordered that my, Captain Hergiut's, and Captain Bontrew's men leave in a tenday to meet the goblins. Calculating their pace, we would intercept them at Knoll's Meadow within the course of five days, granted we made camp and rested every night. The days leading up to the day we were to leave were filled with both anticipation and cheer. When ten days had finally come up, there was a great celebration, and with hearts heavy but proud, the Dragoons rode off, thus embarking on the journey to finally eliminate the Goblins and the threat they imposed. On the third night en route Knoll's Meadow, I couldn't sleep and so began to stroll around the camp in assistance of the guard. As I walked by a part of the defenses, I noticed that one of my Dragoons, an introvert by the name of Paldur, had disappeared from his post. I notified a guard that I was going to search for the truant, and left the camp. After about fifteen minutes of searching, I came upon a figure bathing in a lake amidst the moon's reflection. On the banks lay Paldur's armor and tunic, so I presumed him to be the one bathing; however, upon further inspection, I discovered that the bathing figure was no man. It was a woman!

The moment that this dawned on me, she became aware of my presence, and darted to the clothing lying on the bank. I leapt into the water and grabbed her arm as she ran past. She squirmed vigorously, but I kept my grasp. Giving her slender naked body a quick look over, it became apparent to me why Paldur never bathed with the rest of the Dragoons. I gritted my teeth and spoke to her, keeping my voice low but firm. "What the hell are you doing here? Are you trying to get yourself killed? It's dangerous around here!" I said to her.

The woman cowered as I spoke, her jaw quivering nervously and her eyes squinting pleadingly. I shook her arm to encourage her, but she only scrunched her face harder. I allowed in a moment of hesitation in the shaking, and we both stood motionless, her face turned away and my hand tightly on her arm. The authority I felt began to swell in my gut, making me feel about twenty feet taller. As I wallowed in my little ego-trip, though, she turned to me, and the expression on her face now was not that of fear as it had been just a second earlier, but of ferocity; and, before I knew what was happening, she kicked me in the gut, stunning me and throwing me into the shallow water on my back. I shook my head and lifted myself to try to regain my composure, only to be met at the neck by the point of the woman's gisarme, held steadily and confidently above my skin. Suddenly I felt like a halfling under the blade of a hungry ogre. Despite her nakedness, this mysterious woman stood with the posture of a warrior. A flame of courage and fearlessness flickered in her eye and her hand gripped her sword adeptly and without trouble.

The woman caught the pleading expression on my face, and withdrew her sword. I stood up and brushed myself off. After I was reoriented, she grabbed my arm.

"Schoddo. You speak of this to no one, you hear?" she said sternly, keeping her voice low.

I furrowed my brow. "Who are you? Why did you do this?" I inquired of the woman.

After a moment, she sighed. "In due time, Schoddo, I will tell you. But a battle awaits us, come the morn following the next, and we must put this behind us. And again," she raised her sword again, "no squealing."

I nodded in agreement, and climbed onto the bank. The woman, after pulling on her armor and again looking like a man, followed me out of the forest and back to the camp.

In the nights after that, Paldur and I would go on nightly excursions and talk to each other. We told each other of our families, our goals, and ourselves. Within this period, she answered the questions I had asked her on the night we met. Her real name was Rosilia Gartan. She came from a small, isolated village deep within the forests to the far west. She and her people lived peacefully hunting and foraging their food, until they were ambushed one day by a small band of goblin shock-troopers. The village's people took up arms, but their primitive spears and arrows were no match for the cruel swords of the goblins, and the village was soon destroyed, it's buildings burnt to the ground and it's people killed. One girl managed to escape armed, however. This girl was Rosilia. She was thirteen years old at the time, and from then forward she swore vengeance on the goblins. Two years later, after she had perfected her fighting skills, she attempted to insinuate the goblin forces from within. After she was caught and she only narrowly escaped, though, she decided she couldn't serve as a one-woman army. She entered the city of Jostforth to renew herself and her equipment after the diversion, and while at a local tavern heard word of the Dragoons going off to war with the goblin hordes. The opportunity of fulfilling vengeance once again became possible to her. The only problem, however, was that only men were allowed into the Dragoons. So, naturally she did the only thing she could do: she bought a concealing outfit from the local tailor with what little gold she had, and enlisted in the Dragoons as a man named Paldur.

Finally, the day of the battle came. I awoke to the camp in a buzz, everyone running to and fro in preparation. After shoving down a quick breakfast, I equipped my horse and myself and assembled with the rest of the men in front of the camp. My father stepped in front of his men, and called everyone to attention. My heart swelled with pride at the sight of him. He was clad from head to toe in magnificently forged adamant armor. Despite the cloudy sky, his armor glinted radiantly as if the sun were shining right over him. His great stallion Firehair was also wearing adamant, with plates of it under his saddle and on the bridal over his head. Father removed his helm allowing his red hair to fall out and flow in the wind. With his crystal lance in his hand and the courageous expression on his face, he almost resembled a god. When all was silent, he spoke.

"Men!" he cried. "Today we go to war with the Goblin Hordes! They have threatened our people and our livelihood ever since the war of the Gods. We cannot go on without disposing of this threat, so we must now gallop in battle against them. It is unfortunate that blood must be drawn to settle this conflict but they have refused diplomacy, so inevitably we must clash blades with their warriors. So, my men, as we ride to the meadow and meet the formidable goblins, hold your heads high and carry the banners of Jostforth with pride, and we shall stand over the corpses of our enemies valiantly, not only for ourselves, but for our people!" With that, he raised his golden trumpet to his lips and let out a blast that echoed through the lands. All of the hundreds of Dragoons raised their weapons and cheered, "Long live Jostforth! Long live Jostforth!" I looked over at Rosilia (clad still as a man) and she too was cheering loudly. Our hearts joyous despite the fate approaching, the Dragoons rode off to Knoll's Meadow.

When we arrived at Knoll's Meadow, the goblins' army was assembled on the opposite side of the field as if they had been expecting us. Despite their bewilderment at this, though, the men each assembled within their platoons behind the commander quickly and without problem. There was an ominous pause as the Dragoons stood on the crest of the hill overlooking the meadow and scanning the enemy. All that was heard was the whistle of the wind passing through the trees and sweeping the armor of our men. Clouds covered the sky, and the wind became stronger. Without a word, Father raised his lance into the air, and the banners were raised in each platoon. Then, the archers stepped forward and let assail a wave of arrows into the goblins' forces. Then, Father gave a great cry, and led everyone in a frontal attack on the goblins as they defended themselves from the arrow assault. It was truly a spectacle, every Dragoon racing forward on their steeds, intent on only one thing: killing as many goblins as possible.

Fortunately, our strategy of striking when the goblins focused on the arrows worked. We caught the goblins off-guard, thus reducing their defense and making them twice as vulnerable to our attacks. However, some goblins were quick enough to erect pikes as we attacked. My steed was, unfortunately one of the horses caught and killed by a pike. Acting as quickly as I could, I tossed away my lance, jumped forward over the mane of my steed, and drew my bastard sword from my belt. I slashed as I landed, successfully killing two goblins in the process. From there, the battle raged horribly, all sense of unity or order lost as every man fought by his own accord. Father caught many a goblin upon his lance as he leapt through the battle. I saw Rosilia, who's horse had also been taken by a pike, in battle with two large goblin troopers. One got a successful slash at her from behind with his axe in her helm. Fortunately, the helm absorbed the entire hit, which destroyed the helm but left Rosilia unhurt. The helm then split in two, falling off of her head and allowing her golden hair to flow out and over her shoulders. The goblins stood bewildered, at which point Rosilia impaled the goblin behind her with her spear, caught his axe as he fell, and swiftly beheaded the goblin in front of her with it.

The battle lasted for hours. During the fight, the clouds darkened and rain poured down, washing our blood from our wounds and rusting our swords. The goblins were stronger than we had anticipated, and many of our men were killed alongside theirs. In fact, by the time the few goblins left retreated with their tails between their legs, all that was left of the Dragoons were me, Rosilia, Father, and forty one other Dragoons. Everyone was wounded, and several had lost arms and legs. Only seven horses were still alive, and these horses were used to carry the wounded back to the camp.

For two weeks we stayed at the camp, however this time we were twice as vigilant, given our weakness from the battle. We had won, and yet our losses still lay heavy on our hearts. The amputees soon bled to death, leaving our company with even less than before; however, those without permanent injuries were soon back on their feet and able again to carry their swords. Those who were not healing or being healed assisted my father and I digging a mass grave and burying our dead brothers. After all had been buried and a ceremony was held, we packed up camp and headed home.

When we approached Jostforth, we heard great commotion from within the walls. We expected it to be from a celebration to commemorate our victory, but as we neared the gates, we saw what the activity really was about: the goblins had invaded the city. I stood gawking at the city in shock. Then, I buried my face in my hands. "Of course! The goblins attacked the meadow to lure us away as they claimed the city! How could I have been so stupid?" I wailed. My father rode up beside me, and lifted my face to look at him. "Schoddo!" he commanded. "Our city is under attack! This is no time to be scolding yourself!" Wiping away my tears, I nodded, and we led the Dragoons into the city.

The city was in shambles. Every building was either burnt to the ground or burning. The dead citizens covered the streets, and blood covered the ground. Goblins swarmed through every which way, either torching the buildings or murdering the townspeople. The guards tried desperately to hold them off but the goblins' number was too great. The Dragoons immediately poured into the city and began disposing of the goblins. Father turned to Rosilia and I and yelled, "Schoddo, you check the upper city for survivors, and Rosilia, you check the lower city! I'll be holding off their champions in the town square!" With that, he rode off. Rosilia turned to me. "Good luck," she whispered. She removed my helm, kissed my quickly on the cheek, and rode off to fulfill her duty. I stood swooning for several seconds, but I quickly snapped out of it and galloped swiftly off to the upper city.

The upper city was a wreck. Dead bodies lay scattered atop each other amidst the charred buildings, though none were currently burning. Evidently, the goblins had eliminated of this sector first. After a thorough check of the area, I sped back to the lower city. Contrary to the upper sector, fire blazed fresh here, and goblins were all over the place. When I found Rosilia she was in a fight with a shocktrooper who was holding two children hostage. I galloped up behind the trooper and disposed of his head. Rosilia flashed a smile to me as she lifted the children onto her horse. Farther down the street, I spotted several Dragoons fighting a band of scouts they had caught sneaking through the alleys. I galloped in to assist them. I beheaded an assassin that was trying to backstab a Dragoon who was fending off two other scouts. When I wasn't looking, however, a deathguard cast a blindness spell on me, and a battlemage used telekinesis to throw me off my mount. As I lay stunned from the fall and shaking my head blindly, I felt the body of a goblin lean over me. He giggled maliciously, and I thought I was going to pass out from the rancid breath he omitted from his lips. Suddenly, I heard a staccato squeal as a warm fluid splashed onto my face, and the weight of his body toppled onto me. The body was lifted from me, and a hot liquid was poured into my eyes. It stung like hell, and I screamed in pain, but afterward I noticed my eyesight had come back. Before I could thank the Dragoon who had done this, he became occupied with several more goblins. After we had slain these goblins, Rosilia, myself, and the other Dragoons near us went to the town square.

The town square was a center of activity. Amidst twenty mounted goblin champions, all wielding great hammers and spears was my father on his faithful stallion Firehair. He leapt to and fro, jousting the champions one by one with his mighty lance. The Dragoons joined the fight, finishing off the jousted champions and helping slay those still on their mounts. As we fought, we warded the champions away from the square and into the streets. Suddenly, the goblins stopped fighting and looked skyward. In the sky, looming over the city was a behemoth black dragon. He spread his massive wings and blanketed the night sky. He was truly a spectacle to behold. The dragon let out a mighty roar that shook the ground beneath our feet. As we continued battling the goblins, he let forth a great belch of fire upon my father. Father held forth his shield, though, and the flames split wielding him no harm. The dragon then swooped down at Father and took him and his horse in his mouth. He then flew high into the sky over the city. The dragon swallowed Firehair whole, but Father was able to scramble out of the dragon's mouth before he could be swallowed as well. He climbed onto the dragon's head and stabbed him in the eye with his lance. The dragon tossed his head, bellowing an earth-shattering scream as black blood squirted out of his eye. Father was knocked off of his feet but grasped the dragon's fangs before he fell. He then climbed into the dragon's mouth and stood the lance upright in it's mouth before it could close on him. This angered the dragon greatly. As Father unsheathed his sword and started slashing away at the dragon's mouth, he let forth a great flame that engulfed my father whole. When the flames settled, the dragon spat out the ashes that had once been the great Commander Frederick Rhuskias, leader of the Dragoons of Jostforth, and my father. The warrior that had looked like a god on his mighty stallion just two weeks earlier had now been transformed to a mere pile of ashes before my very eyes.

I slew the champion with whom I was combating and sprinted to the square, looking up at the mighty black dragon as it levitated in the sky above me. I picked up a spear from the ground, and in a rage blinded by tears and hatred, I threw the spear with a sudden onslaught of strength aimed directly at the dragon's heart. The spear hit right in the dragon's chest. The dragon let out another great scream of angquish that echoed across Altin, and fell in a limp spiral to the ground. I fled the square just as the dragon hit the square. The drop shook the entire city, causing several buildings to collapse and knocking every Dragoon, horse and goblin off his feet. The goblins then grabbed all the surviving townspeople and fled the city before the Dragoons were able to regain their composure again. I then fell to my knees and sobbed. Whether it was for my father, my city, or the slain Dragoons, I don't know. Whatever it was, though, my crying didn't cease, not for the hour after the dragon's demise that we stayed in the city gathering supplies, not for the ride southward toward the goblin encampment, and not for the time that it took to set up camp with our feeble equipment. And, by the red eyes of Rosilia and the whimpers I heard throughout the night from the other men, I could tell that I was not the only one who cried myself to sleep that night.

The next morning, the nine remaining Dragoons, Rosilia and I sat around a small bonfire tending to our ruined armor and broken weapons and eating a meager breakfast of cornmeal. We had just finished burying all over our dead citizens and Dragoons, and spirits were not high. One man, a captain by the name of Hergiut, spoke to break the pending silence.

"The mighty city of Jostforth is now a ruin, our people have been decimated and taken hostage, and us still remaining are left with broken equipment and meager supplies," he said quietly. "Now, all that is left for us to do is sit back and slowly wither away into Void." He then buried his face in his hands and wept. The other men also began to murmur and weep to themselves at this somber revelation. I could almost feel the hope leave these men and escape us under our feet. I looked over at Rosilia. The expression on her face wasn't one of sadness, though, but one of anger at the crying men. Suddenly she stood up, dropping her breastplate on the ground. All the men stopped and looked up at her. "Look at all of you!" she cried. "You call yourselves men?" She motioned an arm to scan the camp. "So what if we lost all but two of our horses? So what if all we have for cover are rags atop sticks? So what if our food will only last us a day or two? This situation is something at which peasants and noblemen cry at, not warriors! We are Dragoons! Our city must be avenged, so avenge it we must. If that means that we have to fight the goblins with clubs of wood and stones, then we will do just that! We can survive this, men. How can we give up with a vengeance unfulfilled?" She stuck her hand out, and suddenly pushed the side of her knife against her palm. Her eyes darted up and she looked from man to man. "Take your blades men, and swear on your blood that we will avenge our people!" she commanded. I stood up, and the rest of the men followed. I withdraw my knife and pressed the blade against my palm. Raising my hands into the air, I cried, "Long live Jostforth!" and with that sliced deftly, drawing a stream of blood out of my hand. Rosilia smiled at me, and raised her hands. "Long live Jostforth!" she cried, and she too cut her hand. The rest of the men then did the same, and together our fists rose into the sky, blood dripping freely into the bonfire below us. Then, with hope anew shimmering in our eyes, we set to work preparing ourselves for what was to come.

I was sixteen at the time, and for the next year we survived as nomads. We hunted with self-fashioned bows and spears. We foraged any fruits we could find. Our mail soon broke, so the hides we wrapped ourselves in became our armor. Having to hunt for our food built our battle skills three times as much as they ever did when I trained in the city, so our little traveling band of warriors became quite the formidable bunch. Our original plan was to travel southward and insinuate the goblin forces within their encampment, but as we soon found out, they had left the camp in the Mythwood and gone back to their kingdom. So, without any knowledge of where to go, we began to wander the lands, searching for any information on the goblins' location.

Rosilia and I together were accepted as the leaders of the new Dragoons, without any prejudice from the men about Rosilia being a woman. As we traveled, Rosilia and I fell in love with each other. At the end of the year, I couldn't take my temptation any longer, and I asked her to marry me. She accepted almost immediately, and we promised that the next city we came to, we would have a priest marry us.

Unfortunately, this day never came. The following week, goblin troopers ambushed our camp. We were able to hold them off for a while, but their numbers grew to almost four times that of ours. I couldn't remember much of the battle, though, because as I was fending off several shocktroopers, one snuck up from behind me and knocked me unconscious with a sap. When I reawakened, I lay in the ruins of our camp, with all the rest of the men sprawled dead around me. Apparently the goblins had thought they killed me, so left me in the camp. Then, I noticed something: Rosilia wasn't among the dead men. Had the goblins taken her back with them? My ears picked up a bit of noise from outside the camp. I peered out, and I saw that a few goblins were still making their way away from the camp. I grabbed my spear and followed them, keeping to the shadows.

The goblin camp was in some great ceremony when I snuck in. All the goblins were in a circle around some a bonfire, and eerie chanting arose from the circle. I climbed a tree to get a better look at what was going on. To my horror, in the center of the circle, atop an altar in front of the bonfire was Rosilia, naked and wriggling desperately. A chieftain, adorned in a huge, ugly headdress, was holding onto her with one hand and grasping a large bone knife in the other. An evil laugh came from his lips as she screamed. She turned her head to look desperately around, and she spotted me in the tree. Suddenly, all around me seemed to disappear, and it was just Rosilia and I in an empty, white void. She looked at me, her eyes in a swoon, and whispered with the last of her strength, "Schoddo...avenge my people, avenge Jostforth, and most of all avenge the Dragoons...I wish I could be there with you, but it seems all so futile now...don't lose hope, even without me Schoddo..." I pleaded with her, begging her not to go, but she pressed a finger to my lips. "Don't speak, Schoddo... Fate has a funny way of...doing things. If this is how she wants it, then this is how it will be... Schoddo, go and bring vengeance to the goblins...and know always...that I love you." With that, she sputtered, her eyes rolled back into her head, and she keeled over dead. The void disappeared, and once again goblins surrounded Rosilia as her naked body rolled onto the ground, blood pulsating from her throat. Warm tears flowed down my face, and my mind became a cyclone of thoughts. My fury overcame me, and I lost all conscious control of myself. I gripped my spear and, with a great cry, leapt from the tree and down upon the chieftain, impaling him on my spear. The goblins started running to and fro in their confusion. I impaled one goblin from behind and stole his scimitar as he fell. I then chased every goblin and beheaded each one by one. Their blood splattered on my face, and I enjoyed it. I truly felt I had succumbed to insanity, but I didn't care. I didn't stop until every goblin was dead. One last goblin that was left broke my scimitar with his axe, but when he saw the fury in my eyes after he did so, he started to flee. I grabbed a staff as I ran and stuck in front of the goblin, tripping him flat on his face. I caught his axe as he fell, stood over him, and hacked like I madman, not satisfied until he was a bloody mess. My anger then left me, and I dropped the axe, huffing my breath. I then ran over to Rosilia's body on the altar. I lifted the body, and shook her as if trying to wake her. After I was sure that she was indeed dead, I placed my cheek against hers, and wept.

Snow began to fall from the sky, covering the bodies of the goblins and their camp. The world was silent, cold, and cruel. Every friend and family that I had ever had was dead, and now the one who I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with lay cold and lifeless in my hands. I stood up, and was about to shove the chieftain's knife into my chest and end it all, when I remembered Rosilia's words: "Avenge my people, avenge Jostforth, and avenge the Dragoons..." She was right. I was the only survivor of it all, so now it was my duty and mine alone to bring vengeance for everyone slain. I couldn't kill myself with so much to still do. The dagger fell from my shivering hands, and, with a heavy heart, I salvaged materials from the mess around me. The only usable weapon I found was a shoddy lead flail, and I was not able to disengage any of the armor from the bodies of the goblins. So, with a crappy weapon and only rags covering my hide, I left the camp with no certainty whatsoever of what was to become of me.

That was on the twenty-eighth of Icedrake in the year 1626 since the Godswar, my seventeenth birthday. A year later on the same date, I arrived in the city of Nexus after much aimless wandering. I heard of the contempt for goblins they had there as well, and so I decided to join their forces and help them in their fight. I enlisted in the fighter's guild, and was sent to Falcion for my training. I became learned in many things, telepathy probably being the most prominent. My life once again was back on track.

When I entered this city, I planned to use it solely for bringing revenge to the goblins. However, as I became more and more attached to the city, it became more than a flunky. It became my home, and its citizens, my friends. Many of my better friends (Bomp included) committed suicide while in the city, but my obligation to the city is what sort of kept me from killing myself as well. But now here I am, with not only reprisal to meet, but also a city and a people to protect as well.

 

Siegfried

Class: Fighter
Race: Half-Giant

Fatherly figures were missing in Siegfried's life. His father was a Sergeant in the war away from the East Gates. His father's name was Dallien and his mother's name was Mayana. They met in the harbor of Rymek. There they spent many dates eating, and finally his father proposed to her and she accepted.

Later on after the wedding Dallien had to do an exploration mission for Nexus. He had to head down in the underworld where he found the perfect place for a house. He brought Mayana down to see the spot and she approved of the location. Dallien then started building the house and made it into a three-roomed house. Then in a few years a child would bless them by the name of Siegfried Kashanu. Fenwick called Dallien into war when Siegfried was two.

His mother got frustrated because the war was going on for ages. She finally gave up, turned to Siegfried and said "I a™m sorry son, but I€am going to have to leave your father and you because well ... I cannot live like this supporting such a big boy. I hope you can understand...". She then took her stuff and left the house. This is the only thing Siegfried could remember his parents telling him besides the mail he was receiving from his father.

Siegfried then decided to train his strengths and weaknesses so he could join his father in the war. Siegfried met many friends in his journeys, but one stood out. Her name was Lanya. They became close friends and finally he proposed to her. She accepted with a warm smile and joyful hug, but a few years later she left without a note or a goodbye. This was a major crisis for Siegfried. He started moping around the city of Nexus until he met Gryphon one day. His father told him about Gryphon and the Goodman that he is through the mail he was receiving. Gryphon gave him a mentorish speech, which shook Siegfried mentally. Siegfried then met up with Rhelton who joins him in journey for power. Rhelton was like Siegfried in many ways except for the fact that he was not going to join the army at war instead he was going to avenge his parents deaths. Siegfried invites Rhelton to stay with him in his house, which Rhelton honorably accepts, and their they make strategic plans to find and slay some big beasts to enable them to train, thus able to take their place in Nexus more quickly. They end up being welcomed into the city of Nexus as citizens and honored.

 

Starfire

Class: Fighter
Race: Human

There once was a small and peaceful island in the Sea of Tears called Cleaos. Cleaosinhabitants believed in communication, and fighting was abolished before anyone of them could remembered. They did not follow any god since they were afraid that the gods enemy would send his followers to attack them. Trading was their way to survive, and it kept them neutral in the wars between the good and evil. They lived as merchants, and that was all that they will ever be.

Then, one day, a child was born with the symbol of the Fighter guild on the back of the babys neck. The whole island was shocked and thought it was an omen that this child bears the symbol of what they hated most. The child's parents treated him well, because they thought of him as being the protector of the island, but the rest of the inhabitants treat him lower than dirt. They pushed him around and he always get the hardest task available.

The child hated his tasks, but he always did them to show to the rest of the inhabitants that he deserved some respect. Little that he know that the hard tasks that he performed made him better, stronger, and tougher than the rest of the island's inhabitants. The work put him in physical shape to be a fighter like he was meant to be. So the child grew up to be bigger, stronger, and he was hated even more.

One day, on the child's 16th birthday, the child walking to the his hide out by the shores to get a little rest, and be left alone by the rest of the inhabitants, he found a man laying on the beach, unconscious. His wounds were severe, but the child manages to bandaged the stranger's wounds and brought the man into his hide out safely. He brought the stranger food and water each day. Two days later, the stranger rise from his deep sleep and saw the young child that saved him. At first, through his week eyes, the man thought he saw a guardian smiling above him, but as his vision got better, he saw the rough face of the young child and he said, "Starfire," and then the man lost conscious again. The child thought the man was talking to him and thought it as strange, but it was the first time that the child got called by something not along the line of dirtball, he even kind of like the name, better than the one his parents gave him, which reminds him of the island and its inhabitants. Therefor, the child adopts it as his own name.

When the man was strong enough to speak, he told Starfire his story and how he ended up on Cleaos. He was a fighter from the nexus who had wondered away with a from the city to scout the area south of the Nexus. He came upon a large party of goblins and ran for his life. He managed to make it to the waters and swim away. He had heard of an island of peaceful people nearby, and although they did not like fighters, it was his best shot. He managed to reach the shores of the island, but he was too tired and injured so he passed out. He did not know the fate of his companion, Starfire, and the reason he said Starfire when he came out of his coma was that the child reminds him of his companion who also was a fighter.

Hearing his story, Starfire asked him about the Nexus itself, and what it was like. The man answered with great pride and said that the Nexus was a place of peace, where all classes were treated equally and although it have its problems, the Nexus was the center of the known world. Starfire listened closely imagining how one day he would be able to live normally, among people who could appreciates him.

After thanking Starfire carefully, the fighter walked out of the room hoping to find a way back to the Nexus. Just when he passed Starfire, for the first time, he noticed the symbol of the Fighter guild on the back of Starfires neck. So, he decided to stay and teach Starfire the way of the fighter guild.

After two years of vigorous training, Starfire was ready to become a true fighter on his 18th birthday. By this time, the island have hated him so much plotted a way to get him off of the island to save them from chaos that they thought Starfire was going to bring. They set up a meeting, in which they asked Starfire to help them by representing the island and go to the port at the Sea of Tears and tell the mayor that they are willing to make a deal for a very large trade. At first, Starfire was reluctant to leave his family, but when his mentor, the fighter reveal his feelings of wanting to go home, Starfire finally decided to help his mentor and took the task.

As soon as he and his mentor got on the ship, the island started to party and celebrate what they had accomplished. Little did they know that the goblins have learned that the only ones capable of fighting have left, and the goblins have begun to board the island. By the time they realize that the goblins were present, it was too late, mass murder was in progress.

On his ship, Starfire noticed a strange figures on the shores of Cleaos and pointed it out to his mentor. They immediately turned around, and head back for the island. By the time they got to the goblins, they discovered that only a few goblins remain, the rest had took off with all the goods of the island. The remaining goblins stayed to kill the rest of the inhabitants. Together, Starfire and his mentor killed the remaining goblins one by one. Starfire and his mentor rushed back to his home to check on Starfires parents. They stood in front of the door and saw the bodies in front on the house. Starfire checked each and everyone of the bodies and did not find his parents.

Then suddenly, a goblin assassin stepped out of the shadows behind the mentor and backstabbed him. The mentor let out a loud cry as he sinks to his knees, but he managed to pull out a wand a zapped the goblin with a large fireball. Starfire jumped up, grabbed the sword that his mentor drop, bashed the assassin to the ground and then he swung a full swing at the goblin and hit him in the lower abdomen. The goblin responded by slashing his knife pass Starfires arms, letting knife to taste the young fighters blood. Starfire grabbed the sword with his other hand and slashed the assassin across the face. The goblin let out a terrible scream and fell to his knees. Starfire quickly finished the goblin up with a cut across the assassins neck. The head of the goblin fell down on to the floor beside his body. Starfire quickly tried to bandage the mentor, but the mentor stopped him. "It is too late for me," he said, "the Nexus is your only hope." With that, the mentor eyes closed and he died. Starfire closed his eyes for a few seconds and remained silenced, he sighed and then stood up and continue to search for his parents. They were laying on the ground by the sofa in his house, dead. Starfire walked out of the house with a determined look on his face. He picked up his mentor and put him in a boat, then he took all he could get off of the goblins, and he got into the boat himself. He was determined to get to the Nexus and return the mentor to his home.

"The island got what they deserved, all their goods were gone, they will suffer for their mistakes," Starfire thought as he dock his ship into the bay. He made his way through many goblins and finally reached the Nexus. In here, he would be treated equally, and so in the Nexus, he remained ever since. He helped fought off the goblin hoards that plague the city, he done many deeds, and although he faced many hardships, the Nexus was closest thing to a home that he knows. He follows the tradition of not following a god, but not because he was afraid, because he kills anything hostile, but some hostile creatures are good, and some are evil. His alignment keep changing back and forth, and the gods would not accept him as their follower. He never returned to Cleaos again, he did not know what happens to his people, and he did not care. He try to forget everything that happened before his arrival at the Nexus.

 

Stomre

Class: Fighter
Race: Troll

The darkness cleared from her eyes, and she was able to look around. The last she remembered was her mother putting her into the secret floor area and then something knocking her head. Stomre shook the dreariness from her throbbing head. She studied her surroundings. The area looked familiar in the gloom. This was still the secret area she was put into. Visions flashed in her head and she once again lived the horror of what took place before she was knocked out.

Her family lived in the foot-hills of the Crystal Mountains, though over- run many years before, they refused to leave their home. Her parents', Toran and Gruna, generations had all come from the same area and as one might note, trolls are stubborn to make even a dwarf seem easy to please. Her family lived in a small alcove and was sheltered by tall pine trees. The reason the goblins did not see the tiny moot in the first place was the small patch of pines.

Stomre's family lived with two other families in the alcove and enjoyed the peace of each others' company in the time of darkness for the Crystal Mountain Moot which was over-run by the goblin hoardes. They staged skirmishes daily to keep the goblins in disorder and to take any needed supplies the goblins carried. On this day however a goblin party made up of two strikers and three scouts tracked the trolls back to their tiny moot and later brought down an ambush to end the trolls' habitation of the alcove. Stomre was now at the age of ten and could hold her own when her brothers tried to gang up on her though she never dreamed she would have to grow up so soon. She first saw the goblins when they attacked and was able to sound an alarm. However, the mature trolls were battle weary and most were slaughtered in such a swift manner Stomre's mother was barely able to grab Stomre and bring her to safety. And as she was closing the chamber Stomre was in, a great amount of the stone wall broke lose, from an explosion, and struck her mother down and knocked the trapdoor down upon Stomre's head.

Stomre managed to open the trapdoor and her nostrils were filled with stench and she quickly became nauseated and vomitted many times before able to continue her way to the outside. The sun had just risen over the horizon when she fianlly made her journey to the outside. There she saw many horrors which made her make cry many a tear. Her mother and father as well as the others had been quartered. Their heads were put up on voulges to be an example of the power of the hoardes.

She took the rest of the day amassing the bodies into a great pile. Then she gathered together a number of supplies she would need for the journey to Nexus. She knew she would find help there, and possibly make her way into a guild so she could get the training she needed to get back at the goblins.

When she was ready to go she lit the bodies afire and made her way up the hill to skirt the rim. She knew the fire would attract attention and maybe her parents would protect her once more as she started her journey. With her family lost, she needed new hope and the journey might give her something to keep her mind off her misfortunes. But one day she would return to the alcove and reclaim her right to grounds which her family lived in for so long. She swore this upon her familie's honor.

Upon arriving in Nexus Stomre quickly found her mark in the fighter's guild. She practiced everyday on the pole weapon, the same which her parents were slayed with. The weapons would be a constant drive and reminder of what the goblins took from her. The training took a good seven years. And not long after she entered to town of Falcion to complete her basics in weaponry did she find another goal in her life. The need to reproduce, to procreate and bring many fine trolls up into the world to populate the land which would be hers one day again. The land which would be free for all trolls to come and live in peace under their own will.

Stomre found the name Drizzlegore to be the possible entity who killed her family. She made friends with a sea sprite named Alura who told her of Zindra and Zindra's ever going struggle to find Drizzlegore. It was Alura who showed Stomre the wonderful scents of honeysuckle and who showed her how to keep herself to be attractive to trolls. Stomre hopes to be part of the sisterhood which Alura is part of as well as her friend Zindra.

And yet in the back of her mind she still has flashbacks of the horrors which overtook her so many years ago. Stomre tried to get away from the world when she goes into one her depression fits. She will sometimes go to great lengths to fight by herself so as not to hurt anyone who might be her friend. She values her friends over anything else, after all, they are her family.

 

Sulak

Class: Fighter
Race: Orc

Looking up from his writing, Sulak notices the tent flap pushed aside by a Rasha'an's hand. His eyes narrow slightly as he looks the thin scribe up and down. Placing the quill back in the ink jar he sprinkles some sand atop his writing to prevent smudging. Rolling up the parchment, he drops some red wax from a candle on the edge, and seals it with the signet of the Ka'ol Rasha. He then hands it to the attendant waiting for the scroll. With a quick wish of fair travels he sends the messenger off. His task at hand completed, he turns to the patiently waiting scribe.

"I suppose you are here to take down my history then?" he asks only slightly annoyed at the interruption in his daily routine. Standing up he motions for the scribe to take a seat. Walking to a desk in the corner of the small tent, he pours two glasses of chilled fruit punch. Returning he hands one cup to the scribe and takes a sip from his other. Leaning against his desk his gaze settles once more on the woman who has come for his interview. Young, she could not have been any older then himself, a mere 20 years of age, prime of life by human standards, well into being middle-aged by orcish. Dressed simply, she hooked a lock of brown hair behind her ear while looking down at her notepad.

Eventually she looks up at him. "I am Breandra, I am the scribe appointed to recording your history. It seems my superiors like having me interview your kind." Grinning to herself she flips open her notepad and gazes up at Sulak, which he patiently returns in kind.

In time Breandra asks, "Well, are you going to start talking, or must I return empty handed? I'm sure those above me would not be happy, and thus, nor would I, so if you would please, start at your leisure." She then places a piece of wood sharpened at the end to the paper and waits.

Muttering to himself, Sulak walks around the desk back to his chair and sits down. "I had thought you usually asked the questions you wanted to know, rather then the vague 'Tell me your life' routine." Leaning back in his chair, he takes a sip of his punch and waits for a reply.

"I found out the hard way it's better to think carefully before questioning someone, you may end up spoiling it all if you don't think before you act. Now, Since you seem to not exactly be the talkative type, I'll ask-you answer. Simple enough." With that she pulls out a separate sheet of paper with some writing on. Noticing Sulak's inquisitive look she quips, "Standard issue questions. Birthplace, parents, name, age, etc. etc...

"So first, your name?"

"Sulak," he evenly replies.

Coolly lifting an eyebrow she asks, "Just Sulak, nothing else?"

"Unless you want my title as well."

"That will be fine."

"Sulak, Knight of the Ka'ol Rasha"

"Thank you," jotting this down she looks up again. "Okay, age?"

"20 years old."

"Place of birth?"

"I wouldn't know."

Startled slightly, her eyes are drawn up from the paper at the orc before. "Why do you say that?" she inquires of him.

"Because I don't know. Simple as that. Can't answer a question I don't know the answer to," taking another draw of his punch, he calmly watches the scribe, wondering at her calm demeanor and seeing if he could rise her ire. A thing he did every now and then with people he just met, a testing of sort, seeing how well a person can control there emotions, in control of yourself lies power, or so Sulak thought.

"Well, if you could explain this to me maybe? Why don't you know your place of origin?"

"I washed up on shore of Falcion maybe 5 years ago. All I had was a piece of paper with writing on it that told me my name, an empty scabbard on my back, and a pouch with a bit of money in it. I shook myself off and walked forward. No clue of my past or what have you, I just went forward." Shrugging to himself Sulak stood once more to refill his cup. Motioning to Breandra to see if she wanted a refill she shook her head and motioned to her still nearly full cup.

"Well then," she said, "I suppose I can rule out knowledge of parents or family members." Quickly writing in her notebook, she suddenly made a vexed sound after a loud snapping noise reached Sulak's ears. Turning to look at her, he saw that the tip of her stick of wood had broken.

"Would you like to use my quill and ink to continue?" he asked her as politely as possible, trying to keep annoyance from being kept from his forms out of his voice. He HAD agreed to do this interview, if grudgingly.

Nodding she accepts gracefully the ink well and the crow feather quill. Applying it to paper once more she continues scribbling notes, this time accompanied by a loud scratching noise of the quill pressing against the paper.

"Well, what drove you to join the ranks of apprentices on Falcion. I'm sure you could have done something else. Surely a life less demanding then this one, or maybe a life more pleasant." Her poise was once more regained. She wouldn't slip again, of that she was positive. So what if this rather tall man seemed to be peeling her skull back with his intense brown eyes. She would not loose her decorum again.

Turning slightly so his side face her, he looked out of a makeshift window of the tent. "I wasn't quite sure of that myself really. I figured maybe I'd have better luck finding out my past by taking part in something that was surely a large part of the future. Besides, I heard of the terror and horror the hoards have brought upon so much of the world. I've done what I can to help ease that some," his eye's crept their way back to hers, and with a grin he added, "That and I love the sword. More then anything I can think of."

Blinking, Breandra bites her lower lip thinking quickly, writes something on her notepad then looks up once more. "What do you mean 'the sword'? And what about it is so great that it is a driving factor in your life?"

Chuckling slightly to himself, a deep rumbling in his baritone chest, Sulak shakes his head as he sits down again. For such a large man, and in a considerably small tent, he paced enough and made quite a good amount of use of the space it did offer. "Well by 'the sword'," the quotes were audible, "I mean, using the sword." Seeing her frown, he shakes his head. "No, no, no. Not for killing or anything like that. Using the sword properly, is like an art form. Watch the goblin blademasters, or even Gryphon. They do things with the sword that are unheard of. It is like a dance when two masters duel, though an often deadly dance. Still, it is beautiful, and using the sword is being one with it, with life. When you are with the sword, you are aware of all. Time slows." With a brilliant light in his eyes, Sulak shrugs as he leans back, slightly perturbed by his failure to articulate well enough the glory of what he felt.

"I practice with the sword daily. Every chance I get when I'm not fighting the hoards with nexus of with the Ka'ol Rasha, or whatever I may have to be occupied with at the time. It is one of the few things in this life that bring me pleasure." Blinking suddenly, as if just realizing he had said so much he took a long swallow from his goblet. Sighing, he leans back in his chair once more and carefully scrutinizes the young woman before him. Head down with a lock of hair fallen forward unnoticed, she furiously worked the quill at the paper, writing all down that she thought would be of need later. Quite an attractive woman.

Shocked by his own thoughts, Sulak shakes his head and takes another deep drag of his punch. Thinking about a woman's looks when he was busy with other matters. A woman who was here merely to record at that! Foolish at best. Berating himself, he calmly waited for her to finish and to ask her next question.

At last nodding her satisfaction she looks up and says lightly, "Maybe I was wrong about you not being the talkative type." Grinning mischievously, she flipped to the next page. "Well, we're on current times now it seems. Aren't you relieved?" the last added as she heard his deep sigh. "What about the Ka'ol Rasha? How did you come to join them and tell me a little bit about a life as a 'Rasha'an'."

Nodding to himself, Sulak started to speak once more. "Well, I heard of Fflarn's attempt to gather warrior who would die to protect others at all costs. Apparently it was a remaking of some old orcish group he had heard of while young or some such, called the Ka'ol Rasha, or Red Shield, though, I'm sure you know this already, considering you interviewed him." Grinning at the quick flash of shock on her face, he decided not to let her know he had asked for her in specific if he was to agree to be interviewed. "As I was saying, I went to him. I considered myself here to defend the people, and if it helped find my past in the process all the merrier. Besides I felt as if I should belong to something more. Something more then just a guild of fighters. Fflarn offered me that chance." Shrugging as if that was just an average, every-day thing, to talk of offering one's self to death on an regular basis.

"But, life as a Rasha'an is hard. It's quite fulfilling, but hard. There is no true command or lead. Ideas are proposed and listened to. Bad ones rejected, good ones accepted and implemented when possible. Of course, there is some, well, "reverence" to those who would be considered the modern "elders" of the Shield." Scoffing to himself to show how much he might have appreciated any of this "reverence" he buried his face in his punch cup.

"And of your future? What do you plan to do from here? Any hopes? Dreams? Wishes? Anything you wish to record for future generations to know?"

"I plan to fight. Until my last breath and until I have saved everyone I can. My hopes and dreams are my own to keep I think, but it is probably fairly obvious I wish to regain my lost past." Leaning forward to emphasize his point, Sulak says in a mild, yet deep and penetrating voice, "As for future generations, study the past. Don't repeat the same mistakes we did. If there will even be a future generation to receive this. By the gods, I hope there will be."

Leaning back once more, he smiles warmly at Breandra, his tusks no longer an unsettling sight to her. "Well, I think that about wraps it up."

Breandra nods agreement and gathers up her things. "Thank you for your time Knight of the Red Shield. We will record your story to the best of our ability. If lucky, we may even post it for others to read in the library." Flashing him a brilliant smile of straight, white teeth, she turns and leaves out the tent flap that was opened by a Rasha'an for her once more.

Sulak was left gazing at the tent flap for quite a while after Breandra's departure. Quite an attractive woman indeed, and smart. Definitely smart. Shaking his head ruefully, he grins at himself and his foolishness to believe that a young girl such as her would ever find interest in an orc like him. Sulak firms himself and gets back to writing placement of troops around the city. With Fflarn absent it seemed as if his workload was doubled. A trouble, but a necessary one that had to be done. In time a squire came in and lit some candles, Sulak never even noticed the difference.

 

Uthar

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

-This large scroll has not been written by Uthar but does not contain the name of its author-

The scroll reads:

Uthar refuses to tell anyone where he was born or the names of his parents, he believes in doing so he would be endangering their home and lives. He also keeps his family name a closely guarded secret. The only item perhaps hinting at his origin is a tarnished silver signet ring, which never leaves his person. What Uthar shares about his history is expressed in a factual and very to the point manner. Uthar has an obvious distrust in complex words. He no doubt understands a large number of complex words perfectly and has an unthinkably quick intellect (Which he generally conceals) considering his race but operates on the pretence that people who use nothing but large words generally seek only to hide their truths, camouflaging them among their lengthy explanations and complicated vocabulary.

Uthar had originally planned to become a Ranger. He had spent his life living outdoors and had no plans to live anywhere else. He understood nature; he experienced nothing but pure reality each and every day. His remarkable ability with blades is obviously due to the unparalleled expertise of the weapon trainers and tutors provided by the Guild of Fighters, of which he belongs. However Uthar believes Nature was his chief tutor. Uthar mimics the actions of great predators and spends a great deal of time examining their behaviour and hunting strategies. Uthar made his decision to join the Fighters guild instead of the Guild of Rangers a single month after he arrived in Falcion.

Uthar trusts very few people, as his contact with others prior to his formal alliance with the good races of Altin was fairly limited. The people he associates with have generally proved themselves to him as true friends, sound logical thinkers, or outstanding tactical warriors. Uthar despises stupidity and ignorance and will mark any man or woman guilty of such things as he feels is appropriate.

Uthar plans to live out the remainder of his live in much the same way as he has thus far. Protecting and learning from nature, and using his abilities to protect the good folk of Altin as he swore to do.

 

Uthril

Class: Fighter
Race: Half-Giant

Some days I wake up and am amazed at my surroundings. A pike in one hand, who knew me to be a fighter? Why, a few years ago when I was merely ten years of age a typical day for me would include exploring a little farther than my mother would wish for me to and climbing trees. During the weeks of festival, singing and dancing reigned at our small mountain hideaway. No night would be complete without a few hours of stargazing before I went to bed. It was one of those nights. The kind that rounds off a perfect day. The twilight was coming down upon us like a languid caress and I had ventured farther than I had ever before. Just then, the wind suddenly became still. I felt my heart sink a bit with no apparent reason. My pulse began to race and I jumped off my stargazing tree and ran home. I came home to find a sinister looking goblin who had come upon our village. He carried no weapons at all and was swarthed in robes of jet black. Suddenly, I saw the earth rip open like a like ripe tomato. A half-giant stood up, missing an arm and walking with one leg too short and a limp. Many more soon arose and I was confused and afraid. What I saw next still wrenches my heart to this day. I drew closer in curiousity to the misfigured man and locked eyes. He was my grandfather! The terror to see a noble man brough to unrest from his grave was almost too much and I fell back. The goblin walked up to him and spit in his face. 'What have we here? A crippled soldier in my army. Frail half-giant bodies can never be resurrected properly. Begone!' and with a wave of his hand, the body collapsed to the floor, wrenching. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me into the darkness of the forest. Upon the top of the highest tree I could find, I looked at my village and saw untrained half-giants fight in vain with tree limbs and rocks. Women screaming and young children being dismembered. I looked past the village and saw my first glimpse of goblins, alchemists, and horrific dragons. It continued and the forest was drawn back as the goblins advanced. Young and afraid, I turned to Lord Erisar. I had no home, I knew it was time for me to join civilization. I walked for many days before coming to a boot upon a great lake. I asked where the toughest of soldiers must train to fight the Goblins and I was pointed towards Kragesh and the Island of Falcion. I have trained myself beyond anything I thought my body could endure. As my training continued, I spoke to Minsc whose words were so true it was frighening. Only when the Peace is restored shall my homeland be restored from the deadly grip of the goblin armies. I shall then go home and retire in peace. Until then, I carry my pike, hoping one day to bring some vengeance upon the killers of my people.

 

Valas

Class: Fighter
Race: Drow

Several years have come and gone since the young Valas stood, with ready blade, among the twenty of his streeahk. They had been sent by the matron of their minor house on a mission of revenge to which they were bound by magic and honour. These faceless men were prepared to administer dark justice upon defilers of a promising wizardress of their house. This would be done in secret as noone knew the other's identity and they were bound to this secrecy by magicks that would ruin their mind should they attempt to administer information of importance.

*****

"udos z'klaen vharcan l'streea d'udossta ilharn" the dark priestess of Kyorl had told the young Valas after these spells had been woven.

Valas, who had been kneeling with hands outstretched before his person, rose as she nodded then said, "ilharess, sil'in vlos orn stain ussta rahi"

The laughter of the dark priestess echoed through the hall as she motioned for her aid to deliver a gift to this precious soldier. He was not only a young man of promise, but her eldest male child. The wizardress servant handed Valas robes of darkleather that were line with strange pouches that contained plates of mithril. Honoured, Valas accepted this gift and was dismissed allowing the next to enter.

*****

As he journeyed to what would likely be his death he thought little of his matron's favour. Now it meant nothing. It was expected that he should die in this battle the same as his companions whos faces he did not even see. All in this streeahk wore enchanted masks of horrible crimson. Knowing nothing of the abilities of his companions, Valas had great concern for the success of his mission. He must draw the blood of many nobles or his death would mean nothing. Having no comfort in the abilities of his companions Valas took comfort in his own. Much training had been offered him and many trials had he overcome, even before his fifty-eighth year. When he took his first steps he was given a rune-crusted dagger of mithril which would be his companion for life. As a child it served as a toy upon which he would cut himself only to be tended to by the house's one healer but as a young man it would serve as a lone companion, a means of expression. Valas expressed his desires with it, embraced it and loved the power that it gave him.

As he dashed with his death-bound companions he touched this same dagger which was sheathed on his forearm, hidden by the sleeve of his robes. Comfort swept over him and his focus was restored, he would exact the revenge that his dark honour demanded.

*****

The group had covered a great distance with impressive speed and set themselves near the compound watching from afar. At the northern gates of the house compound an army of slaves and warriors far greater than Valas had yet seen. The slaves were great in number and were an impressive sight in such a mass. The army seemed prepared to engage another house in battle so it was decided that they should wait untill they leave the city guarded with fewer troops. For three weeks the group waited patiently. They avoided all contact with scouts and vanguards so as to avoid the need to cut them down and alert the enemy of their prescence. In the obvious state of alarm the group had chosen to take no chances. There must be no forewarning of possible assassination strikes. Valas quickly grew tired of hiding in the treacherous terrain of the underdark and waited anxiously that he might end this torture. On the 23rd day of their watch the army marched forward out of the city only hours after the arrival of a prisoner envoy. The time had come, they would now make their move. Silently the twenty males snuck to the southern wall and with grappling hooks and rope climbed up to the battlement.

*****

One of the twenty raised his hand after they ascended to the top of the battlement by use of rope and grapple. With a fiery voice he whispered, "faerl kulggen inbal tlus t'larryo udos z'klaen jresh wund draa d'lil akh."

They understood immediately that to insure maximum penalty was delt to their foes they must split into two groups. Without another word they did so and linked their minds together that they might communicate amongst each other freely. The streets were empty save it be a few unsuspecting guards who who were cut down without disturbance. It was soon discovered that there was a great meeting in a black cathedral that was central to the city. Two of the drow circled the cathedral and scouted several guardsmen which guarded a steel enforced wooden door which was the main entrance. They also found that there was a niche through which they could fit through. The first group saluted their comrades and positioned themselves outside the line of the guardsmen's sight as the second group which included Valas through a hook which secured itself upon the ledge. Valas was the first to climb up and he poked his head in seeing a loft upon which the ten could stand. He watched as the others ascended into position.

*****

Watching from the loft Valas counted an audience of what he thought to be approximately seventy drow. There were some men among them but most were women. As he waited he watched a priestess of great social stature who stood before an alter. She spoke out to the crowd with a powerful voice and held above her a dagger. Upon the alter was a woman who lied naked and dead, victim of vile ritualistic sacrifice. The ten of Valas' group were in position with grapples as a crashing sound of the door raised the alarm of those within the cathedral. The doors burst open and many of the warriors charged out preceeding the descent of the streeahk that had been ready upon the loft. Valas held his dagger between his teeth and grabbed hold of his rope with gloved hands, threw it down and began his descent into the madness of the melee.

*****

As Valas descended the rope his boot met the face of a drow caught off guard. Taking his precious dagger which he held in his teeth he drove the killing blow into his enemy's skull. The ring of swords being drawn was matched by the drawing of his own sword which he wielded in his other hand. There was much opportunity for destruction as it seemed that the finest of the enemy's warriors had charged out of the temple, leaving their high priestess with few guards.

Valas screamed, "ultrinnan t'yin streea" as he parried the blow of a warrioress' blade and spun around plunging his dagger into her back. His dagger struck hard and pierced her ribs and cut into her heart killing her.

Freed from his opponent he jumped upon a pew and examined his situation. The sturdy door was already captured and barricaded by several weapons. It had cost one of his companions his life. His corpse lied dead on the stone floor with several arrows stuck into his chest. The eight others had seen great success and were standing in the midst of several corpses. Finally his gaze turned to the the priestess. She stood before the alter waiting, her face cool and extremely calm. She watched as her soldiers were overcome by the force of the interlopers.

To his surprise the wind was knocked from Valas' lungs as an enemy lunged at him throwing him forward. She landed with a harsh crack as her face slammed against the back of the pew knocking her to the floor in a heap but Valas was quicker and managed to twist in the air, his shoulder striking the beautiful hardwood bench. Immediately an new enemy was upon him wielding a massive axe. Rolling off of the seat of the bench and under the pew ahead of him he narrowly escaped a killing blow from the axe which splintered the wood. These splinters cut Valas' face but did not sway his focus. He swung his foot out and kicked the feet from under his opponent then rose with great speed delivering a harsh blow to her shoulder. Her life ended having been given the honour of reading the runes of Valas' dagger as he shoved it through her eye.

All that remained were four others and their attention was focused now upon the priestess who had watched as her servants were slain. Valas turned away momentarily as a loud crashing sound echoed through the temple with deafening sound. He then turned back to his friends inclining his head with a nod then sneered at the priestess. Her response was to pull a venomous dagger from a sheath on her belt and begin her walk forward to engage the five. Valas, awed by this display of valour raised his blade in a salute and led the charge.

The priestess parried the first strike of Valas and landed her foot in his mid-section. Her balance shifted as she spun around connecting her fist with the face of another while sweeping her free and cutting another across the throat. A sword was driven through her side and she screamed out smashing Valas once more with her fist swung so fast it seemed a blur and without pause she drove her dagger into the heart of yet another of his companions. Valas seeing her back exposed shoved the point of his sword through her neck severing the head.

In the fury of the melee Valas did not notice that the banging had ceased. All was silent as Valas removed his mask and looked into the unmasked face of the last of his brothers in arms. A smile creased the face of his friend as he raised his hand showing a small cut from the dagger. Within moments he too fell to the floor cold and dead.

*****

As he approached the alter he beheld for the first time the woman that lied dead upon it. It was his matron and mother lying naked thereon. She had suffered the final humilation of being a sacrifice to the demon. Without care for his life he took time and honoured his house matron by dressing her naked body with the blood of the priestess who had sacrificed her.

*****

It had been so long.. Why had noone come?

Inching towards the door Valas listened carefully. The reason noone had come was clear and the clangs of steel upon steel. He heard the screams of kobolds and drow battle cries and sang as music to his ears. No longer was he bound by his promise, he had done enough and his matron was dead upon an alter which he had stood with reverence before. Taking the rope he climbed up onto the loft where he made his escape out the window from where he came. On the streets slaves were fighting their masters and Valas escaped by scaling the south wall.

Having achieved his escape in the confusion, he left immediately to the city where he sold his service as a mercenary to a group of underground merchants. Rumour had drawn him to this group because of rumours of their dealings with surface dwellers. They were accurate and Valas left them not long after to travel to the city of Nexus.

For less then a year Valas wandered the surface wondering. He escaped death so narrowly and truly felt that there was reason he was spared. When he first entered the city of Falcion he mumbled under his breath, "usstan z'klaen inbal tlus tai'luen whol natha sanrr"

That assertion still echos through this warriors mind today. The mystery he seeks even still.

 

Veryn

Class: Fighter
Race: Unknown

The sun shines on the little secluded valley by its inhabitants named the Valley of Valor. Birds sing and diffrent animals run around. Human children run in the woods of the valley playing with the animals and enjoying the day. Suddenly a great shadow goes over the valley. The children run towards the Keep. They all knew what it was, A red dragon. They had heard the stories of the two previous ones who had found their valley.

A great battle ensued with the keep's defenders rushing out to slay the dragon or atleast keep it from attacking the children. The dragon who had decided to scorch the valley did not get far in his job before the troops arrived. All the children had fled to the keep but one. Young Veryn age nine saw the whole battle from away. His interest was foremost his father who was fighting. But Veryn fell in love with the beautiful and fierce creature as he looked at it. Thoughts of respect and power filled his head. Already sure that he would be what his father always referred to as, "Us grunts" Veryn know knew he had to work hard to be as powerful and respected as the dragon. The last red dragon that had come was slain by a party where Veryn's grandfather served. And so he was extreamly proud of seeing his own father do the same feat. And what was most impressive was that no matter how many spells the mages cast or how much the archers shot the dragon cast healing spells and continued to attack. The clerics kept the group alive but they weren't sure for how long they would be able to do so. And then tragedy struck. The baron of the keep's nephew was hit with the dragon's large claw right through the armor and into the heart slaying him immediately. The entire group was shocked and stood still for a small while, All but one. Veryn's father now had his chance he ran as fast has he could and thrust his sword up the belly of the dragon hitting between the scales he destroyed some vital organs and with a lethal blow slew the dragon.

Veryn was happy but sad. The slain hero was his old sword teacher and a very loved man. After the dragon's death the corpse of Illoran (which was the name of the man) was burnt and the baron threw a celebration in his honor. During this feast Veryn's father spoke to all. He asked that people not refer to him as a hero, for he had failed to kill the dragon without losses. He explained to the people that it sadly and luckily was the slaying of Illoran that gave him the oppurtunity to slay the dragon and that Illoran deserved the praises. For this noble deed Veryn's father was promoted to Captain of the Honor Guard. And against his wishes celebrated even more (Ah the rough life of a hero). Veryn was after all this a very split person. He was moved up two classes in the fighters school, not because his father was a captain but because he was so skilled. Reason he was not moved up more was because his father actually taught his current class in many things.

Veryn also learned from scribes the origin of the valley name. According to their history the humans who now inhabited this place had decended from the cliffs upon a Gnoll Stronghold and crushed them in battle. During the battle so many deeds of valor were done the conquerors had no other name to call it.

As the years passed the Keep fell into grief the baron's son died. Slain by a wolf in his sleep. The baron after this went mad. Some say he threw his wife out of the window but to the public it was treated like suicide. The baron became a cruel man. Taxing the few peasants high he tortured them if they didn't pay. Even the citizens of the keep felt the touch of his iron hand.

Then one day Veryn and his father walked into the throne room just to see the baron cutting the head off his own brother. Veryn's father drew his sword and engaged the baron. Clearly the baron was mad. But the baron was a good swordsman and the fight was even. Then Veryn drew his dagger and in a swift stab put it in the throat of the baron. That night they left the keep claiming that the keep was filled with too much blood. Most of the citizens did leave towards a city named Nexus. The ones who stayed were probably slain since the ones who migrated saw the keep burst into flames from a distance. On the way towards Nexus Veryn was sent towards the island of Falcion with others to complete their training. Veryn's father two days after arriving in Nexus wandered into a clearing east of the city and was slain by a druid who thought it was another Thief or Barbarian come to prey on his kin.

For this Veryn resents Druids much. One could say he despised them so much they would probably not live in his sight if he didn't have the duty to Nexus to stop him.

 

Wolf-biter

Class: Fighter
Race: Ogre

As a young ogre, I spent many of my days wandering the foothills at the base of the Crystal Mountains alone. This particular day I’d returned to watch some of the wild animals that also called the hills home. A female wolf had taken up home in one of the burrows along the hill, and was teaching her pups the way of chasing rabbits. The small cubs seemed playful, and I thought as I watched them, I’d go join the frolicing in the soft turf. I had never been near wolves before, and much to my surprise, the mother was not happy to have this huge ogre amonst her cubs. She layed into me with fang and claw and I grabbed at her while she snapped at my hands and arms. We fell over in a pile, fur and ogre hair flying, I did the only thing I could think of, and sunk my own teeth into her tail. Perhaps a taste of her own treatment would even the score. The wolf yelped and released the hold on me, leaping away and glaring back. She charged again, fangs flashing and took hold of my arm, near the bicep. The front claws flailed at my face, I pounded at her with my fists, but she wouldn’t let go of the arm. A paw slashed near my chin, and I grabbed it, gnarling I bit down hard near her leg joint. This time, she let go for good, and ran to the burrow, her pups in tow.

When I returned to the village, my ogre-mum asked why I was torn and bleeding so. When I finished my tail, she laughed and sayd, "Thats my little ogre...he’s a wolf-biter." After that everyone in the village started calling me Wolf-biter.

As I grew older, I noticed our village would bring back smaller things that looked near like ogres to eat. I learned they were called elfers. Some of them were bigger, and had nasty tasting fur, and others were very small, not even a meal. I didn’t think much of it until one was brought back alive. I was told to kill it, and skin it for supper. When I took the elfer behind our shelter, to kill it, it talked to me. It said, "Please don’t do this, we are a peaceful people. Similar to you ogres, and I have a small boy and girl just like you.... please let me go..." I felt sorry for the little elfer..and realized we were doing bad things by hunting them. I let the elfer go, and when the rest of the tribe found out, they tried to kill me. I ran and ran, and only got away by diving into the river.

I woke up on a beach, and could only see water for a long ways. I smashed one of the crabs on the beach to eat, since I was hungry. Later, I wandered down the beach, and ran into some others, they looked like elfers, but when I called them that they sayd they were hhhmans. *shrug* They looked like elfers to me, they were bound for a place called Falcion, and invited me to come with. There I learned I was well suited with a club, and began studying the arts of a fighter. The trainer was hard on me, he’d make me walk on logs, pick up heavy stones, eat terrible tasting things, onece he even made me sit with the priest for a few hours. (It seemed like a big waste of time.)

Eventually, I ended up in Nexus, and had many adventures with the elfers there. I even learned the difference between elfers and hhmans and renis. One winter evening, I saw some mouses near the town square, they looked all cold and sickly. I dropped some bread for them, and soon one of them climbed up my arm and rested on my shoulder, nuzzling my ear. His whiskers tickled, and when I set him down..he climbed right back up. I guess he liked me. He became my best friend, and would talk to me in his squeeky micer voice. His name was Cheesehead.....I can tell you about him some other time....but he was a brave micer to the end.

Mages

Most of these histories were taken first hand while the Hero still lived. Doubtless all are long dead by now.

Ailan

Class: Mage
Race: Unknown

Ailan was not born of normal parents, like most elves. He was born of the Elven magicks, and of the land. One day, a group of Elven sorcerers known as the Druyin gathered together. They would attempt something never accomplished before.

First, they made an elven figure out of mud and wood. Then, calling on their own magicks they tried to bring life to this figure. The first two attempts were fruitless. On the third try, they called on the magicks of the lost god of chaos, Novind. Novind was long since gone, but his magicks still had life in the realms. This third attempt was successful. The figure rose and they named him Ailan, elven for "son of magic".

Ailan lived with the Druyin for 5 years, learning the ways of the sorcerers, and learning his own strengths and weaknesses. He also learned how to gather and hunt for food, and everything else that would be needed for a solitary lifestyle. He was very successful in casting spells, because of his own internal magic. He was also very intelligent, and learned quickly.

Then, on a day exactly 5 years from his creation, the Druyin told Ailan of his charge. (The Druyin were also very able seers, and had seen the future of Ailan.) He was to travel to the Nexus and assist the rest of the races in vanquishing the goblins, and banishing them from the Nexus forever.

Ailan set off for the Nexus. Carrying only a single pack of supplies, he left the Elven homeland. His journey was not an easy one. He set sail, for some of the Elves had taken refuge on an island during the Great War. This island lies across an unnamed sea, far west of the Nexus. Ailan was travelling unmapped territory, but his magic and the stars guided him toward his destination. He fought many vile creatures along the way, and luckily the magic kept him thriving.

Finally, after an exhaustingly long journey that took almost two years, Ailan arrived in the Nexus. People were suspicious of him at first. His skin color was a darker brown than most of the elves. But the people of the Nexus were kind, and finally took him in. To this day, Ailan still fights the goblin hoardes in defense of the Nexus.

 

Allanon

Class: Mage
Race: Sprite

A small, dark figure levitated in front of the Library. He was about 4-6 inches tall, and all his features were covered by his dark, black robes. He slowly floated towards the door and opened it. Inside, a Reni Scribe quickly ran over to the door, allowing him inside.

"Hello, I have heard that the Scribes wish to have the histories of all the adventurers in the city. Is this correct?" The Reni Scribe looked at the small, floating figure and nodded.

"I will allow my history to be revealed then. I have been recently been getting asked by many people about my past, and I'd rather them read it, then me telling it over and over." The small, dark figure raised his hands to his hood. These small, blue hands pushed the hood back. A small, blue face now looked at the Reni Scribe. The Sprite's hair was amber, but many different shades of color was in his hair. "My name is Allanon."

The Reni Scribe quickly guided Allanon into a small room filled with scrolls, pens, and other tools used by the busy Scribes. Allanon floated over to a seat near the window and sat down quietly. The Reni Scribe quickly rushed over to a desk and pulled out a scroll, pen, and ink jar.

Unrolling part of the parchment, the Scribe said, "Tell me of your early years." Allanon nodded and a sadness could be seen in his eyes.

"My family lived in a small Sprite village near the Mushroom Ring. All our houses were in trees, so we weren't easily spotted." Allanon paused for a second. "I had two great parents. My father was like a Mage, able to cast spells to help our community. He had only learned the spells from the First Tier."

"My mother was the kindest person I knew. She was very good to me, and every other person in the town." Allanon's eyes now showed deep sadness. "This happiness didn't last long. When I was about ten years old, a group of drunken Ogres happened upon our village. Not being able to climb the trees that our houses were in, they just pushed them down. Many people didn't survive to fight. Most of them died when their houses came down."

"A small group of Sprites survived. Among these Sprites was my father, mother, and me. My parents hid me near a fallen tree, so I wouldn't be spotted by the Ogres. My community fought bravely. The Ogres out numbered us by size, strength, and number. The remaining Adults fought for hours. The Ogres quickly killed or captured any Sprites that survived the first battle."

"My parents were among the captured. The Ogres marched south west from our village, and I followed them. I hid in the trees, looking down on them when they marched. At night time, I spied on their camp while they were hiding. What I saw still gives me sadness..." Allanon looked out the window. "My parents were each held by and Ogre, their wings in the Ogres hand. They pulled the wings off of my parents, and then threw them to the ground. They did this to all the Sprites, and left them on the ground to suffer and die."

"The Ogres left right after that incident. I quickly gathered a type of berries from the surrounding bushes. The berries I got were nicknamed "Death Berries" by our community. They are extremely poisonous and one berry can kill a Half-Giant. I gave them to each of the tortured Sprites, and they ate them. They quickly died, and didn't have to suffer anymore. I saddly watched as my parents at the berries and died." Allanon wiped a tear from his eyes, not looking towards the Reni Scribe.

"The next morning I buried all of the Sprites that had died, and prayed over each body. After I finished burying the last Sprite, I collected some food, clothes, and anything else that I needed from my house. I then walked away from the Mushroom Ring, and south into the Eldane Forest."

"Many weeks after that evil day, I met a large human near a cottage. He wore red robes, and wore the sign of Pandora. I was fascinated by his skills in magic, and he offered to teach me some basic spells. I agreed, and studied until I learned them all. The mage, who's name I never learned, gave me blue Mage robes, and led me to his city, Nexus."

The Reni Scribe ran out of ink, and quickly ran over to the other side of the room, and hurried back with another ink jar.

"I never made any friends at first, because I was still sad and full of hate from the death of my parents. I quickly learned any new spells I recieved, and rose in power. When I was allowed to chose a god to follow, I chose Kyorl, Lord of Greed. I followed him, because I felt hatred to everyone. I still haven't gotten over the death of my parents, but have gotten friends."

"Recently, I have left Kyorl's church and am one of the False. I don't approve of hatred anymore, and am sickened by Kyorl's ways. I am working on getting my aura blue, so I may follow the path of enlightment. I wish to follow Pandora, but I cannot because I am of the False. However I will live my life following her beliefs and devoting myself to aiding those in need and without hope."

The Reni Scribe quickly finished writing down what Allanon had told him, and thanked him. Allanon levitated off the chair and floated towards the door. He pulled his hood back over his head, and walked outside into the cold and dreary night.

 

Ambrosius

Class: Mage
Race: Unknown

The creature's hands wove a strange pattern, his grotesque jaws moving in incantation, and the Wizard hurriedly threw up a shield, bracing for impact, as he was suddenly buffeted by the powerful magicks of the demon's spell. The sheer force of the attack threw him backwards, and pain bloomed in his shoulder as he landed on a jagged rock. When his head cleared, he looked up. The demon, apparently satisfied that its opponent was no longer a threat, had resumed the ritual.

It was in the center of the stone circle, its hideous form towering over the granite slab of the altar where a young girl, drugged and unconcious, lay chained. The beast was saying something. Lightning flashed in unsettling syncopation with its chant, throwing grim shadows on the monolithic stones, briefly revealing the crumpled and bloody forms of the deluded druids who had thought to summon the spawn of Hell. The creature lifted its sword high in the flickering light of its accompaniment, almost constant now as ritual hit its climax... The blade erupted in blue flame, falling harmlessly to the ground as the creature's anguished shriek cut the air.

"I'm not dead yet, child of Satan." The wizard slowly, painfully, stood. "And you'll not summon your Master while I still live."

The demon howled, and lightning struck, sizzling inneffectually against the wizard's renewed defense. He gestured, and there was a thunderous boom of displaced air around the creature.

The demon sneered. "I have made this world mine own, pitiful mortal. You cannot banish ME!" It laughed in malicious glee as the wizard's face fell.

The laughter suddenly stopped. The girl, now awake, was struggling wildly against her bonds. The demon looked down at her in sudden recognition. It's red eyes gleamed slyly. "But I, with your blood, can now banish YOU."

The wizard blinked, not understanding. But as the demon smiled at the girl, realization hit him with all the force of divine fury. He furiously gathered all his power in an attempt to stop what he most feared. He was too late. In the blink of an eye, the demon's hand struck downwards, imbedding in the girl's chest.

The wizard screamed. "NOOOOOOOOOO!"

Just as quickly, the demon's arm ripped free. The girl convulsed, and the light went out of her eyes, the vision of the unholy creature holding her still-beating heart aloft having been the last thing she saw. The demon smirked, licked its lips, and, as the wizard unleashed his fury, swallowed the heart whole.

Anybody who lived within a hundred miles of that enclosure would tell of a huge explosion that lit the sky and shook the earth that night, obliterating most of the great Sylvan forest, and yet, as rock, earth, tree, even the very air disintegrated around it, the demon merely smiled, completely untouched, and unperturbed. Finally, after an eternity of a few minutes, the wizard collapsed, spent.

Though nearly unconsious, the wizard, his face wet with tears, sobbed. "Nimue... Dear Nimue... my sister... go with God."

The demon laughed hysterically. "Oh, I sincerely doubt it. Her soul belongs to Satan." At this, the demon was once again consumed by spasms of mirthful laughter. When it recovered, its voice oozed with evil glee. "And the best part is, SHE'S given me the power to defeat you!"

In triumph, the demon began to chant in a strange mixture of tongues both familiar and un. Too weak to do anything, or even to care, the wizard merely lay there, and closed his eyes.

The demon finally finished, with a flourish. "...and so, BEGONE!"

There was a flash of light, and then nothingness.

* * *

The wizard awoke to find himself in a square, lying on the steps of a great building. It was dusk, and brilliant orange sunlight blanketed the strange and yet beautiful town. Birds chirped on the eaves of the pillared hall, rejoicing in their simple life. And, almost unwillingly, he smiled. In the distance he could see the glimmering spray of a fountain, and beyond that, what looked like an inn. He stood up, despite the protestations of his sore limbs, intent on a hot meal and mug of warm ale. As he started towards the inn, voices, drifting on the cool summer breeze caught his attention, and he looked in their direction. A group of men and women, obviously dressed for battle, but just as clearly not belonging to any army, stood off to his left. His first instinct was to be alarmed, but he soon realized from their jovial laughter and banter that these people were not dangerous, at least not to him. The group started heading East, but one man broke away and came in his direction.

The man's appearance was decidedly barbaric. He was of average height but enormous build. Muscles bulged from every part of his body, easily visible through his leather armor. He held a large spiked club over his shoulder, but not threateningly. He smiled through his bushy brown beard. "Greetings, friend. I see that you're a stranger in our land. Is there anything I can help you with?" He held out his hand. "My name is Beowulf."

The wizard took the outstretched hand and shook it.

The barbarian grinned. "Nice to meet you, what's your name?"

The wizard wracked his brain. What was his name? How had he gotten here? It had all seemed so clear a moment before. An image flashed through his mind: A pulsing, bloody heart held in the gnarled fingers of a daemonic beast, the imploring look in his sister's eyes as she took her last breath. Despair overtook him, he was lost in a void of undying shame. Then, from the depths, another vision appeared: people cheering as the king rewarded him for the good deeds he had done, the pride his sister had felt, the vow he had taken to uphold justice and protect his people. He suddenly remembered all that he had stood for. What he STILL stood for. Iron resolve was born in him, and he DID remember his name. He clung to it as if it were driftwood in the roiling sea. He had rediscovered his pride.

He smiled at his new friend. "My name is Ambrosius."

 

Anwer

Class: Mage
Race: Half Elf

Anwer had a rough life, He was born with a Drow father and a Human mother which of course created a problem. His family could not reside in the vein as the Drow would never approve of such a family and they would probably all be killed. Anwer's father therefore took his family to a small city he had heard of.

The city was originaly named Sadrach's Keep after an orcish warlord, but a human hero named Garren had liberated it one thousand years ago and made it a place for elves and humans. The city had all kinds of mixes of elves and humans so the Drow father was welcomed and his family taken care of well. This though was not until after Anwer had felt people's stares, everyone screamed at them on the road and people attacked his father. Luckily for Anwer his father was a trained Drow warrior and could take care of the attackers preferably before anyone died, mostly disarming them. His mother, after Anwer's birth, was always weak and sick and never did much around the house, Cause of this Anwer grew up feeling strongly for his father who could do so much and adored his father's heritage, never denying his past.

Anwer's talent for magick was quickly noticed by his father who as a Drow warrior was quite adept at the arts himself, But he noticed Anwer had skill that could be far greater than his. Sadly the father also realized his son was no great fighter with a sword. But it wasn't too much of a deal for the father since in Drow civilization powerful magi are as respected as the fighters.

At the age of eleven Anwer met a half-elf named Darkiln. They met through the keep's mage tower where they both studied under an old elven wizard. They soon put their skill to use in pranks and such and were a real menace for the rest of the citizen's. Darkiln, who was close to a year older, was always the leader and acted very eagerly. His father was a mage and Darkiln often told stories of a far away city named Nexus where his father had served. Darkiln's father wasn't the smartest man though and took a loan to buy his son a robe. The loan couldn't be paid and the man who lent him the money demanded either Darkiln's life or the fathers work for fifty years. For an elf this is nothing big but Darkiln wasn't an elf and his father would be stuck for a long time. This helped the friends to get closer since Darkiln's father was away alot working. Anwer's and Darkiln's favorite joke was to cast vigor on the chickens the near sighted butcher tried to kill. He couldn't see well so he just cut them and let them bleed to death. This though didn't work when two little brats were casting Vigor on it and he started screaming and throwing chickens.

The mages kept their families living close to the keep so that they could study in the tower and therefore the part closest to the keep was named wizard walk. When the two young mages heard of the spell in Nexus they had quite the laugh. This area was also the scene of the biggest fights since the mages where honorable and kept any criminals out of the keep. With Darkiln's father working for a criminal this was all shattered and the keep was easily infested with thieves and such. At this point mages tried to battle the crimelords but could not destroy them all. In the end they had to accept that crime was a part of the town and now also the inner keep. One day the watchmen spotted a Dragon. Nobody had seen such a creature before and many amazed at its beauty and power. Anwer and Darkiln especially fell in love with the creature. The dragon was a white one and tales from faraway told of their neutrality. The citizens dared not ask it for fear of it being one of the evil ones. Anwer and Darkiln immediately took it upon themselves to meet with the dragon and prepared for this. Sadly to their terror the Dragon was scared away by a band of Goblins lost in the woods. The city defenders swiftly dispatched these but Anwer and Darkiln grieved that day for the rest of their lives. Darkiln soon knew the truth of his father and decided to go to Nexus and train to be a better mage. He swore that when he became a Arch-Wizard he would come back and save his father. In the beginning this was just talk but Darkiln was soon making plans for his trip. Then one night he left, leaving his father, his friends and everyone else behind. Anwer continued life in the city but his attitude changed from a happy and loving individual he became resentful and angry. His mother had died two weeks before Darkiln's departure and it was said her only influence over Anwer was her kindness and love. The father being Drow didn't really strive to achieve this and took more honor and fear to him. It did work for him since he had risen to the rank of Captain in the keep guard. Anwer got into trouble more often and not anymore little pranks but real trouble he even stole from a rich nobleman to buy himself a new robe. At this point his father put an end to his son's behavior, theft was dishonorable. Anwer no longer fit in and his father told him to seek up Darkiln. Even if his father didn't like it he had to admit Anwer and Darkiln were sort of loners who only could function together. Without Darkiln around his son got into too much trouble. So Anwer made plans for his own trip to Nexus. Anwer never did leave for the city. Two days before an elven boy who had left for the city a while back returned, a large feast was held and the boy was put into the spotlight. When asked what he had seen he told everyone he was sent to the island of Falcion where he trained and where he had met Darkiln. After hearing this Anwer changed his plans, he needed to go to Falcion. When asked what he had been trained as the boy answered proudly that he was a ranger. Anwer asked the boy if he could get a map to the city of Falcion. Ten days later the Ranger gave him one to a small city that he said had a way which led to Falcion but was very secretive, and said to Anwer to watch it since the goblins were quite the enemy when you are alone. And so Anwer set off from his home city on route for Falcion the City of Apprenticeship.

Anwer started his journey one sunny afternoon. He walked a long way and finally rested in the evening finding a nice little clearing where he slept. In the middle of the night he was awakened by an angry little sprite who told him he was in their home. Anwer quickly moved seeing that the sprites where quite angry and walked around in the night a long time until he started sleeping under a tree. Just when the sun came up Anwer woke up a second time hearing noises, He found to his fear that he was sleeping ten feet from a Goblin camp and that they hadn't spotted him yet.

Scared to death Anwer quickly sneaked away and from that day he never slept on the ground again but always in a tree (Unless he is in a city). The days after were nothing special Anwer walked in the woods and met different creatures and learned many lessons. One day when he was walking he saw a Raven fly in the sky and as he looked at it while walking he didn't even notice he walked off a cliff. Luckily for him it wasn't a large drop but he rolled quite a bit and when he regained consciousness found his robe all torn and his food smashed to pieces and animals eating the leftovers. Anwer struggled in the forest cursing for a few hours until he ran into a Goblin Battlewizard. Anwer once more had the luck not to be spotted and he waited until the wizard went to sleep. Knowing this was his chance he snuck by him and when he was almost in the clear he realized the Battlewizard was at his mercy and walked over to him. He lifted up a rock and smashed the Goblin's head five times. For the first time in Anwer's life he had killed something that wasn't an animal but a real intelligent life form. Anwer quickly stole the robe and fled the scene spending that night thinking of his deed. Anwer soon got over it maybe because he had some Drow in him but he after a while didn't care. So one day he stumbled upon a party of elves. Anwer's peculiar look made them suspicious and they captured him and put him in a large sack. The elves were from the city Talmet, a city quite close to Nexus. The elves presented the prisoner to their elders who luckily had met a Half-Drow before and explained the matter. The elves where still suspicious but the elders told them that any drow that wished to "mate" with a non-drow can't be evil. Of course there are other solutions to the whole thing but Anwer quickly noted that if anyone even hinted rape about his mother he would kill them. The elves took this for a sign of love instead of a threat and openly apologized to Anwer who confused got help to pack some food and got a new robe, and was escorted to the city of Rymek.

In Rymek Anwer got the same weird looks from his childhood and quickly asked for the way out of the city. Getting the answer that there's always the boat to Falcion he was overjoyed. Finally setting foot on Falcion after many glares and frowns from the sloopmaster Anwer set out to find Darkiln.

Anwer didn't get far for when he entered the town center placed by a Fountain he saw a mage standing talking to some other people from three or four different races. Anwer approached him and looks at him a while and asked "Darkiln?" the mage turned and screamed "Anwer!" and the reunion was a fact.

Darkiln filled Anwer in on the guild and the island rules. At the word rules they both frowned and laughed a little, Anwer was a little behind in the magic area and Darkiln told him to become his apprentice that way he could teach him alot about spells and such that he couldn't learn until he came to Nexus. So the friend's became mentor/apprentice instead obviously putting a strain on the friendship they still remained friends. Anwer took the little island to heart and decided to stay there keeping training at a low, Darkiln on the other hand had a goal and trained on and on. After Darkiln's tragic death at the hands of the executioner for treason, Anwer lived in deep grief not wanting to believe his friend had committed treason. He followed the idea of the law being corrupt as blindly as a Cleric can follow his god. After a short while Anwer began training again and left the island which he thought had changed so much he didn't want anything to do with it anymore. Anwer is now training to achieve the tiers his friend and mentor did and also go past that accomplishment and come back to home as an Arch-Wizard.

 

Ariel

Class: Mage
Race: Human

Ariel sat in the Library, facing one of the Renis scribes, her eyes clouded as memories long suppressed came flooding back. "Yes" she said. Attempting a gentle smile at the scribe, "I will tell you of my family, of my journey to Nexus, but please bear with me. This is the first time I've spoken to it in depth to anyone."

"My parents, Aldara the Mage, and Zephinus the Cleric, were both from minor noble houses in the City of Anubis. They were both Followers of our Lady of Hope and had known each other since childhood. Their love blossomed against the disapproval of their families, whose political aspirations decreed that each should marry into stronger, wealthier families. They were kept apart during their youth but their telepathic abilities could not be controlled and so they stayed close, "talking" to each other constantly, not one thought concealed from the other. As my mother grew into young adulthood her need to be with my father became uncontrollable and she threatened to run away, to disgrace her family, to let the other noble houses know of her oppression. Eventually her family agreed to the marriage but refused her a dowry. My father cut off all contact with his family in order to marry Aldara and the wedding was held quietly, with no guests, in the family shrine.

"Neither of them wanted to stay in the City, disillusioned as they were by the political manoeuvring and backstabbing, the constant attempts for supremacy by the various noble houses of Anubis and so they left, finding the small village of Tar'ned at the foot of the Crystal Mountains. They used most of their gold to build a house in which to bring up the family they so dearly wanted. They settled into the life of the village, my father healing both the villagers and their animals; my mother teaching them basic hygiene, helping them to build barns to house their animals so they were no longer kept in the villagers' cottages; educating their children, always keeping an eye open for any signs of special talent that might be encouraged. They would both be called away occasionally to meetings of their respective Guilds, or to help beat back another Goblin invasion.

"As the years passed, they had three children, myself, my brother Algernon (who, as he grew, retained the only version of his name he could manage as a baby - Allanon), and Arianne who showed a distinct talent as a cleric whilst Algernon and I were to be sent to the nearest branch, in Anubis, of the Mages' Guild.

"We were a happy family, growing up surrounded by love and by frequent hugs and cuddles, secure within that love and within the respect and love of our villagers. There were only two problems to mar our childhood, but they were major ones. Genga, the local warlord, had always levied a tithe on the towns and villages under his protection but these tithes increased over the years, leaving my parents and our villagers on the verge of poverty. We always had enough to eat, though, which was more than many people had in those days. The other problem was the increasing number of goblin invasions and word of the destruction of many towns and villages began to filter through to us. We had been fortunate thus far though. Genga, his warriors and his bands of hired mercenaries, had managed to keep them away from us but we all knew we lived on borrowed time. A fact we didn't become aware of until much later was that Genga had hired himself a mage, a GOBLIN mage, presumably to have a foot in the goblin camp should they ever succeed in overwhelming the Realms entirely.

"One of the highlights of my childhood was my 14th birthday, the birthday on which my parents gave each of us a family signet ring - a black adamantine stone, with a copper dragon inset in the stone and with our names inscribed inside the circle of gold. My father started to tell us of the history of that ring, drawing us close within the warmth of his voice. He told us of Dal'nar Anubis, his ancestor and founder, centuries earlier, of the House of Anubis; of how, during an early goblin invasion, he went high into the Crystal Mountains in search of dragons; of how he found a group of copper dragons and, after much eloquent pleading, persuaded them to let Cypfria, the youngest and least needed of them, to join him in battle. With the help of Cypfria the tides were turned and that particular battle was won. Dal'nar was awarded for his bravery and was given much land and the City was renamed Anubis, in his honour. The House of Anubis continued to flourish, as did the friendship between Dal'nar and Cypfria, though after Dal'nar's death her visits declined and eventually stopped and the power of the family slowly, over many many years, started to decline. Political machination became a way of life as my father's family struggled to maintain their fast dwindling power until, eventually, all that was left was the idea of power, not the reality, and the House and City of Anubis were once again regarded as of no real import in the doings of the Realms.

* * * * * * * * * *

"I couldn't know, on that 14th birthday, that I had only two years left with my family. During the year I was 16 I was allowed, for the first time, to accompany my father into Anubis, where a meeting of the local Guild of Clerics had been called. We stopped overnight in Starrlinden, a small town slightly less than a day's journey from my village, taking the ferry the next day in order to continue our journey. We arrived in Anubis late that day, staying with a fellow Cleric, a friend of my father's."

Ariel stands and walks to one of the embrasures, looking out over the Library garden, not wanting to turn back to face the scribe as she started, slowly at first, to continue her story, her voice no more than a whisper.

"I was taken around the City the next day, spoiled and showered with gifts by our host's wife and her family. That night, however, my father was quiet and withdrawn, a constant frown on his face, and our visit was cut short. We set off early the next morning to return to Tar'ned. He was quiet and withdrawn on that journey too. My chatter obviously annoyed him so those two days spent on the road with him were quiet and tense. I could get nothing from him except that the goblins were massing again, more powerful than ever, and that the future looked bleak. But he would tell me nothing more than that.

"There was no sign of activity in the fields as we neared the village but that didn't disturb us too much as it was late in the afternoon and the villagers would have returned to their homes. However, the first few houses we passed were empty, their doors wide open. I looked at my father, fear in my eyes. "Goblins?" "Perhaps", he said", "but there is another possibility" He would tell me no more though."

Ariel sighs deeply, still facing out towards the gardens, not seeing them, her eyes far away, full of horror and pain.

"My father would not let me go with him any further into the village but went on his own, into a horror that's stayed with me ever since. I waited for his return An hour?. Two hours? Eventually I could bear it no more and slowly made my way to the village green. What I saw there is as real to me now as if I were still standing there. The green was full of the slain bodies of our villagers, every last one laying in straight, tidy lines, all facing towards the Village Hall, their eyes fixed in death on the last thing they saw in life ... the body of my mother, Aldara the Mage, nailed to the door of the small Hall, her hands cut off at the wrists, the only sign of life being the sun glinting on her wonderful red hair.

"My father knelt before her, keening, wailing his loss to the Gods, his mind having fled as the loss of his love, his life, cut deeply into him.

"As I watched, too numb to do anything, I saw my father take a knife from his backpack and ..."

Ariel closes her eyes for a moment, her voice stumbling slightly as she continues.

" ... used it to slice deeply into his wrists; watched him fall to his knees before my mother as his life flowed from him; watched as he died before my eyes with me too frozen, too numb to do anything. That was the moment, I think, that the red hair we had all inherited from my mother turned to the white you see before you now.

"And, to my shame, when the use of my limbs was restored to me, I fled. I ran. I left the people I loved most in all the world unburied and unhonoured. I didn't stay to look for my brother or for my sister. I just ran. Ran until I was exhausted and collapsed. I wandered for days, staying away from people, avoiding towns and villages, not caring if I lived or died. Eventually the natural healing processes took over and I started to feel stronger, to look to the future. I decided to make my way to the City of Nexus, to enter the Mages' Guild if they would have me, to honour my parents in the only way left to me, by becoming as powerful and strong a Mage as I could.

"I stole or begged on my journey for those things I needed - food, a weapon, a torn shirt or ragged pants. And so I arrived at the gates of the great City, little more than a beggar but I was admitted freely, finding a welcome beyond all I could have expected.

"A mighty mage, or so he seemed to me then, became my mentor. I met and married a wonderful man and we have adopted a son, Tralok. I've been adopted, in my turn, by many and now have sisters, brothers, nieces - a whole family, and have learned to live with what I once saw as my cowardice, although this is the first time I have spoken of it with a view to having it become public knowledge.

One thing that has teased my mind, though, since I came to Nexus and since I have fought in many battles against the Goblins, is that I've never, ever seen a raid like the one on my village, with the bodies laid like they were, unmutilated except for the death stroke. And that "other possibility" of my father's stays with me, causing me to oft wonder what he might have meant. Could it have been the Soldiers of the Holy Light perhaps? Perhaps I'll never know.

* * * * * * * * * *

Eventually, only a few years ago, I returned to the village of my parents, wanting in some manner to honour them but not knowing how. I stood before the Village Hall, looking at it and remembering the horror and the pain. Someone had returned to the village at some stage and buried the remains of my family and the villagers in a communal grave in the centre of the village green, and had taken the time and the trouble to erect a crude, wooden obolisk carved with the names of those who lay below it. I stood before the Hall and found my hand reaching unprompted into my backpack, found it closing around a white rose, Pandora's White Rose, which I had carried with me ever since it had been given to me. Almost unbidden I bent to plant the rose at the door of the Hall and started chanting, using my magicks to coax the rose into life, into abundant and wild growth, watched as its tendrils started to cover the Hall, as it grew and flowered until nothing could be seen except the White Roses of Hope, their perfume like a gentle caress carried on the warm evening breeze.

* * * * * * * * * *

With that, Ariel turned back to the scribe, bowed slightly and walked out into the night, towards further battles and further deaths, but with her hope intact and her love for Pandora warming her heart.

 

Autumnfire

Class: Mage
Race: Unknown

"The beginning is a good place to start, I suppose. As early as I can remember, my family was a band of gypsies. I know not from where I came, but I know my mother was a High Priestess and my father a General, they were both involved in the wars. They died protecting one another, from what I hear it was true love...

"From birth to the age of six, I was a part of the Carnival, and belonged to one of the few remaining Gypsy Clans. I learned some basic magick for my act, showy lights and fantastic illusions of anything I could imagine. I was popular at the time, with my act, trinkets, gadgets and charms. We were a prosperous band of carnival gypsies. A little too prosperous for some of the Goblin Warlords.

"For many months, goblin spies were in out midst. Although, it was the soldiers who would cause a few problems. I understood pain all too well, both from personal experience and what I could see.

"Eventually, the situation caught the eye of an Elven Warlord. He promised the Clan protection from the Goblins. Blindly, they took the offer, unaware that for the exchange of our safety, a few of us would have to go.

"Against my will, I was quickly placed in their stronghold. At first, I was just a servant or a page, depending on what I was required to do. Several summers passed and I lived in fear. I tried to hide my coming of age by keeping my hair short and wearing the men's clothing, for I knew my services would change once I was noticed. That day I feared the most had come and I became the Lords' favorite toy, each of them wanted "Special Favours." If I did not perform to their pleasures, they would "teach" me to be proper with them. I learned quickly to know what pleased those men as to not suffer any further.

"One of the Lords was an Adept Class Mage, who was kind in his own right. I seldom received my "lessons" with him, but he did teach me how to enhance my illusions. He was rather pleased when I produced exotic women in erotic clothing. It was relatively fun in his chambers, his excitement unsuppressed by bouncing around the illusions like a small child with a new toy." She grinned wildly.

"By this time I was 13 summers old and I looked to be 20. I had spent my extra time becoming acquainted with the underground network of servants and guards. Shameful as I was, I used myself and my body to escape their stronghold by the underground network and with the help of my illusions. I had never felt so relieved and free, but I still had a heavy heart...

"A few months passed before I stumbled upon a Secret Society of Blood Guild memebers. The name I am unable to disclose for fear they would find me one day and become one of their "Wells"... A name which they gave to their victims of empowerment.

"They taught me some useful magick, as well as blood magick. Basic magick, such as shielding and magickal redirection... For blood magick, I would have to drain a person of all their strength, though leaving them with enough energy to keep them alive until they were useless. While they were alive, we would take the energy of their pain from them. They would basically be tortured to the point their minds would either be broken or go numb to any kind of pain. I promptly learned to block out what I saw to keep my own sanity or I would risk becoming one of them.

"My immunity caught up with me when I was told to torture someone I knew from my early childhood. I did what I was told and after that I spent many a sleepless nights, trying to forget. I consumed a lot of energy to keep myself from dreaming. Other mages became aware of this weakness and tried to exploit it.

"The Guildmaster caught news of this and made no effort to hide my disgrace. I received my daily thrashings, it was both physical and magickal. Although, they did not take any of my energy, they still allowed me to suffer greatly.

"A few weeks went by and finally it was over. It was time for them to move on and they were going to leave me behind. I prepared myself for survival, but I realized that there was a way for me to live without having to stay there and wait for death.

"I planned to somehow change and redirect some of the gate power to my own then I would have been able to create my own spell. I used the sporatic magick that leaked from the gate itself and created my own. I am surprised it worked and I survived, but I am still unsure as to how it worked. I am even more unsure as to where the Blood Guild is now...

"I would have used a teleport spell, but it was unpredictable. I was too weak and too spent to either fend for myself in a situation of certain death or in a place I did not know. So I summoned my own gate spell and ankored it to a place I had been to before, here, in Nexus.

"Once I arrived, I knew I could start from new. In which I was reborn into my name, Autumnfire. The Night-Wolf within me died along with my past.

"This place, Nexus, is rich with life and diversity, never take it for granted... I had spent a few weeks helping out the locals and meeting new people and it was not long before I met Tyrin. He was the one who showed me a different life from the one I had known and been living. He showed me kindness and taught me how to love. It took me almost 19 years for me to learn the meaning of love..." She let a single tear roll down her cheek before continuing. "The rest I wish not to discuss..."

"I have become a new person since I have found myself here. Many things have changed since I was a small child among the gypsies... However, that is to be expected. Even though I have lost the family which I knew, I have acquired a new one..." Autumnfire smiled wickedly and got up from her seat. "There is not much else to say, I am afraid" She said as she walked away.

 

Azara

Class: Mage
Race: Half Elf


My memories were happy ones. Mama was a full elf, and Daddy was a half-elf. We lived in a peaceful valley away from the villages of elves and humans who shunned them for intermarrying. We had a cottage filled with love, and I had a real bed. One night it got especially cold, and when I awoke, I was surprised to find my parents still in bed. I tried to wake them up but they stayed asleep. Then I tried harder, and when they still didn't wake I got a bad feeling deep inside. No matter what I did, I could not wake them. Then I saw these aweful welts on their feet, and the bad feeling got worse. When I saw the first crawly thing come out of Daddy's boot, I ran to the kitchen and got a black frying pan. I hit the crawly thing as hard as I could but it was stronger than I thought and I was weak. I hit it again and again, and then there was more of them. I hit them and hit them and kept hitting them even long after they were all dead. I hit them till they were just dust and I could not lift the frying pan for another hit cause I was so exhausted. I found out many years later that the crawly things were called scorpions. I knew my parents were dead but I didn't know what to do. There was nobody alive in the whole valley except me.

After a few days, a horrible smell started to come from my parents room. I knew I needed to bury them, but they were too heavy for me to lift or drag. I took everything I could out of out cottage, and burned it. I cried till I was ankle deep in a puddle of my own tears. I had no place to live after that, and not much food, and it was so very cold! I used my frying pan as a shovel, and dug a small cubby right next to rock wall, and covered myself with blankets and leaves. When the food ran out, I ate berries and roots and drank water from a stream. I was always hungry, but I managed to stay alive. I was five years old, cold, hungry, and I missed my parents, and I was scared of just about everything.

One day, when I was six, I found tracks in the mud. I thought I was saved. I thought they were elves, or humans, and I followed them at a run. But when I got close to their camp I heard grunting and snorting and a lot of laughter that did not sound human or elven either. I approached more cautiously and quietly. They were goblins, and they had a human captive. They had already eaten his legs, and cut off his hands, but they were keeping him alive so their meat would stay fresh, and so they could torment him. They were forcing him to eat some stew made out of parts of his own body, and laughing at his helplessness and disgust. What could I do? I could not rescue him. I could not kill the goblins. And I could not just leave him there...like that.

I ran away quiet as a mouse. Then I got a peach from a tree I knew. Inside the peach pit is a seed that looks like an almond...except its not. I got a few of those seeds, and went back to the goblin camp at night. Then, I crept up to the captive human and put the seeds in his mouth. He looked at me, and started chewing. Those seeds are bitter as can be and deadly poison, and he knew, and kept chewing, and swallowed it all. Then he wispered thank you and told me to run away. I never knew his name.

The next year, I saw goblin tracks again, but by then, I knew what they were. I followed carefully. This time, they had killed a mountain lion. When I backtracked from where they were, I found the cougar's cub. He was just a ball of fur and fury, with tiny teeth. I could not just leave him to starve or be eaten by some bigger animal, so I sort of adopted him and named him Smoke. For the first two years, I took care of him, fed him, played with him. We were all the friends and family each-other had. After he got big and strong, he started taking care of me. One time I got my clothing caught on a gnarly bush, and Smoke faced down a full grown grizzly while I got free.

When I was thirteen, we started taking little trips to other places outside the valley. We went farther and farther away. When I was fourteen, we ran across a hunting party of true elves. I was so excited I jumped and screamed and waved! But they didn't see a happy excited girl. They saw a small elven girl screaming and waving, and a full grown cougar just a few feet away. Seconds later there were four feathers shafts in Smoke, and he was dead. I cried for a whole month after that. I refused to talk and hardly ate anything in the elven village. They were very sorry but there was nothing they could do to bring Smoke back. Eventually, I sort of forgave them. They had meant well, and it had been an honest mistake.

They taught me many things, reading, magic, manners, how to use a bow, and they enchanted my hair, so it would be emerald to match my eyes. They used to tell me I was the most beautiful girl in generations, but I always just thought they were still trying to make me feel better after what happened to Smoke.

Lots of the young elven men wanted to marry me....or something, but I could not bring myself to stay there, and when I reached eighteen, I asked them to bring me to some other place. They brought me here...to the Nexus, and now this is my home.

 

Cephas

Class: Mage
Race: Human

So, you want to know something of my family's background. The Vearda'lin lineage goes back centuries to the time the Daer'lin were a powerful race, or so it has been told.

It has been passed down thoughout my ancestors that our family is direct descendants of Maanaa the Mistress of Magic. I have always heard these stories since i was but a small child, and I believe that these stories have led to my interest in the mystical arts.

My Father was a strong believer in the harmony of the races, but not to the point of interracial marriages. My Fathers family was torn apart when his brother, Erskin, married an Orc woman, and I will always remember the sad days of Father as he talked of this. But from this marriage my cousin Sam was born and he and I remain forever bonded in our common goals.It is upon these same pages you may read of his great abilities as a Palladin of Aalynor's.

Therefore, it is of no surprise that the Human blood runs strong in my veins as it does in my brother Cad. From our early days as children Cad and I grew strong together, and we often talked late into the night of how we would both find the truth in our own ways. The truth being are we truly descendants of Maanaa.

So, Cad and i vowed to each other to one day combine the forces of our talents, his being his great skill with the bow and his uncanny ability to track the horde. Mine being the knack of combining known magic into new stronger magic that would someday serve our interest in finding the truth.

We had always heard of a secret vault where the records of Time have stored , ever since the Battle of the Gods raged throughout the Realms. Rumors have it that Plekto had discovered the records of the Daer'lin and had hidden them in a secluded vault in the mountains of the Realm. It was shortly after that Tilnar struck down Plekto and the whereabouts of this secret place have been lost forever.

It is to this great task that I commit my life, to find the hidden records of the Daer'lin and prove that my family roots go all the way to Maanaa. And as my Father always said, "There is Good in everyone", and that one day he hoped that Tilnar would again be reunited with his brother Aalynor and that Goodness and Mercy would reign over the Nexus until the end of time.

So, now I shall be about my business, to find the secret hiding place of Pleko, and it is with this hope of my Father's that something I might find in the Daer'lin records would bring my Father's wish to fruition.

 

Darkness

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

Years ago, a baby Reni was born in the deep forest beyond the Sea of Tears. The sky darkened as he was being delivered into the world. Mountains of black cloud descended, purring black rain onto the land. The occasional bolts of lightning cracked the sky momentarily before releasing their destruction upon he innocent forest. Before the baby could cry his first, a lightning bolt struck the house and set it on fire. Just as the blaze started to consume the roof, the black rain stopped, and the clouds disappeared as fast and mysterious as they came.

The neighbors raced over to put out the fire, but there was not much they could do. The baby, burnt and darkened with smoke, was the only one survived. He was given to a nearby couple, who named him Darkness to record the events of his birth.

As he grew older, Darkness became interested in the field of magic. He could often be found sitting in silent at late night, trying to focus his inner forces in ways that he was told possible. At other times, after his work on the family's farm, he pondered about the tales of the city of Nexus, from which his ancestors had arrived.

When he turned seventeen, Darkness decided to search for the mystical city. He and a number of young and curious Renis set sail on the Sea of Tears, heading north. After a year of searching, they arrived at Port city. When they heard that Nexus was just beyond the forests at the North, their joy alone gave them enough strength to continue the journey.

Arriving at Nexus the next day, they found that they were the only Renis in the city. They also found out that the Renis was thought to be destroyed. After spending time to grieve for the death of the ancient Renis, they decided to send two of them back home to inform the others. The rest of them stayed for the hope of reestablishing their present as Nexus.

At the city, Darkness found opportunities every where he went. He joined the mage guild as soon as he found it, and began to learn to use the ancient spells taught to him. As an apprentice, he walks about the city every day, cleansing the criminals off its streets. To further his experiences, he also started to go beyond the city's gates, seeking for the occasional lone goblins.

Within a week, he was appointed the title of Mage. As a mage, Darkness no longer waited for those lone goblins, but with his new found friends, he sought to pushed the goblins away from the perimeters of his new home city.

Then the bad news came. A shipment of Cleric supplies was hijacked. A number of Nexus's adventurers set out to recover them, and Darkness was invited to go with them. The party included the Human Nightblade Abuk, the Human Holy Warrior Bocker, the Human Mage Cephas, the Ogre Priest Devin, the Half- Elven Nightblade Garpenlov, the Gnomish Priest Gifford, the Elven Priest Lordewok, the Elven Scout Manfdorf, the Human Wizard Reverend, the Half-giant Dark Knight Wicked, and of course, Darkness himself. The God of Light, Aalynor, was also present to guide the adventurers.

Led by Lordewok, the party stepped through the Red portal that Aalynor had opened. Immediately, they could feel the pressure from the Goblin Guards and Warlocks. The group scattered to different areas, and was almost destroyed. Everyone teleported back to Nexus. For those who could not teleport themselves, Lordewok helped them.

Regrouped in Aalynor's temple, the adventures decided that it was in their best interest to stay together and made their stand in each area. Once again, they stepped through the portal. This time, they were more successful. Room by room, they conquered the goblins until they found the supply wagon. After defeating the Goblin Commander and acquired the key to the wagon, they recovered the precious supplies.

Just as they prepared to celebrate, they heard faint Goblin laughers and painful screams echoing from the North. They realized that Kesmai, the monk in Lucis's dream, could be true, and that he could be alive. Once again, they headed north. After clearing out the goblin guards and warlocks along the way, they arrived at the source of the sounds.

In front of them was the most terrible scene they had seen. The remaining of Kesmai's body could be seen roasted on the open fire. Some part of his body was missing, as if he was eaten by the goblins. Filled with rage, the adventurers slaughtered the goblins and buried the remain of the courageous monk. With sadness, they returned to Nexus. The city welcomed them back with great awards.

For Darkness, he came back to his guild and was appointed the title of Wizard. But for him, the greatest award of all was the feeling of joy. The joy when one knows that he has served his city well.

 

Deriseus

Class: Mage
Race: Dark Elf

You can almost hear Deriseus's words echo into your mind.

My name Deriseus. I'm of the Dark-Elf Breed. I have no last name. I was born then adopted into a family that could support me in Tilnars Vein. I'm sixty years old. Now that I have introduced myself. I can begin my story......

As I set the bloodied Kleto on to a small cot in the healing hand after I teleported him from his almost certain death bed. I began healing the small boy along with the tenders of the Hand. The human boy looked at me. And asked me why I had saved him. I told him simply that I was not going to let him die. It would be rude and unkind. He smiled the best he could. And he asked me if I would tell him about myself. So I felt obliged to tell him what I could.

So I began.....

Tilnars Vein is a cruel and harsh place to live. The inhabitants for the most part follow Kyorl. And those who don't are dubbed different. And therefore are treated different. I am one of those Drow. My adopted parents were two drow with a single dream that they carried on with them. They wanted to protect Nexus. They wanted to show themselves to be good. And in all reality they were good. So they taught me to be good.

They trained me day and night for the first 59 years of my life to become one of the Magi. They believed the only way that they could become heroic was to breed a hero. So they did their best. And from this they wrought me, the boy named Deriseus.

On my 60th birthday, I was knocked out by my parents and later told the missing parts of which would be here by Felicity. My parents had aparently taken me to a caring woman, by the name of Felicity. The woman took me and quickly did her best to transport me to Falcion without being attacked by drow.

When I awoke I was given the basic essentials needed by a mage to grow stronger and quicker. Not knowing what to do I studied the spells I was given, put on my robes, bought a small sling and some small stones, and I began to wander about Falcion. What I found was a deep dark hole. I went inside. I was immediately attacked by sewer beasts and began cutting them down with my magicks. And so began my training.

I became strong very quickly. And I did it for the most part on my own. Joining hunts when asked and taking monsters on where I could alone. I quickly became tier 4 and was ready to train to 5. But I realized I must join the mages guild to further my progress. I spoke to a man by the name of Tyne. As soon as we had met he eyed me oddly and told me that he must be careful among all drow. It was at this time I learned that my life would go on like this for the rest of my future. And I accepted this as best as I could. Fortunately Tyne believed me ready to join the guild and accepted me. Before long I took place at tier 7 and readied my things and took the sloop to Nexus.

I followed the road for a while till I came upon the gates of Nexus. I wandered about the massive city for seamingly hours. Until I came upon my guild and I met another mage. This mage's name was Zany a small sprite. Extremely funny I might add, took me for a trip around Nexus. He showed me around and I yearned to travel more. I quickly made my way to the Eastern Gate of Nexus. I opened it, turned around, closed it. And began to wander off. I traveled through a camp and through a set of badly melted boulders and I pulled my robes tighter to me and I climbed up the side of the mountain to see what I might find.

To my dismay I heard a large crash and distant cries of pain and requests for help. I rushed to see what I could and I hid behind a set of trees and looked into a small camp of soldiers. What I saw next was horrific. I saw you (Kleto). You were being attacked by a drow of all things. I couldn't believe my eyes. And then I saw you impaled on a sharpened tree stump. I hid myself as best I could and slowed my breathing till I saw the Ogres and the Drow leave the area. I feared for your life. When I had figured that the beasts were gone. I made my way over to you. I hacked at the stump until it let you free. I did my best to pull the wooden shards out of you. And then I heard a marching and the sounds of voices. With haste I casted a teleport spell on you. And then myself and came and found you and brought you here. And here we are.

From that day forward little did Kleto or I know it, but we became quite good friends. And helped each other in battle as he gained his tiers and quickly caught up and exceeded me greatly in strength. I found Felicity soon after this and made a good friend of her. And she told me of how she travelled through the woods to save me. And I was most grateful of her.

And so I end my story here as my life continues to progress and I haven't an idea of what may become of me....

 

Deros

Class: Mage
Race: Human

Once a scribe came to the Town Square in a search to write down the pasts of people in the city. He came upon a strange man sitting in the middle of the town holding a book and an Aldan staff lying down near him. The scribe looked around and noticed that this man was the only one in the square who happened not to be talking to others. The scribe shrugged and decided that it would be this man's past he would write about. He tapped the man on the shoulder and the man turned around eyeing the scribe. It was the scribe who first spoke asking "Sir I am a local scribe in this city and I would like to write down the your past for all to know." The man grumbled at first and told the scribe that he could go talk to the bartender in the local tavern, but he would not know his past. The scribe paused and then looked at the book the man was reading and thought he may have a way of finding out the man's past. The scribe tapped the man again once again and the man turned around. The man eyed the scribe and told him to leave him be, that he was studying. The scribe replied, telling the man if he cared so much about knowledge that maybe the city should have the knowledge of his past and the man thought for a few seconds and nodded and closed his book. The man yawned and began.

So what is there to say, I was born in the Crystal Mountains in a safe haven-type city called Gorik. There were a few elves, humans, hobbits, and other races that sought shelter from the goblin hordes and giants in the mountains. I, Deros Rowik, was born on Maaur, the twenty-eighth of the month of Midnight, in the year 1,632 since the Godswar, and year 1,215 of the Empire. I was a very small lad at the age of twelve and I read everything I could find in the town since I could read at age five. At age seven my parents began to notice a natural potential for knowledge I had, but they also noticed that lack of fighting with weapons and how strong I was. Since the town I lived in was made up of mostly fighters and barbarians and almost knew nothing about mages. I then later wanted to become a mage at the age of thirteen. My parents encouraged me to seek a larger more protected city that had the knowledge and books I would need to learn about the arts of magic and becoming a mage.

So at age fifteen I left the city I was born in to seek a city that I often dreamed of as "The City of Knowledge." After searching for not even a week or two I came south to the city of Nexus and was directed to the city of Falcion to begin my training as a mage. I sort of hated the city oh Falcion because of its lack of wise people so I began my training quickly in hopes of getting to the city that I knew of as "The City of Knowledge" or Nexus. Once I became of the tier that I was allowed to leave the island, I left. I first checked out the library and then the mages tower for knowledge. I then noticed that the city lacked the only knowledge of magic that my home city knew of.

After finding this out, I left to go back to my city where I found a merchant that had a book that contained the arts of necromancy. I quickly bought the book and came back to Nexus, but upon leaving one of the people in the city chased me screaming about the book of evil and giants not far away that were traveling in the mountain heard him and attacked the city. I tried my best to protect that city but not too long into the battle I was hit and knocked into a stupor. Upon waking, I looked around my things still with me, but the city and everyone in it destroyed. Corpses lay everywhere and the buildings burned to the ground. I stayed at the city to bury every person that died there including my parents. After I paid my respects, I left back to the city of Nexus. I once thought nobody knew about the art of necromancy when I first came to the city, but upon coming I was condemned and was thought to be evil. I believe I knew very little about the black arts and after speaking with Aalynor and one of my first friends Derwyn and then talking to a man by the name of Zany I thought about it. I later gave up my studies of necromancy and found a book of the studies of Invisibility and other Illusions.

Deros then looked at the scribe and said, "That now brings us to the present, where I seek no magicks of the dark and I try to get people to not see me as evil and hope they do not condemn me for what I studied in the past." The scribe then smiled and said his thanks and walked off towards the library to leave Deros back to his studies.

 

Derwyn

Class: Mage
Race: Dark Elf

I was born within the Drow caverns, Uthgarten D'wyn. I was the first male child born of Ch'tah D'wyn, a Drow priestess. It was not the fact that I was born that started the problems for my family, but that I was defective. Instead of killing me when I was born my mother decided to let me live. Drow do not possess a high birthrate and I believe that she hoped that I might benefit the family at some later date. Had she been able to foresee the future I doubt I would be here today.

I lived in the family compound for over 50 years, never venturing outside it. I had an early aptitude for magic and was tutored in the ways of magic by the wizards that served my family. Though being sent to the Sorcere would be forbidden. Likewise, a male would never be allowed inside of Arach Tilnath.

I had other brothers and sisters. Of my 2 older sisters I know little save that both were priestesses like my mother. My younger brother I never met. Shortly after my younger brother was born I had found a way to escape the compound and journey through the city. For months I wandered the shadows of the city. Watching the other Drow and wondering what it would be like to be among them. I knew that if I were caught I would be punished severely. Oh, how I longed to be able to walk freely among them. A foolish thought.

Time after time I returned to the isolation of the family compound. I was awoken one night by the lashing of a whip. One of my sisters had been sent to fetch me for my mother. She dragged me to the family chapel. My mother sat upon her throne and gravely looked down upon me. "Why did you go into the city?" she demanded. I told her that I wanted to see the city. "Well! You were followed back! Even now the others align against us! You have doomed us all!"

It was then that the doors of the chapel burst open. Soldiers from the other houses swarmed inside our chapel. My sisters fought fiercely but were killed. Only my mother and myself were alive when it ended. As punishment for hiding me my mother was sentenced to death. My punishment was the same, for the crime of being deformed was a sentence of death as well. We were taken to the mouth of the caves and tied to stakes in the ground. Even the starlight hurt my eyes. For what seemed to be an eternity we laid there. My mother screaming at me, me shivering with fright. My secluded life had done little to prepare me for this event.

Then the most horrible sight I have ever seen appeared. At the tops of what I now know are mountains appeared the Sun. It blinded me instantly. I felt my skin warming in its light, but I did not feel the burning that I had been always told would occur should its light ever touch me. My mother immediately started frantically screaming and thrashing. She screamed for what must have been hours before she finally became silent. Eventually, I managed to slip out of my bonds and went to free my mother but it was too late. She had gone into shock and died. I buried her quickly, not wanting to be around should my people return, and fled.

For weeks I wandered through the Blackwood. Starving and cold I could just make out the lights of city in the distance. Cautiously I crept into Nexus, the City of All Races. Nexus was not at all the place I thought it would be. I had been told that it was an evil place that hated my kind, which had no other purpose than to hate. I found that people here were friendly to each other. Warily I lived in the alleys and shadows stealing food and clothes in order to survive. Eventually I found the Ivory Tower and was allowed to enter into apprenticeship there (The metallic dragons had not yet opened the doors of the island of Falcion to the apprentices). That was the beginning of my path. In Nexus I found the only true peace I have known. Here I have been accepted for who I am, not what I am, and with Tilnar beside me I am never alone. I still cannot forgive myself for the death I have caused, but perhaps Tilnar will show me mercy.

 

Drakewyn

Class: Mage
Race: Human

Fire and smoke are everywhere. Another large explosion shakes the ground, and many houses are engulfed in flames, others are blown to splinters. Kerzanic and Merilan run frantically about the Woodrell household, gathering what they can of their precious belongings. Kerzanic can see the fires burning, and the explosions through the window of the kitchen. The sounds of screaming and the smell of smoke are almost overpowering. He looks to his wife, Merilan, who is tending to the baby, then he runs back to the family room, to gather his own things.

"Merilan, stay here, I'll go prepare the wagon" Kerzanic yelled, his wife nodded, and took the baby in her arms. Kerzanic, satisfied that his wife and child were safe, opened the door and darted out to the stables. He could see his corn fields starting to burn, the fire being spread from his neighbour.s fields which were completely engulfed in fire. He looked to where his neighbour's house used to be, but it had been completely destroyed by an explosion. He continued on his way, taking out his two horses and preparing the harness on the wagon. The fire was hot, and his skin was beginning to burn. The whistle of balls of fire could be heard off in the distance. The council had been called many days earlier, when first signs of the mysterious cloud had appeared. The village sage warned that this cloud would spell doom for the village, and that all must depart immediately, but no one listened. If only they had known he would be right.

Kerzanic brought the horses and wagon around front, and rushed to the door to fetch his wife. He ran inside, and began calling for his wife. Merilan appeared in the doorway, holding their baby.

"We must hurry, it is getting worse, go to the wagon, I must fetch a few things first" He gestured to the open door. Merilan hesitated at first, then gave her husband a kiss and darted out the door.

"I love you" Kerzanic said, as his wife left his view. He looked about for the items he had gathered earlier. He found them, under a pile of blankets. He examined each item, determining what to bring and what not to bring. He decided to bring his staff, and a special book. He wrapped them in the blankets, and dashed madly for the door, a sense of urgency coming over him.

"Hurry honey, time is running out!" Merilan called to him. Kerzanic bolted through the door, bumping his arm on the door frame, dropping his staff. He ran to the wagon, dropped his package, then darted back to the door to fetch his staff. Just then, a massive ball of fire struck the house, and shards of wood and glass flew through the air, striking him down. The house erupted in flames, spewing fire everywhere. Kerzanic consumed by fire, combusted to ash almost instantly. The wagon escaped destruction, only to be hit by flying debris from another exploding house. Pierced through the chest by a smouldering shard of wood, Merilan falls to the ground, her body covered by debris. A neighbour, seeing the unattended wagon, darts over to see what he can do. He sees the wagon is still in good enough shape, but cannot find anyone near it, he then decides to leave with it. He gives the reins a sharp snap, and the horses speed down the road. As the wagon fades off in the distance, Merilan whispers to herself with her final breath, "take care my sweet...little... Drakewyn...".

Hurrying as fast as he can, the stranger urged the horses on, mile after mile, until the burning village was far behind. He continued on his way, north down the road for several hours, not noticing the baby hidden in the chest at the back of the wagon. Merilan, fearing that flying debris would kill him, hid the baby and Kerzanic's package in the black, wooden chest, and poked two air holes in the back with her knife. The stranger continued on till night, then made camp at the side of the road. Being an honourable man, he took only the supplies he needed for the night from the wagon, and decided to donate the rest to the needy in Nexus when he arrived. In the morning he set out again, and was making good time. He judged by the changing scenery that he was only two or three days from the city of Nexus. Thinking it was a good time to stop for lunch, he pulled the wagon over, and began preparing himself a meal. Sitting next to a hastily made fire, he went through his own belongings, stored away in his pack. He pulled out some papers, one being a map. He read the title to himself "Nexus roads. Property of Erimus". He opened it up and began to search for any signs of civilization in the area. Before he knew it he was closing his eyes, and taking a nap, just a small one Erimus told himself. He was awoken suddenly to the sound of falling feet. His eyes darted back and forth, scanning the horizon. They came to rest on a lone figure, far off in the distance. He was walking very slowly, and was holding a wooden staff. there was something peculiar about this man, Erimus thought to himself. As the man drew nearer, Erimus could begin to see more details. The staff he was holding, was truly peculiar, it was made of wood, but a strange bluish wood. The man was wearing a long grey cloak, with a hood that cast a shadow over most of his face. He had grey hair, and a long grey beard. Under his cloak he was wearing grey robes, and at his waste was tied a shimmering long sword, the hilt, also being made of the same strange blue wood, and wrapped in leather. He had a small satchel and several small pouches about his waist, and a small pack on his back, hidden under the cloak. He continued walking down the road towards the stranger. Feeling a bit alarmed, the stranger rose to his feet, and ran to fetch his dagger.

"Hello!!, can I help you?" he shouted, but the man made no sign of acknowledgement. Suddenly, the man stopped, and began waving his one free arm about, a mystical blue energy could be seen forming at the end of his hand, then he was entirely consumed by the blue energy. The stranger closed his eyes in disbelief, and when they were open again, the strange man was standing right in front of him. Erimus fell back a few steps and readied his dagger.

"Greetings, I am Wytherin, and you are?" the strange man said, leaning close to hear Erimus' response. He hesitated at first, not knowing if he could trust this magic-user. He slowly opened his mouth and spoke.

"I... I am Erimus. I come from.,.,"

"Yes, yes, I know where you come from, the village of Morian, I came as soon as I saw the cloud." Wytherin said, speaking with impatience.

"How did you see the cloud? did it attack your village too?" Erimus asked, dreading to hear the news of more suffering.

"Huh?, oh no, not that, I felt that my brother was in trouble, so I used the magical weave to pear through his eyes, and I saw the cloud. Dreadful thing it was, but there is nothing we can do about it, but there is something you can do for me now." Erimus did not know whether to believe him or not, he had seen this man use magic to traverse great distances, but he was a simple man and did not know the ability this man had over the weave, or even if the weave could be used in such a way.

"How may I help you?" he asked, noticing that Wytherin had his eyes on the chest in the back of the wagon.

"I want that chest, and everything in it" he said bluntly, pointing with his staff at the chest.

"You can't have it, these were the belongings of my neighbours, and they will be donated to the needy." Erimus declared, with a boldness that surprised even him. Wytherin gave Erimus a quick smile, then began to speak.

"These are the belongings of my brother, the wagon, the horses, all of it. My brother's. You may keep the rest, and donate it, it would do justice to his name, but that chest goes with me, and I need not explain why." Wytherin's words were final, any man foolish enough to stand up to that, deserved to be turned into a frog and squished. Erimus hesitated for a moment, then agreed to the terms. He helped Wytherin take the chest off the wagon, and they bid each other farewell.

"Be careful out there, and good luck to you" Wytherin spoke to Erimus, as he was pulling away in the wagon, with Kerzanic's remaining belongings. Wytherin turned, and examined the chest. Noticing the lock, he tapped it once with his staff which then erupted into smoke and fell off. Wytherin opened the chest, a smile fell across his face. Kerzanic picked the baby up from the chest, and help him close to his chest. He rocked him back and forth, feeling the baby's slow breathing through his arms. He spoke more arcane words, and the baby's breathing became more regular. the baby opened his eyes, and looked up into Wytherin's eyes. A feeling of peace came over him, and he went back to sleep. Wytherin set the baby back in the chest, and closed the lid. He stood, and gripping his staff tightly, he began to recite the words to his levitate spell. He directed the spell towards the chest, jumped up in the air, touched the chest, then landed softly on his feet. The chest began to rise, and Wytherin reached into his satchel and pulled out a rope, he tied it to the chest, and began the long walk back to Nexus.

Needless to say, Wytherin's adventuring days were over, he sold all his assets in Nexus, and bought a small cabin on the outskirts of a fishing village. He became adjusted to the slow life, and eventually began to grow to like his little cabin. The villager's were apprehensive of him at first, but they began to consider him one of their own, and before Wytherin knew it, he was relying on his magic less and less. He retired his staff, his magical devices and all his arcane books to his cellar, and took up the farming life. When Drakewyn was 5, Wytherin began to tutor him in the ways of magic, and try to instil in him the importance of knowledge. As time went by, Wytherin and Drakewyn grew up together, selling their crops to the villagers, and making small trips to the sister village. They would go on walks together, and Wytherin would teach Drakewyn all about nature, and about the other races as well, Wytherin even tried to teach Drakewyn the elven language, but Drakewyn was still too young. The subject of Drakewyn's parents came up often, but Wytherin was cautious of telling Drakewyn too much of their deaths. He told him only that their village had succumb to a terrible fire, and that he didn't know what happened to his parents. Drakewyn was content with that, after all, he loved his uncle, and he was a happy child.

One stormy knight, when Drakewyn was 10, Wytherin sat him down, and began one of his tales of adventure.

"Have I ever told you about goblins?" Wytherin asked.

"No uncle, I don't think you have. Are they bad?" Drakewyn was honest, and wanted to hear of goblins, so he listened attentively.

"The worst there are. Once a beautiful race, they were twisted to match the evil in their hearts, and now they seek to inflict the same punishment on the rest of the races. There is a city, a city of all races, that is far away from this place. I used to live there, but the goblins, in all their evil conquest, have laid siege to it, and it has been this way for some time now." Wytherin paused for a moment, remembering the friends he left behind. "Did you fight them?" Drakewyn asked

"Aye, I fought them, and many other evils as well." Wytherin shuddered, and a feeling of dread filled his mind. Lightning crackled outside, as the storm grew worse. Wytherin continued his tale until the storm had grown so loud he could hardly hear himself.

"I think it is time you went to bed, I will see you in the morning." Wytherin rose from his chair, and gave Drakewyn a hug. Drakewyn said goodnight, and walked down the hall to his room. He threw on his pyjamas, and went to bed.

Wytherin tended to the fire, and then went to the cellar. He fumbled through a stack of books, finally finding the one he was searching for. He looked at the title "Kerzanic's Spell Book", and gave himself a satisfied nod. He returned to the family room, and sat in his favourite chair next to the fire. He opened the book, and ran through the many pages of spells. He knew all of them, and they were pretty low calibre, but they reminded him of his brother. He got to the end, where his brother had hastily scribed a message. He read it to himself:

Dear Wytherin,

As I know you will find this book if I die, and if you are reading this, then the worst has happened to me. Know that I lived a happy life, and do not mourn me. I write this as a warning, I do not know what evil destroyed our village, but I suspect it is the work of a very powerful mage. We were both adventurers, you and I, and you know that I settled down to have a family, but it seems that some evil persues us, even into retirement. I cannot explain it, but I have felt this evil for some time, as I am sure you must feel it too. Take care of yourself, and my wife and child. See that they are safe, and beware the evil, it will consume us all if we don't act quickly.

Sincerely, Kerzanic Woodrell

"You were more right than you knew, brother, I have felt the evil growing stronger, and I feel it getting closer and closer. I fear that I will not be able to keep my promise to protect your son, but I will try." Wytherin spoke these words softly, almost expecting his brother to hear him. He began to drift off into to sleep, but suddenly, the front door flung open and a green light shone through. An eerie green mist snaked its way along the floor. Wytherin tried to stand, but his muscles were stunned, and would not move. A harsh demonic voice whispered in his ear: "I have come for you... Wytherin...".

Drakewyn awoke to the sound of birds chirping outside his window. He rose from his bed, and opened the curtains, sun light filled his room, filling Drakewyn with a sense of peace. He dressed in his work clothes, and went in search of breakfast. He walked past his uncle's room, and saw the bed was still laid out as it was the night before, with his uncle's un-used pyjamas lying folded across the sheets.

"Uncle!" He called, but there was no answer. He searched all the rooms, but there was no sign of his uncle. The door was still locked and closed, and had not been broken. his uncle's belongings were still as they were the night before. Drakewyn saw the open book lying on his uncle's chair, and his heart sank. He threw on his cloak, and dashed out the door in search of his uncle. He searched their property, then their fields, and even went so far as to search the woods around their house. He went to the village and began to ask questions. Amazingly, no one in the village had seen him. Drakewyn searched in vain all the places he could think of, but to no avail, his uncle was gone. Drakewyn lost hope, and retuned home. He let the day waste away, and went to bed early, hoping he could sleep away this terrible nightmare. To his great chagrin, he still felt sad the next day, and the day after, and for the next week. Drakewyn moped around the house, not wanting to continue living. After a time, he began to feel better, and started to tend to the crops again, but the sad feeling never went away. Drakewyn found himself working harder and harder to keep his crops alive, it had not rained since his uncle had gone missing, which had been a month and a half ago. After two months, his crops had almost all died, and so had all the neighbours crops. They blamed him and his uncle for the drought, and they became very un-friendly towards Drakewyn. One night, an angry mob assembled outside Drakewyn's home. they forced him out, and began to beat him. Drakewyn managed to force them off of him, and escape. the mob destroyed as much of the house as they could, but did not burn it for fear of spreading fire on the dry ground. Drakewyn, ran off into the woods, where he stayed for some time, living off the land, as his uncle had shown him. He lived with the animals for several years, growing a long beard, and making friends with the regular travellers. He fashioned his clothes from the hides of animals. He grew tall and muscular, and was very adept at the hunt, and tried to use the magic his uncle had taught him to the best of his ability. At the age of 18 he set out in search of the city his uncle had mentioned, the city of Nexus.

Drakewyn encountered many perils on his journey, using his intelligence and wits to guide him out of each situation. He learned much from travellers he encountered, he was told of a place where he could learn the skills he would need to help fight the evil. He gathered as much information he could about the Island of Falcion, and when he arrived in Nexus, he gained apprenticeship, and was sent to this Island to learn.

And so ends my tale of adventure, or is it just beginning? I knew very little of this long story when I left my house, but I have managed to piece most of it together, from histories read in the library, to the distant traveller's tale. I have had many dreams and visions, where I see my uncle surrounded by that evil mist, and I still no nothing of his whereabouts, or even if he lives.

 

Dworkin

Class: Mage
Race: Unknown

Dworkin's was born to two middle-aged, gnomish parents in Nexus; Felninth, his mother, is a sculptor, now blind, and living still in Nexus. His father Nornarn, a mage and inventor disappeared shortly after his birth, along with his twin brother Rowthal.

For many years, Felninth told Dworkin nothing of his father or brother, saying simply that he was an orphan whom she had adopted as a baby and raised herself. When he was six years of age, however, he began to experience strange, paralytic dreams in which he would see himself in a mirror with a man standing behind him. The gnomes in the mirror would speak to him in a nonsense language which communicated feeling tones rather than actual information. Often these dreams were terrifying, and he would awaken from them blind and unable to move or breathe for a time. His mother, when told of the dreams simply tried to comfort him, saying it was his overactive imagination and nothing to worry about.

Dworkin grew quickly in intellect and curiosity. As he approached his 13th year, Felninth began experiencing fugue-states in which she would become incoherent and would do nothing but sculpt and babble, sometimes for two or three days on end. Though not common, these incidents frightened Dworkin and forced him to become more independent. He formed a small acting troupe with a few friends and sometimes put on plays on the stage in Nexus when it was not in use, to try earn a few coins for food. He would also find odd jobs cleaning the taverns after-hours or gathering junk for the gnomish inventors, whose work fascinated him.

On his 13th birthday, he had a fateful experience. En route to the inventors an ancient-looking gnome stepped suddenly from the shadows and yanked him into an alley. Dworkin could sense magical energies crackling within the robed and cowled gnome who stood before him. A gravelly voice spoke from with the hood.

"So, you are young Dworkin are ye then?"

The gnome cackled as Dworkin stood, terrified and still stunned by being yanked from the street. Dworkin could see the ancient hilt of a glowing dagger protruding from a scabbard at the gnome's belt, buckled with a glowing blue rune, and he shivered, his voice quaking in response.

"Yes...I am Dworkin...what do you want of me?"

"I knew your father, before he disappeared, with your brother...I assisted him in his research, many years ago now. We were lost together for a time, but in trying to escape we were separated. I made it back...he is still trying. The man in your dreams! It is he, Nornarn! Listen closely to his words and swallow your fear!"

With those words, the gnome vanished in a flash of magical light.

Dworkin was shocked. He never expected to hear anything from his father...nevermind the knowledge that somewhere he had a brother. He went directly home and confronted Felnanth, who began to flatly deny that he had any knowable father, but soon broke down and told him the story that he had never heard.

"Your father was a brilliant mage, but he was also dangerous, for he cared little for the thoughts of the guild, or even for safety...he was somewhat reckless in his thirst for arcane knowledge, holding it above all other things, except perhaps his love of us...but even there, he faltered, pushing himself to the limits of his ability in seeking answers for questions sometimes best left unasked.

At the time of his disappearance he was researching spell theorems. I do not know the specifics, but one of them involved opening a dimensional portal in order to travel quickly between two locations. The other had something to do with traveling stealthily. One night, as we slept, I believe that he accidentally caused some sort of doorway to open into which he, your brother, and his assistant were pulled. You and I were pulled halfway as well, but for some reason we did not remain there, as they did. You were but a few days old at the time. I awoke to see the whole room bathed in shivering light and half-sensed creatures. The vortice throbbed in the wall, pulling all of us into it. I have never seen nor heard from you brother or father since that night. I doubt sincerely that it was Neamythe you saw. Probably just some crazy old gnome playing a jest upon you. Feninth sighed and began to weep softly to herself."

Dworkin was filled with anger. "Why did you lie to me all these years? Why did you not tell me of my real family? All these years thinking I was alone, and outcast..."

"I am sorry, Dworkin. I know now that it was wrong, but at the time it seemed better to spare you from the pain of loss...I was younger then, and I didn't realize what I was doing...by the time I knew it was wrong...it was too late and I had to simply go along with the lie I told, hoping to protect you. I feared that one day you might find out."

"You should have told me the truth...I have lived in your lie all my life now, how will I reconcile myself with this? This gnome said that father was still alive...and my brother as well...if that is the case...then I must find them. Dworkin left the house and went down to the underground waterfall to think through the revelations of the day.

*****

That night, Dworkin had another of his dreaming episodes. This time, however, he was prepared...instead of fighting it, and giving in to fear, he let go completely. When he saw his father and brother his heart was filled with longing, rather than terror...and as he let go, he felt the world shift. He seemed to be traveling at terrible speed through a thick and viscous, yet invisible medium. The room shifted and twisted in his dim vision. Finally he arrived in a dream-laboratory. His father and brother stood before him, speaking again in the strange tongue of his previous dreams. They moved extremely slowly, and he realized that at least part of his trouble understanding their words was that they were slowed down. It was then he realized that his brother was many years younger than he...perhaps only five or six. His father puled a black book from his robe and handed it to Dworkin...the book was engraved with a single glowing red rune upon its cover. Dworkin felt that he did not want the book...not a strong feeling, just a kind of resistance, very subtle, a disinterest in the book. But he accepted it and began to look at the rune on the cover. As he looked at the rune, the room began to pulse, and he felt a strange throb that matched the pulse within his body. He heard and felt a wrenching shift in the atmosphere, and awoke, sweating, in his bed, the strange black book still grasped in his damp palm.

*****

The book was nearly indecipherable, but Dworkin decided that he must find the secret which stole his father and brother from him. He packed his small cache of goods, bid his mother farewell, told her that he would one day return, and left for the city of Falcion, there to become an Apprentice. When he was not studying magicks, he studied the runes in his father's book, trying to grasp the secret of their meaning and construction. One day he would bring his father and brother back....this he knew...or join them.

 

Ertai

Class: Mage
Race: Human

As recorded by the scribes previous, the day of my birth was on Aalur, the seventh of the month of Wildfire in the year 1,629 since the Godswar, and year 1,212 of the empire. I am now 20 years old and write this account as an accurate record of my childhood as it truly occurred for use and study of all those interested in understanding how I've become the man I am now.

My mother was a strong woman; she was of noble blood and lived in the city of Nexus. She was graceful and elegant, was always concerned with her appearance. My mother spoiled me with knowledge. She would be at my side at all times and I would point to an object such as a butterfly and she would explain it to me. I learned how to read at a very young age as well, and she gave me many books so that I may study and succeed as a student and that I did. My mind was quick then and is quick now, almost too quick for any normal human. I was a gifted student, in more then one ways. Near the age of 6 I was playing out in a field with the family sheep.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something moving quick, I turned and before I could react, a gray-shape lunged towards me, it knocked me down and I felt the sharp pain as it ripped the flesh from my stomach. Without being able to think, my hands began to move in an intricate fashion, I had no idea what I was doing but something deep inside my head had taken over. I plunged my thumb into my fist, and pulled it out as the words burned into my mind and I was forced to recite them, "Fire, flicker, ignite!" From somewhere deep inside me, I felt a surge of raw uncontrolled power appear, and work its way up to my hands. Opening my hand a few flickering flames poured forth onto the wolves tender nose, and with a yelp he ran off.

I lay there, my sides burning from the wound; I looked down and saw that if the wound was not tended to soon, I would die. I struggled to rise, but found that it only send searing waves of pain though my body. Again though, I found odd words burned into my mind, trying to force their way to my lips. I was scared though; the words brought with them a feeling of power and control, but also the twinge of helplessness. Soon though, between the fiery pain in my side, and the headache the words were causing, I had no choice. I placed my hands on the wound and slowly spoke the words, "Thy energies return!"€The power this time, rather then appear deep inside me appeared in my hands, flowing from them into the wound. Slowly I felt the pain subside, and while the wound was not gone, the size had shrunk until it was no longer a deadly threat. Standing slowly I felt oddly drained, as if something inside of me was gone.

I never mentioned my powers to mom, I told her I had got the cut from a nail sticking out of the fence, I almost wish I had told her after the treatment I got. For years after words, I never felt the burning words in my head again, though magic became my obsession. Whatever books I could get on Wizards, or their spells I hoarded. At the age of nine, I ventured into my dead father's room ... no one had been in it since his death. Slowly I crept around, never having known my father I was curious as to what time of man he was. Finally I stopped my search when I found a beautifully polished silver chest in his closet. Slowly opening it my heart raced at what I had found, sitting on robes of stunning green, was a leather bound book with a strange golden crest on it, later I would come to learn that the crest was the symbol of the mages guild of Nexus. Slowly I opening the book, I found among the first pages the spell I had used on that wolf so many years ago. Searching among the books I found what I though were spells that would allow me to take apart cities, my mind raced thinking my father must be one of the Weavemasters of lore and isn't really dead. At that moment I heard a voice cry my name and spun around to find my mother looking at me. She quickly took me from the room, but not without taking the book with her. She sat me down, and we talked for hours about my father.

It seems he apprenticed as a mage on a place called Falcion, where they trained heroes of the realms. He had gotten to 7th tier, a rank of some importance in his guild, but he had met her. After falling in love with her, they both moved into the countryside to live a peaceful life. I told my mother about the strange words that had burned their way inside my head, and she said there was no choice but to send me to Falcion to learn to control my powers. I cried for days after this, because I didn't want to leave home. Finally a year later I was old enough to go to Falcion ... one of the earliest apprentices in the history of the guild.

Five years later, when I had finally made Mage, I was so proud, my studies had gone slow at first, working on the basics of magic rather then the combat side of it. But then as I began to pen my message home to my mother, a messenger entered my house, he spoke in quite tones, and calmly told me my mother was dead, the goblins had killed her. I sat alone in the darkness, wondering what I was to do now ...

 

Faulk

Class: Mage
Race: Dark Elf

Hello, my name is Auris. I'm a scribe of Nexus' great Library, and this is my interview with Faulk, an Arch-Wizard in the Mages' Guild.

I sat down in a chair facing Faulk, and he sat down in a chair, facing me. I'd already told him that I was writing a story of his life for the Library, because some people asked about him, and, and, and ...

"I find it amusing that anyone would wish to hear about my life. I don't understand why anyone would want to use my life as 'an example'. Especially since I strongly believe that some experiences must be experienced by one's self for them to fully understand that particular thing. Anyhow, enough of my rambling."

"I never knew my parents, and since I don't know what they look like, I don't tend to think about them often. I was raised by my aunt, with her daughter, Kylia. I was brought by my aunt to her castle, not all that far west of Nexus, and that is where I was raised. I never liked that place, it was eerie. My aunt always made me do the chores and things with the other servants, babbling things about how men are inferior. Kylia was always there to help me get my chores done though, even though her mother forbad it. At first she just wanted someone to play with, since it wasn't acceptable to play with the servants' children. But as time went on, Kylia and I became nearly inseparable. She taught me how to read and write, and how to cast my first few spells. She would always slip me books she had taken from the castle's library. I spent nearly sixty years there, until one day, I decided to leave. I couldn't take the abuse anymore. Kylia refused to go with me, saying she owed it to her mother to stay there. Her mother had never failed to teach her loyalty. I begged her to come with me, but she kept declining. I headed east, passed Tilnar's Vein, and made my way north. I arrived in the small elven village of Talmet, and right off, I was rejected. A small elven boy said something about evil drow, and told me to go south to Nexus. I shrugged it off, not really caring all that much, and made my way to Nexus. I arrived in the city and heard some people talking about Juggernauts, and then heard a loud crashing sound coming from the east. A group of well armored defenders gathered and organized, then rushed eastwards. The threat was soon neutralized, as telepathic cheering soon revealed. A nice lady by the name of Ariel approached me, and was very kind to me. I found out she was a Mage in the Mages' Guild, and I asked her where I could join. She told me about the new apprenticeship island of Falcion, and took me there."

Faulk and I talked about his life afterwards, and he told me a lot. I stopped writing down after a little bit (oops), so I'll tell you what I can remember about what he said.

Faulk got married after his training on Falcion, to another mage named Kyleen. He says she was a girl that had a lot of troubles, and eventually killed herself. After that, he went and followed Kyorl, with his friend Jingle. After a while he wanted to get out, and eventually Paelina helped him, by getting his mark of Kyorl removed. Faulk went to Iona, Dilanis' emissary at that time, and after a quest to make sure he was "church material", she marked him. He later adopted a daughter, Katelyn, and proposed to another mage named Ixia, who left him. He told me some more things, but I forgot, and I told him after we finished talking that if he wanted to come back and add more, he could.

 

Fleia

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

The family chapel was perfused in the scent of fresh flowers and woodlands, but there were no bouquets in sight. The source was the unvarnished cedar coffin by the alter, filled with irises, forget-me-nots, periwinkles and baby's breath - a flowery bed of blue and white, without an occupant.

Silently, a dignified reni entered the chapel, and approached a small brass bell used to summon the family. He paused for a moment. "Perhaps Vera foresaw this," Zordal Lem Kirarskol thought of his late wife, who, in her insanity, insisted on giving birth to four children. He remembered with slight bitterness now old, but still humiliating rumors that they worshipped Kyorl secretly. "Four children? Only 5 years apart each, my, my....," they would whisper behind his back. But Vera was dead serious, and it had nothing to do with lust. Somehow he believed her. After all, magick flowed strongly through her. Strong enough to eventually drive her insane, and literally destroy her fragile body. All the daughters inherited her magical nature as well as her sapphire eyes and amethyst hair. "Rhysa most of them all ....," he looked toward the coffin with a renewed grief. Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Zordal rang the bell once to summon his remaining daughters for the service.

Fleia Kirarskol heard the solitary bell in her sister's room in the tower, and looked up from the letter she was reading for the tenth time. She let out a silent sigh. "Time for Rhysa's funeral," she thought. Rhysa, my favorite big sister who I thought was always in control - killing herself in disappointment over a failed apprenticeship? How foolish! How wasteful! How could she be so stupid? Fleia thought with anger, feeling betrayed by her sister. She looked down at the letter in her hand. The last letter from Rhysa, brought home by a tree sprite who found it by the lake, explained very little. It was addressed to Fleia, asking her to somehow relay to all of Rhysa's friends in Falcion that she will forever remember them and pray for them. "Falcion, Nexus, her fellow apprentices," muttered Fleia. "Is that all she thought of, in her last moments? What of family, the ever mysterious magick, our peaceful valley?"

The bell sounded once again. Fleia did not feel like staring into that empty coffin, though it seemed fitting that Rhysa left no corpse behind. She was so ephemeral that one would have thought her flesh was held together only by magick. "If she was not meant to be a mage, who is?" Fleia thought. Fleia's eyes rested on Rhysa's apprentice's robe, folded neatly in the small open chest by the bed. Her mind wandered back to the day a few weeks ago when Rhysa came home unexpectedly. She stood at the door in the humble cloth robe, smiled half-heartedly and told the family that she withdrew from the apprenticeship to study and understand the mystery of the weave. Something was wrong, but no one could have foreseen this outcome. A flash of inspiration commanded her to cast aside the rich velvet robe she was wearing, and don the humble robe. In a supernatural moment, a vision appeared before her eyes - streets of Falcion, horrifying undeads, goblins pouring out of a mural, the pain of flesh seared by magical fire, fallen foes, fallen friends, a sparkling sea beyond the sandy beaches and low hanging mist, and overwhelming sense of a mission, friendship, and most of all, unredeemable disappointment at the true realization that one will never be what one wishes to be. The vividness and the intensity of the vision made Fleia stagger, and she held onto the bedpost to keep herself from falling.

After what seemed like eternity, Fleia regained her normal senses. She now understood her sister, and what was important to her. More than understand, she was now endowed with Rhysa's memory and her purpose of existence. Without hesitation, she picked up the only other item Rhysa brought back from Falcion, her personal spellbook. "Tilnar be praised for connecting my soul with my sister's," she thought. She stepped out of the room, closed the door behind her purposefully, and descended the long spiral stairway to the chapel.

Zordal saw his youngest daughter in a rough cloth robe standing by the entrance to the chapel and frowned at the inappropriate attire. Before scolding her, however, he recognized the robe for what it was, and the look in her eyes. Dread, pride, and sadness washed over him as he realized another of his daughters was leaving the safety of the valley to dedicate herself to the cause against the threat to the realms. Her mind was closed to him, refusing to acknowledge his telepathic inquiry. "Vera, protect our child," he prayed silently to the mother of the young reni. "You knew this would happen, you should have the magick to guard her." Then he saw Fleia for what he knew would be the last time, as she glanced at the coffin, bowed silently, and receded into the shadows of the hallway. The scent of lavender lingered on just a moment longer, and she was gone.

 

Horver

Class: Mage
Race: Gnome

Born in a small village in a hidden vale, many miles from Nexus, Horver grew up peacefully with his five brothers and sisters and two parents. To the gnomes of his village the war with the goblins was a troubling whisper in the wind, but nothing more. They went about their lives without concern believing themselves safe from prying eyes.

Horver, however, was different. While his family was content to work the land, become craftsmen, or tend to a household, Horver dreamt of the world beyond the vale. Sharp of mind but clumsy of body, he was not suited for a life farming or making fine crafts and he sure was not going to have any babies. For many years his inability to fit in with village and family life bothered him. To be sure, he was liked in the village, for he had a quick wit and a ready smile, but he felt that he was destined, or doomed as some in the village would say, for more.

As the years passed and village life ambled slowly by, Horver began to get restless. He had tried to apprentice several times, but those forays ended in disaster. He tried to help his father on the farm, but only succeeded in raising dead plants. Horver began to despair and spent most of his time wandering the woods around the tiny settlement.

On the eve of his twenty-sixth birthday, Horver strolled out into the woods. As he lazily wandered through the trees, Horver heard a twig snap, saw a flash of light, and heard an animal squeal in pain. Horver immediately stopped and sat down quietly beside a bush. Horver, for the first time in his life, felt a surge of fear. Nothing in his life had prepared him for strange happenings or odd noises. Horver sat as still as he could and felt his heart beating out of control, sounding to him like a smith's hammer on an anvil. As time passed, he knew that he would have to control himself if he were to remain hidden. So he slowly calmed his heart and his breathing and then jumped into the air as a voice came from beside him.

"Good you learned to control your fear. That is your first step," said a human with a long flowing beard and a pipe puffing noxious fumes hanging from between his lips.

Horver looked at the man curiously. He had heard of these creatures, but none had ever found their way to the hidden vale. The human cooly regarded him in return, staring into his eyes as if searching.

Ever so quietly the man said, "Horver, I sense some potential in you. If you stay in the village for much longer though I fear the potential will go unrealized."

Horver stared incredulously at the man and stammered, "Who are you? How did you know my name? And potential for what?"

The man let out a chuckle and puffed once again on his pipe, the smoke gathering around his feet.

"Who I am is simple, I am Psion. How I know your name is a trade secret. And as for your potential, you my dear gnome have the potential to become a wizard. Not so great a wizard as I, but a wizard nevertheless," explained the wizard with a wink.

The befuddled gnome sat in silence for some time and then began to protest.

"Me a wizard, I think not. I am a gnome of the hidden vale and we do not have wizards here"

"True, you do not have wizards here. You must travel to Nexus for training."

"But gnomes do not leave their towns," explained Horver quite confidently.

"Some do. In fact I know one myself. A priestess by the name of Verdis."

"You lie, no gnome would go to Nexus. It is too dangerous for people such as us. We must remain hidden."

"Believe what you may, but some gnomes do go off for training and to fight in the war. The people of your village have lived a sheltered life for too long. The war worsens and will come here in time, if all people don't do their parts. And your part my dear gnome is to become a wizard. You have three years to make a decision before your potential withers away."

The wizard, now towering above Horver, abruptly turned and walked away. As he disappeared from sight he mumbled a chant causing a deer carcass to float behind him.

For many months Horver wandered the village in a daze. Even more distant to those around him than usual. He debated what the wizard said in his mind many times, eventually deciding that he had been lied to for that was safer and easier to believe.

Two and half years passed and Horver was still liked in the village, but still had not found his calling. People worried about him. His family sent for his Aunt Gerdie, a wise woman from the neighboring village. She spent many hours talking with Horver about his life and what he wanted. Eventually, Horver, who until this time had kept it secret, told Gerdie about his encounter with Psion.

Gerdie listened carefully and then told Horver that she had heard of this Verdis and that what Psion had said was most probably true. Horver sat in shocked silence, absorbing this new information. Slowly as he searched his heart Horver realized the truth of his soul. He would be a wizard and he would go to Nexus.

That very night Horver packed his meager belongings and headed out of the vale. He traveled for many weeks eventually arriving in Nexus. Two days short of his three year deadline, Horver began his training.

 

Irwas

Class: Mage
Race: Elf

Unlike most mages, Irwas comes from a poor and not so educated family. This sounds very strange, as most mages' education is based on their families. Anyways, to start with his family, they used to live in Rymek, as his father was a fisherman. His mother had died a few days after Irwas was born, when Goblin forces came from the sea and attacked the village of Rymek. From then the family consisted of only 3 members, his father, himself and his older brother, who died some years later.

As they are elves, their origination comes from the Eldane Forest, but his great grandfather moved to Rymek to find better living conditions. However, they suffered from poverty. His great grandfather was an educated man indeed, so was his grandfather. He had studied in Nexus, as well as the University, and he had mastered the art of magics. However, due to their living conditions, his son wasn't able to have a normal education. Luckily, he lived enough to teach Irwas many simple spells. He saved money to be able to send Irwas to Nexus and then to Falcion, so that he could have a proper education as a mage.

From Irwas' childhood, it seemed that he was a very intelligent boy. He read a lot and could solve mathematic and scientific problems in no time. However, due to their living conditions, Irwas grew up in a quite hostile enviroment. So, in spite of spending his time learning in school, he prefered to walk around the streets with his gang and fight against others to take their money. Even though he was weak (as he was an elf), he was very smart and defeated his enemies not by simply fighting, but playing smart tricks on them and making traps. By the age of 17, he was already very experienced with weapons and basic spells.

His grandfather, being afraid that Irwas wouldn't become a mage as he didn't spend time studying, sent him to Nexus (that was before Falcion was created). Irwas was 18 when that happened. However, he was stubborn enough not to change his behaviour in Nexus either. He found new gangs and continued fighting on the streets and stealing. In the underground of Nexus, he was most admired for his high intelligence and his ability to trick the opponents.

But his life was to change soon, as he met the man who would change his point of view and way of living. It was Hjmk (it is pronounced as Hajmik). He was an experienced Half-Giantish warrior, who was famous for his victories against the Hill Giants, outside the West Gates of Nexus. Just for the record, please note that he suicided quite a short time ago.

Anyways, he taught Irwas the basic fighting techniques and how to use sharp and missile weapons. He found scrolls for him to study and provided him shelter. As soon as Falcion was created, he and Irwas' grandfather found money for Irwas to go to Falcion and have a proper training as a mage.

He never involved in any gangs there and he tried to study indeed. He learned many spells and soon got to the 2nd tier of his Guild. He developed into a polite and funny gentleman (as well as a quite handsome elf). He made new friends there and supported them.

Now, he has completed his education in Falcion and is allowed to travel again to Nexus and Rymek. It is said that he lives somewhere in Rymek, with some friends.

 

Kalishar

Class: Mage
Race: Dark Elf

Kalishar eased his weary body down onto the barstool, the mages guild had asked him to talk to the scribe, and that was the only reason he was here. Looking almost as tired than he felt, he ordered a cup of choco juice, no alcohol for him today.

When the scribe came in, he found Kalishar sitting off in the corner by himself, the way most mages seemed to live. Sitting down he pulled out his quill and parchment, and prepared to write the history of the mage some were saying would be the next leader of the mages guild.

"The early part of my life is no business of yours", began Kalishar, "I will keep that secret until I die. Suffice it to say, I had an easy childhood, unlike your human mages. The story you shall hear begins after I had decided to come onto the surface."

"Many was the day I spent awake, gazing at you humans, wishing I could have been born one of you, short lived, and ignorant of the greater plan. I decided that my place was no longer below the ground, but instead among you. I crafted a spell that would allow me, or any of my kind to withstand the suns rays. At first it only worked for short periods, but gradually I began to improve on it, and now am able to stand in the sun, without cover for as long as I wish. That was my first experience with the protective magics I have learned to craft with such expertise."

"when I was able to stand being in the sun for long periods of time, I began my trek to this fair city, it seemed the melting pot, where all were equal, and no-one need be ashamed of his past. Unfortunately I was one of the first Dark Elves to arrive in Nexus, and the population was to treat me as a novelty. Everywhere I walked I was stared at, not easily accepted anywhere except in the mages guild, they did not judge me by my skin, but by my ability. Ability I had in great supply even back then, I proved it by demonstrating my spell, I showed the effects of the sun on me, and then what the spell did for me. I was accepted instantly, and one of the senior mages made the spell have a permanent affect on me."

"After time, the citizens of Nexus grew used to me, and even began to appreciate my cruel sense of humor, I grew to make some good friends here, mostly with the followers of the Dark Lord Tilnar, for they were closest to my nature when I arrived. Over time, my aura has shifted from red to blue, for I have no interest in following the ways of my people. As my nature has shifted, so have my interests, the people here have shown me that self-interest does not have to be the only motivating force, and I feel I have learned that lesson well."

"From time to time I get asked if I would like to join one of the religious cults in Nexus, my answer has always been, and always will be NO. I have seen what the anger of a god can do to his follower, and what they require you to do, it does not interest me."

"Now I suppose you want to know what possessed me to try to cast the spell of Town Shield, the spell that cost Lord Fariol his life. Well, that goes back to when I first came to Nexus, Lord Fariol was the one who inspected me for the guild, and the one who first made the effort to treat me as a person, rather than a curiosity. Over time I grew close to Fariol, came to regard him as an uncle. His death has caused me great personal grief, so when I had the chance to finish what he started, I took it. I also look at what I did as saving the town that has given me so much over the years, and the best chance I was likely to have to show how I have changed."

"That is all I have to tell you, anything else you want to know, you will not be told." With that pronouncement, Kalishar picked up his cup of choco juice, and went to a new table to rid himself of the feeling he had told too much.

 

Mishra

Class: Mage
Race: Human

"Mishra!", the arch wizard roared, "Put that down now!". The young apprentice sighed and put the wand back on its shelf, and went back to her desk.

"How many times have I told you to leave things alone in my laboratory?", the wizard asked.

"I am sorry, Master.", she replied with a weak, trembling voice. The wizard sighed, shook his head, and went back to his work. The girl sat down and resumed reading a great tome, occasionally gazing around the laboratory and its many magical devices and experiments.

Mishra had lived in the tower since she was born, more than eighteen years now, but each day there was something new to attract her curiosity, and draw her attention away from her chores and studies.

The book, "The workings and nature of the weave", was thick and heavy, written by her master decades ago, and contained vast knowledge of how to cast and create spells. She had read it many times before, but each time there was something new to comprehend, or a new way to comprehend it. "Amazing..", she thought, and sank deep into the text.

"Now where did I put it..?", muttered the wizard from behind the shelves. Staring at Mishra with his red, drowish eyes he asked, "Mishra, you wouldn't know where my darkstone transmogrant is, would you? Or has it vanished into thin air?"

Glancing down at the desk in the corner, where she left it last time she used it, she replied, "No, master.. perhaps you forgot to put it back in its place..?", and swalloved.

"Fantastic.. fabulous..", he muttered and walked off. Feeling guilty once again, Mishra sighed and decided to take her reading to the library instead.

The next day as she was sweeping the laboratory floor, the arch wizard approached her, "Mishra, so many years have you been my apprentice, but there are things you never learn..", he took a deep breath and continued, "..I am about to begin a major experiment, and I can no longer have you here disrupting me with your curiosity and disobedience." He walked over to a window and looked out across the ocean, "I am sending you away for a time, you will learn and study on your own from now, on a far away island."

He studied her for a while and continued, "This was not my wish.. but it will do you good. Perhaps one day you will return wiser than myself.. it is my hope.", he sighed and quietly looked out across the vast ocean. "Pack your bag, girl, you will be leaving early tomorrow."

No ships had ever passed by before, but this day a small sailing vessel anchored up and a row boat approached the tower. Mishra and the wizard walked down the winding stairs and she boarded the boat. Not much was said before she was on her way and the wizard returned to his library.

He sat down on a chair by the window and watched the ship disappear beyond the horizon. Glancing up towards a painting on the wall he thought to himself, "My love.. perhaps if you had still been here this would not have to happen.." The painting was old and dusty, a young beautiful human lady smiling down at the wizard. "Perhaps I have failed you perhaps not.. but I trust our daughter shall be safe.." His usually expressionless, drowish face now looked troubled and concerned as he silently went back to his work.

 

Myrn

Class: Mage
Race: Half-elf

Myrn woke up yawning and looking around him. They were still sleeping. He was born in a noble family, A drow house with much power and many enemies.

Myrn though was pretty sheltered from this. He was studying magic. The fighting was left for his elder brothers. Myrn shared this shelter with one other brother. His name was Elgghinn and he was Myrn's favorite brother. The two had the chores of magic and assassination their father gave his sons paths at birth. Due to his elder brother's job. Elgghinn spent alot of time sneaking around home. The other brothers were out campaigning so Myrn and Elgghinn spent a lot of time together. The day came when Myrn's brothers went to Nexus, their father believing that they would become better at fighting. Myrn never understood what his father wanted with his sons and why their paths were already chosen by him, But some grand scheme it was. So one day all of his brothers had gone. Myrn alone was left behind.

The days went along slowly. Myrn felt bad for he could learn no more.

The day when Myrn heard he was going to Nexus he was overwhelmed with joy. His brothers awaited him and he was going to meet with them in Nexus finally.

He packed his things and early one morning left the Vein. Myrn's travels to Rymek was easy, He followed a road to Nexus and then went southwards. Myrn there took the sloop to Falcion and began training. He struggles to become a good mage and seeks his brothers, already having found his assassin brother.

 

Quasinart

Class: Mage
Race: Elf

Not sure what he was doing in the forest, Quasinart decided to practice his manipulation of the weave. Sitting on a stump, he opens his spellbook. Deciding on 'hurt', he looks around quickly for a target. Spying a small raccoon in the trees, he focuses his energies. "Breeze, be gentle no more," he chants. Looking startled, the raccoon races under a small bush. Quasinart mutters to himself, and starts walking towards home. In the small human village of Silladel, there is a turmoil brewing. The townsfolk have discovered that a family has been raising one not of their own. In the town meeting that was called, the outcome of this crime will be determined. The family in question has been harboring an elf that it had found alone in the woods. Not only is the elf not human, but it also seems that it has an affinity for the arts. Being very resistant to change, and afraid of the unknown, the townsfolk are asking that the family be exiled from the village.

As Quasinart approaches the streets of the village he grew up in, he notices that something is not quite right. There is very little activity on the streets, though the suns are high in the sky. With great trepidation, Quasinart walks into the village. Walking through the empty streets, he hears faint talking from farther down the road, near the town hall.

Walking around the building, he sneaks a look into the side window. The sight inside is not one he was expecting to see. His parents are sitting on a stand facing the front, at which sits a panel of elderly looking men. Straining, he can just make out the conversation going on inside. He quickly grasps the significance what the people are talking about. The entire village is gathered here, talking about him! He listens in for a while before realizing what must happen. Hurrying home, thoughts run through his head. Where will he go? What will he do?

The fate of the family has been decided. They were given two options: Leave the village with the elf, or force the elf to leave the village alone. They must decide what they will do before the suns rise the next day. With heads hung low, they head home. Walking through the door, they were greeted with a surprise. All of Quasinart's things were gone, and there was a note on the table.

Dear Family, I overheard what transpired at the town hall. Rather than burden your lives any further, I will depart now, and take care of myself. I thank you deeply for hosting me, these past eight months. I have learned a great deal, and will strive to be as good as you have taught me. Please forgive me for causing strife in your lives. I will keep in touch. Indebted for life, Quasinart

Walking through the forest, Quasinart comes to a clearing with a lone tree in the center. With a fit of frustration and anger, he unleashes a fierce fireball on the tree. Shaking the tree, a sprite falls to the ground. Surprised, he walks over to the injured sprite. She has a broken wing, but otherwise seems unhurt. Feeling pity for the small creature, Quasinart offers his help. She is lost, and scared. Quasinart offers to help her find her home. After many small adventures, they reach a large city called Nexus. They decide that this would be the perfect place for Epiphany the sprite to find someone to lead her home, and for Quasinart to find himself.

The rest is history.

 

Quigby

Class: Mage
Race: Elf

Quigby Limbdancer was born to two great noble elven warriors. His father and mother, Danner and Luna, were masters of the blade, moving as one with their weapons. The only child of these two warriors, great things were expected of Quigby. Unfortunately, the thin child born to them seemed to have inherited little of his parents innate talents with the blade. At an early age, Quigby was sent to the finest blademasters who could be found. Invariably, his tutelage would be quite short. Finally, his parents had to accept that the life of a warrior was not to be for their son. This being the case, Quigby was sent to religious training so that he might learn the ways of the gods and bring healing to other warriors in battle. This short, but extremely frustrating time for his parents, ended in Quigby being banned from a monastery and two temples. Finally, Luna and Danner decided that Quigby was to be sent to his great grandsire, Reluran to learn the ways of magic.

His great grandsire had studied the weave and all its intricacies for quite some time. To him, the weave's powers were to be harnessed only through force of will by following strict guidelines. Quigby entered this man's life like a tornado. The easiest of spells were difficult for young Quigby, the difficult theorems bored him, yet, much to the chagrin of his grandsire, Quigby showed an amazing talent for manipulating the weave in an unorthodox manner. Instead of following the rigorous methods of his teacher, Quigby was fast and free with his use of magic, undaunted by the inherent dangers. Strangely enough, though his mistakes were great and often explosive, Quigby seemed to always make it through unscathed; something his grandsire attributed it to the gods mercy upon fools. Though their methods were different, grandson and great-grandfather grew close. Recognizing that Quigby could not learn and achieve his full potential under him, Reluran sent Quigby to Falcion, so that he could learn through action instead of study.

Armed with several wagons of clothes, a portion of his inheritance, and his immutable attitude, Quigby arrived at Falcion, ready to show all exactly how magic should be practiced. Since then, he has served as a scribe, avoided being mana-burned for insubordination, found adventure at every corner, and learned quite a bit about magic. Though those are other stories.

 

Reed

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

"Hello, I am a reporter for the nexus newspaper" the man continued "oh my name is not important for this story is about another. It all started the month of Prairiefire when I was asked, by my superiors, to find a hero and to write a story on him or her. I of course accepted knowing that it was my job and I ventured out into the streets of Nexus. I walked in to the town square where I spotted a reni not talking to anyone, but instead sitting quietly and alone puffing a long, well-crafted heartwood pipe. After looking at him I paid no more attention to him and looked around at the many others talking about adventure, danger and other interesting things. The reni remained silent until a man from the crowd shouted "this is a horrible weapon it is dirty and looks rusted!, don't you agree with me Reed?" the man said towards the reni smoking a pipe. The reni, apparently named Reed, looked up and said to him "The appreciation of a gift should not be valued on the worth of the gift, but the kindness of the giver" the crowd drew silent, watching him and for a moment seemed to be in complete awe. I quickly rushed over to him saying "Hello my name is Jim I am doing a report for the Nexus Chronicle and an interesting fellow like you would suit the job." Reed looked up to me, chuckled and said "Me? interesting I believe you are mistaken, but if that is what you wish I will cooperate." I then led Reed to a tavern to talk about his life."

"We quickly found a table and I bought Reed a pint of ale. He sat there sipping his drink and smoking his pipe saying nothing. I finally broke the silence "So, Reed tell me about your life, your family, where you come from etc." He stared at me deeply as if he could see through me, into my thoughts. I was sitting there waiting patiently for him to speak thinking to myself "Gosh hurry up you fool" and right before I got up and left he began, "I shall go at my own pace for I came here on request and I am most definitely not a fool." My mouth dropped open and I could think of nothing to say. He puffed his pipe and blew a smoke ring "I am from a town of Reni far to the east, beyond the desert. I can not reveal its name for I promised I would never do so". He puffed his pipe "My family is large, but my immediate family is not, I am an only child but I have many cousins, nephews and nieces." He sipped his ale and began again "Before I began my adventure to Nexus I was the town historian, there is always one at our town a wise fellow.... he had just passed away Rues was his name, one of the wisest people I will ever know." He stared at me puffing his pipe and sipping his ale from time to time and I could think of nothing else to say. "Not as interesting as you would of guessed I see!" he laughed to himself. I knew he was hiding much of his life story, but why hide it I was not bad and he must of known it. I muttered "Are you a mind reader?" he laughed and responded "I wish I possessed the power and concentration skills to become one." I wanted to ask him what he meant but I knew it would only lead me to some hollow mysterious answer."

"He asked me "Is there anything else that you wish to ask?" I thought and thought and thought but nothing I knew to ask. Besides I had asked all the questions I usually do and they usually lead me to enough information to write a book. He then said "I take it you answered my question in silencer therefore a no... farewell my friend!" and he walked out. I looked down at my note pad and grumbled in seeing that I had only had the words: big family, only child, far east hidden village, historian. I sighed to myself "what a waste of time." I knew this Reni must of had an interesting story but he gave his advice and knowledge thoughtfully and it was assembled in little puzzles left for your mind to figure out. This Wizard was truly mysterious....."

 

Renton

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

I used to sit at a quiet little corner table in Kalim's ( you know the one) and read a book. Sipping coffee or whiskey depending on my mood; watching the people; pondering. I still do sometimes. I would see the scribes to talk to some of our more prominent citizens. Harried, their arms full of hastily wrapped up scrolls, quills behind their ears, they reminded me of myself in the way that they so clearly loved knowledge. But at the same time, I felt akin to the people they were coming to speak with: strong and full of self- confidence. So, I was a little surprised, but quite pleased, when one of the scribes came up to me at my table one day and asked if he could speak to me about where I came from and why I was here.

I asked him his name (Leopold) and told him that I would be more then happy to speak with him. "Sit down," I encouraged him, "and I will answer any questions you may have". But as he sat and rolled out a fresh scroll on the table, dipping his quill in the ever present ink jar, I noticed how red and bloodshot his eyes were and how he was clearly fighting off sleep.

"Leopold, friend," I told him. "Why don't you go home to your family and get some sleep. I can write this and deliver it to you tomorrow morning".

Leopold thanked me graciously as he collected his belongings, dropping a number of quills on the floor when he bent over to bow. "No need for that, " I said with a smile, shooing him away. "Head off now and rest". Leopold bowed again, backing away, before turning and hurrying to the door, clearly relieved. And I found myself in the curious position of being an autobio -grapher. I called the waitress over and ordered some more whiskey to prepare myself for the task ahead...

So it was decided, upon my eighteenth birthday, that I should follow in the path of my forebears and go away to the University in order to expand my knowledge. I packed my clothes and a few choice books in a small nap sack. My mother prepared some food for me. I said my good byes with a tier and a hug and headed out.

I was to walk to the next village and meet an old Renis there who supposedly knew the way though the mountains. He himself was too old to travel with me, but he had prepared me maps and detailed instructions. As I shook his hand and bid him goodbye, he reminded me to be careful and to always travel south, always south. I'm not going to lie to you and say my journey was easy. I walked for three weeks before I began to see signs of civilization, and even then I still had another two weeks to go. The people I passed seemed quite shocked to see me, even frightened, and I realized it had been a number of years since a member of my race had been seen walking amongst them. On the whole, though the journey was a very positive experience (except for that night, early on when I fell asleep in a Nightwraith's Cave, but that is a story for another time). I learned to fend for myself and deal with the hardships of the road. I learned to sense danger and how to avoid it. And, I learned, when necessary, to fight. I knew that I had only just scratched the surface of these skills, but I remain to this day appreciative of the lessons learned on my journey.

So at long last I arrived in the Nexus, eager to begin my studies. I searched the entire town, however and discovered no University. What had happened to it? (I told you we were out of touch). I spent a great deal of time in the Library, reading up on the past. I spoke with scribes and adventurers alike. Yes, there had been a University, but it had been a part of the old city. It now lay in ruins, buried somewhere beneath my very feet.. For a number of days, I did not know what I was going to do. I wandered the streets, defending myself when necessary. I went to the library and read, but the knowledge contained within the books seemed paltry compared to what could be learned in the halls of the University. I went on like this until I could stand it no longer. One day, I followed a group of adventurers under the city, sneaking behind them. I knew that I could very likely get killed, for I was not very strong, but I had to find the university. And, I did. And it was glorious. I would spend hours there, sitting in a corner, reading by the light of a single candle while others would occasionally fight around me. Eventually, I began taking scrolls and books out with me, reading them in the more comfortable surroundings of Kalim's or the Unicorn. And my thirst for knowledge grew.

But all of this I did with no other purpose then to serve my own thirsts and desires. Deep down, I knew this was wrong. I would soon have experiences, however, that would set me straight and give me a renewed sense of Hope. During my first festival in the Nexus, I met Pandora who, like the other deities, was walking amongst us. Through her, I was able to see that my knowledge an power could be channeled for a greater good then my own. In her was the perfect expression of what is right with knowledge. During that week, I also saw what can happen to knowledge if it becomes corrupted. As I saw the look of madness in Arskol's eyes, crouching in the tower of the Library while the other gods battled him, I became even more certain that his was not the path I wanted to take and that Pandora's was. I pledged myself to her wholeheartedly.

So we reach the present. And I sit here in Kalim's, writing. When I am done I will go out and walk the streets, talking to my friends, helping those who need it. I know that there is still much more to be learned and I feel confident that I will use that knowledge as Pandora would wish me to. Hope to you all, and Leopold, if you are reading this, I hope that you have slept well.

 

Scorpio

Class: Mage
Race: Humann

It was a regular day in Kalim's Tavern, where citizens of Nexus were sitting and relaxing after another fight against Goblins. Everyone was talking about their victories and losses, strange encounters, and they were so deeply into the conversations, that noone even noticed the Reni Scribe, who wandered into the Tavern, looking for another story. He spotted a tall man with blond hair, who wore golden robes with a strange symbol on them.....a symbol of a scorpion. Scribe got a little closer to the man, and whispered something into his ear, and then went to the far corner of tavern . The man stood up, and said:" Excuse me, brothers, I have to do something important.", and joined Scribe.

"Who are you and what do you want from me?" the man said to Scribe. "Excuse me for interrupting, sir, but i am looking for stories of lives of Nexus citizens, for a collection that we put together in the Library. I was just wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me...", said Scribe and got a sheet of paper and a pen out of his bag. "You want the story of my life, stranger? OK, then you shall hear it" , the man smiled and took another drink out of his glass.

"My name is Scorpio, and i was born in Rymek....you know, a small village on the Sea of Tears...My father was a fisherman, his father was a fisherman, so they wanted me to be a fisherman too. One can say, that i wasn't very happy about their choice..i mean, being a fisherman was fine, but i wanted more in my life than just going fishing every day to feed my family. But I had no choice, so i had to go and help my father. Being at sea was very interesting, and very dangerous. Several times I saw Sirens, swimming in waves and waving us. It was a very dangerous life, and I started to like it. But, suddenly everything ended. The war came to our peaceful village. First the sky turned dark, like the gods became angry at each other, and then goblins came. We managed to maintain the perimeter of our village, so they never were able to get inside, but outside the village was very dangerous, and only the bravest were going to Nexus through Torthese forest.

One night, when i was almost 18, I woke up because of sounds of thunderstrikes and flashes of lightnings. I looked out the window and saw something very unusual.....not very far from the village , lightnings were flashing, and just above one place, like there was a giant blacksmith there. I couldn't resist. I got up, put on my armor and took my weapons and sneaked out the door. It was raining, the sky was the darkest ever. As I was closing to the place where I saw lightnings, I started hearing war screams of goblins and I thought: "This is it. It was a trap, I am dead now."" Scorpio took one more drink, tossed the empty bottle away and yelled :"Bartender, one more bottle here!".

"I didn't want to die without a fight", Scorpio continued," so I decided to get get a little closer and see, who were against me. As I stepped into the small wooden area, I saw a man, wearing red robes, surrounded by 5 or 6 goblin warriors. I thought :" This is it! This is the chance I was waiting for! No more fishing!", and I went into battle. The man looked around and said :"Thank you , stranger. Together we may have a chance to survive". The battle was long and very hard. I fought goblin soldiers before, but warriors were much, much harder to kill. Several times I was close to death, and only spells, that the man was casting at me, kept me alive. There was just one warrior left, and I thought that it was all over, when goblin made a vital strike on the man. I killed warrior, but man was lying on the ground, almost dead. He said:"Thank you for your help, stranger. You saved my life. But I still need your help. Can you please take me to your home and let me heal up?"

I lifted him up and carried to the Rymek. As I was closing to the my house, I saw an awful picture. Something , that looked like a skeleton, sneaked from my house towards an old galleon on the pier. I ran into the house and realized that my father and mother were murdered in sleep. I didn't know who was it, but I had a pretty good idea about it.

I buried my father in the Sea of Tears, like he always wanted. The Wizard, that I saved, was getting better and better. One day he said to me:" I want to thank you, Scorpio, for saving my life. But I don't know how to do it. So I will give you an advise. Go to the city of Nexus, don't stay here. Being a fisherman is not for you. You deserve much more in your life, than that. I can feel the strength of mage in you. One day you will be a great mage. Go to the city , and find the mage tower. It's on the intersection of Market and Pine streets. Join the guild. One day you will be a great mage. And now, I must go. There is still a lot of goblins around the city, and we have to stop them". So he went away and disappeared. I never saw him in my life after that. I decided to trust him and went to the city of nexus as soon as I could. Finding the tower was easy, and soon I wore Blue robes of apprentice. Many years went by from that moment. But I was not able to find out, who that man was, and what happened to him. But I intend to do so."

Scorpio layed back on his chair, and finished his bottle." Well, stranger, if you have any other questions, ask them now." Scribe stood up and said :" No, sir. I'm sorry for interrupting your little party. But that was very interesting story. I have to go now, but I'll make sure it will get to library." Scribe bowed and disappeared in clouds of smoke. Scorpio stood up, looked at the half empty bottle, tossed it into trash and walked out of tavern. He had to get some sleep, because next day was supposed to be even harder than any others, because goblins were seen right outside eastern gates. The time has came for him to do what a long time ago strange Wizard did: go and fight for Nexus.

 

Se'mur

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

I grew up in a fairly normal family, on the island of Ruvur, born the first of the month of the dragon. I lived with my parents, Richard and Ulanda for the better part of my life, they offered me everything I could ever want or need, though we were no richer than the slightly lesser person. They worked hard to give me a life of my own, I greatly appreciate their efforts and will forever be indebted to them. They allowed me to pursue any dream that I could imagine, forbade me only of following the god of Kyorl, one they dispised greatly.

I searched constantly for something that could hold my interest, something to keep me occupied, but nothing could sooth the hunger I had inside for something unknown to even myself. I held few jobs, and always had my nose buried in a book, in constant thought and wonderment at the things that had happened in history, and the things that happened the present day. I often fantasized that I could become a hero, such as the ones in some of the books I read. I would picture myself as a warrior, fighting the devious goblin hordes and saving the day. Where I grew up, magick was not known well, at least not to myself nor my family. We lived in a secluded cabin miles away from most of society.

I held a job at a local tavern in a small town near to us, where adventurers and explorers often passed through. One day I overheard rumors of the townfolk about a follower of Kyorl, an assassin, that had supposedly slain a man of great wealth and power. I went about my business cleaning up and serving the few that happened to wander into the tavern, mostly all very drunk, then went home where I slept the rest of the day away.

That night I had a strange nightmare. I envisioned a peculuar man. He wore black torn robes, and he whispered strange words to me. His words I mostly do not remember, the ones I do I do not understand, and to this day I don't know of the language they were spoken in. He called forth creatures from the ground, ones long since dead, ones that shrieked in the blackness of the void I seemed to hurl through. His face I could not make out, his eyes glowed red as he pointed the crooked silver staff towards me, and spoke a word that I did understand. "You." His voice was deep and raspy, and terrified me.

I awoke from my dream soaked in sweat, and sitting upright from my pillow. Frantically I searched the room, and when I found nothing out of the ordinary, I pushed the nightmare to the back of my mind and soon forgot about it. I fell back into a deep sleep, and slept the rest of the night.

The next day I traveled to the tavern, happily going about my business, for that day was the day I would be paid, and I could buy the new book that I had wanted so much. Late in the day, a man walked into the tavern that looked strikingly familiar. He wore black robes, the hood covering most of his face, only his large white nose descending into view. It finally hit me as I was serving him some Blackroot Tea, that he was the figure I saw in my dreams. As it hit me, a slight smile crossed his lips, as if he knew. There was a moment of silence as I stood awestruck, and he said "This is the best tea that I have had in years." I finally sputtered my thanks and walked away, but I was soon sitting in front of him, holding a conversation of small talk about the town. His face I can't remember, and that's what strikes me as strange. I vaguely remember most of his words, at least, the important ones.

There was something about him, something...fulfilling. It was like this was where I was supposed to be, and I knew it, I could feel it...something inside me. We finally got around to the talk of magick, and I became very curious. He showed me a book, one that I believe now to have contained ancient incantations, ones written in the same language I believe him to have spoke to me in my dream. He suddenly became very cautious, and stuffed the black book back into his pouch to his side, and told me to meet him outside of the tavern late that night. He also told me that my parents could not know where I was going, or what I was doing. Of course I objected at first, but before I had time he was gone. A fleet of guardsmen arrived soon after he had vanished, and quiried me as to his whereabouts. I felt compelled to tell them that I had never seen him before, but if I did, I would let them know. The leader took his men off in a huff of disbelief.

That night I met the man outside of the tavern. The rain pounded, and the storm outside raged, blowing the sign to the tavern in the wind. We rode horse-back, and we talked of magick now and then. He said that I must train hard if I ever wanted to truly understand why he had came for me, and said that I must practice in the art of what was called a mage. He took me to the island of apprentiship, Falcion, and said that someday we would meet again in the town of Nexus.

To this day I await his return, until then, I am in constant searching of his whereabouts. Someday, I hope to find that man, and ask him all the questions that have been bottled up inside for so many years. That day will be of great consequence to the rest of my life, I'm sure of it. And that is why I am here, in Nexus, to learn what I can so that I may understand why I was called upon.

 

Silvereye

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

Years I've been trying to write this, but have been unsuccessful to put my history down on parchment due to the pains I've endured when I think of my past. I have lived a life of tragedy, where no exit could be found to escape what seemed like a death of starvation, and loneliness. I would like to thank Elayna for helping me tell my past without being saddened as I usually did. This is the story of Silvereye Kornelius Paleo.

I was born on Maaur in the month of Wildfire in the year 1,537 since the Godswar in Nexus. My parents, whose names were Palin and Kalina, were poor merchants who sold goods acquired at Tiger's Trading Shop. From what I know of, they had no relatives in Nexus. I was the second generation of Paleos in the City of All Races.

We lived on a carpet on Market Street, just a little bit west of the Town Square. We ate food given to us by a guy who owned a tavern near by (I don't know the name of the person, or the tavern ). I had a brother, maybe two (I'll explain it later). His name was Tarnash. He wanted to be a warrior, which was unusual for a Reni. He, like most big brothers, liked to pick on me. He was also an excellent salesman. And that was my everyday life for 11 years, just regular selling stuff to people on the streets.

When I turned 11, Nexus was attacked by goblins. Screams could be heard a mile away as people ran to their homes in fear from the hoards. My brother, who was nearing 17 years old, defended the city with my father. My mother and I hid behind the newspaper stand, which would become the main place of hiding for us for 15 more years. Fortunately, the goblins had not broken into the city this time.

My father returned, a body in his arms. It was my brother, blood smeared all over his face. The look of horror was a basic way to describe his face. A giant wound could be seen on his leg, and one was on his shoulder. He had died when three goblins came at him when he was alone. They used him for target practice with their spears.

Deep sadness made my mother not eat for days. When she finally did eat something, it turned out it was moldy bread with a bottle of Dwarven Ale. My dad stopped working for several days due to the shock of having one less son.

Years and years went by, and I finally turned 26. I awoke on an early morning to find my father and mother missing. I figured that they went to get more stuff to sell at the pawnshop, so I waited and snacked on some food ... Days passed, and still no parents returned. Had they abandoned me? I refused to believe so. I searched around for weeks, but no sign of my mother or father.

I wish it had stayed that way, for what I saw on the 17th of the month of Twilight has haunted me for over 80 years. I was walking around at dark, and came into a back alley. I saw a body on the ground, and quick rushed over to see if someone had a heart attack or something. I looked at the person. It was a lady ... A Reni lady ... I turned her over, to see the pendant I had given her for her 250th birthday, a truly happy day in her life. But that wasn't all I saw ... Guts and blood hung out of her chest, daggers had been stuck into her forehead and legs. I could only stand to look at my mother's wounds once before I vomited continuously and ran down the alleyway.

I tried to give my mother a proper burial, but due to the poorness of me, she had to be buried in the ground outside the south gate, instead of a graveyard where she would have liked to be, where she still is today.

When I was around 110, I was apprenticed in Falcion to become a mage. It was there that I learned how to shoot a longbow, cast spells, and most of all, make friends. I met tons of new people, just being apprenticed themselves.

It wasn't soon, and I had achieved the 7th tier and could go to Nexus. I met a whole bunch of people who were described to me by young men in taverns as heroes. I also met one very interesting and funny person, who is in the Barbarians Guild, named Ork. He considered me his lovable pet, and decided to keep me so I wouldn't run away. It was probably the funniest experience I've ever encountered in my life.

One day, I was checking the post office in Nexus for any letters that I may have, and the postmaster handed me an unusual one. With no return address or name, it described to me that I have a brother, and he is it. I have not confirmed that this is true, and have not been encountered by anyone who fits this person's description. I hope to find out if this letter is of the truth or not, but until then, I have something to look forward to.

I have only started living my life to the fullest, after so much sadness and pain in my life that has haunted me throughout the years. Hopefully, I will become as happy as these fine heroes that walk through the world every day, looking for action and adventure. And some laughs along the way would be great too. Until then, I'll just fight proudly, for I am a citizen of the City of All Races.

 

Sinister

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

In the farthest reaches of the North, far beyond the habitable reaches of the Nymarian waste, a frigid gust strengthened in a swirl of snowflakes. It gained speed and direction as it surged through a great crevasse that severed one of the massive ice flows. Whipping along the frozen tundra, it fled the dominion of ice, and speedily moved towards a warmer clime. When the great Crystal Mountains reared up before the gale, it climbed quickly to their lofty heights. Great Snow Eagles gathered their young under wing as the freezing blast ruffled feathers and chilled blood. Up the gale climbed until it swirled through the parapets of the Great Ice Castle that stood at the apex of Elaria, the greatest of the Crystal Mountains. Through the portcullis and down the merciless face of Elaria the polar blast soared, into the reaches of the vast Eldane below.

Selanu perched like a falcon on a stout branch jutting out of an ancient oak tree. Her keen eyes followed the doe below predatorily. She reflected on the beauty of the creature and recited a silent prayer of thanks to Erisar, the Lord of the Hunt, for her stroke of luck in making such a find. In one silent motion she nocked an arrow and drew the feathers to her cheek. At the instant of her release, a frigid blast of wind tore the very leaves from the tree around her and nearly sent her tumbling from the oak. She uttered a quiet curse as the arrow took the doe in the midsection instead of the heart. With a high pitched whistle it bounded off into the wilderness. Selanu sighed deeply and pulled her rabbit fur cloak closer about her shoulders to ward off the wintry breeze. There was nothing to do now but begin the tracking. Dropping nimbly from the tree, she strode the fifty paces to where the doe last stood. She sat down on her heels and fingered a few drops of the warm blood lying upon the new fallen leaves. Hazel eyes followed the line of the spoor as she raised her head slowly. Running appeared to be effortless grace as she dashed off into the morning.

Faran Dobir mopped his brow with a dirty rag and squinted his azure eyes as the sun crept higher into the morning sky. The relentless heat that was characteristic of the harvest season sat heavily upon the land. The merchant pulled his wide-brimmed hat down a bit lower and loosened a button on his white linen shirt pondering the thought that no Reni should be out in weather such as this. Half a day of travel would bring him to the eastern gates of the City of All Races, and more importantly, within reach of a glass of chilled Icewine at Trista's tavern. The latter thought brought a lopsided smile to his weather beaten face. Cursing the light coat of fur that was characteristic to his race, he slapped the reins against his two packhorses and stared off down the road.

Faran shrieked a wordless cry as the brush to his left exploded in a chaos of multicolored leaves. He managed to stand on the seat of his cart and face his assailant moments before an attack struck him in the center of his chest. The force of the blow hurtled him from the cart and he landed violently on his back. Startled by the sudden noise and ensuing confusion, the two packhorses pulling the cart reared up and tore off down the hard-pack road, pulling their burden in a flight driven by panic. The attacker dashed off into the hedges on the opposite side of the road and the sounds of its flight quickly faded. Rolling to his stomach, Faran slowly breathed out a long moan of agony. The cloud of dust caused by the tumult had nearly settled and the noises of the surrounding forest began to return to normal. Pushing his hands down into the dust, he drew himself to his knees and began to take stock of his situation. His white linen shirt was spattered with red stains and covered in brown dust. Alarmed, buttons flew as he tore open the front of his shirt searching for the source of the bleeding. A cursory inspection showed that the blood spots covering the shirt did not originate from his body. 'Perhaps from poor Bonnie or Tag,' he thought glumly. Faran brought a hand to his brow to shade his eyes from the relentless sun as they searched for his team and cart. As he cast them up the road, they came to rest on first his hat, then his equine charges. They stood a mere 200 paces away, happily chewing on the dry grass that lined the sides of the road. He barked out half a laugh that degenerated into a coughing fit when a sharp, frigid wind swirled dust up from the road. Shivering and cursing the freakish weather, the Reni stood up and began to make his way to the cart.

The doe paused in an effort to gather her remaining energies. Huge brown eyes rolled with dimming vision, stopping for merely a moment on the tall furry creature bending down to retrieve something before continuing on its journey. With a dash she was off despite short breaths becoming shorter while tired muscles gave their final efforts at flight. Finally the doe's foreleg crashed into a fallen branch sending her tumbling down a steep embankment. She came to rest at the bottom of a gully with the broken shaft of an arrow protruding upwards from a bloody wound in her stomach. A valiant effort to regain her feet failed miserably and she crashed back to her bed of leaves, body wracked with spasms. A feeble whistle and sputter of blood from her throat marked the end of her efforts. As her skyward eye glazed over, it was fixed on a black vulture circling high above.

When Faran arrived at his cart, he cast his glance in every direction for several moments, searching for signs of observation. When he felt comfortable, he slid a board from underneath his seat and plunged his arm into the resulting hole. His face visibly relaxed and he pulled a silver box from the opening. With a second glance over each shoulder, Faran opened the box for a brief moment and eyed the contents. The box contained several hundred thousand gold pieces worth of blackwood lotus extract, a high profitable, dangerous, and illegal drug. Faran glanced at the sun and cursed with the knowledge that he was already late for the meeting with his contact at Madame Despana's. There would be no time for a drink at Trista's tavern now. Faran quickly placed the box back into its hiding place and carefully slid the board back into place. Placing a hand on the front wagon wheel, he vaulted into his seat. There would be time enough, and gold, for all the wine he wanted later. This was the sale that was going to finally make him a rich Reni. With a snap of the reins, the cart lurched forward.

Selanu quietly slipped from the brush lining the road while her eyes searched for signs of danger. Casting her glance upwards, she marked the black vultures she had seen through the forest canopy a few minutes earlier. 'Who could have imagined the doe would have such strength,' she mused. She had been tracking the doe for the entire morning and sweat beaded on her brow from the long journey. An expert eye watched the vultures and judged her quarry was very near. She paused a moment to take a draught from her waterskin and reflect on the journey. Her elven village of Talmet was much too far to carry her quarry to now. The City of All Races was much closer. She would have to carry the deerskin and whatever else she could manage and trade it there. With a sigh of resignation, Selanu melted back into the forest in the direction of the vultures.

Faran reined in Bonnie and Tag with a look of trepidation. The walls of the City of All Races loomed high above him even though he stopped a good hundred paces from the gate. The remaining space was filled with all manner of covered wagons and carriages waiting to enter the bustling city. Faran hopped down from his cart and called the attention of a caravan guard lounging against the wagon in front of him, 'Ho there, good man. What is the meaning of this delay?' The caravan guard spit into the dust and loosened his sword in his scabbard as he turned to and walked over to Faran. 'Seems the guards have caught wind of some'tin,' the guard spat out. 'I hear it told they be search'in every wagon com'in from the East. What sort of wares do you be bring'in to the City?' The caravan guard drew himself up to his full height in an effort to look into the back of Faran's cart over the raised seat. 'Oh, just some feed for the stables,' Faran quickly answered. 'Nothing the city guard would be interested in I'm sure.' The caravan guard nodded and sunk back down to his heels. 'Well I'm sure ye have nothing to fear then,' the caravan guard sneered, 'The last bloke who was caught with contraband stills a hang'in from the city walls.' The caravan guard then turned away and pointed upwards on his way back to his wagon. Faran followed his finger up to a place high on the wall where ... something ... was suspended by a length of thick rope. It was difficult to make out because of the multitude of carrion birds tearing pieces of flesh from their perches upon it. Faran weakly sat back upon his cart and stared forward into whatever destiny awaited him.

'Something has to be done about him,' Fariol stated firmly, 'Something has to be done ... and soon.' Thelia's eyes followed the Master of the Ivory Tower as he paced along the railing on the balcony outside of his office. Her mission from the wizards' guild of Tholm had taken an unexpected twist, and not for the better. Fariol stopped his pacing and placed both his hands onto the gilded balustrade, leaning outward to survey the City of All Races under the afternoon sun. 'His black tower is a boil on the southern half of the realms,' Fariol spat, 'A boil it seems that I am going to have to personally lance.' Thelia sighed softly and moved to Fariol's side, placing her left hand over his right as she took a position next to him. Softly she said, 'Do not let your temper get the better of you Tower Master. He has grown quite powerful ...' Thelia drew in her breath for the inevitable outburst her next statement would cause, ' ... perhaps even more powerful than you. A direct confrontation may not be your wisest course of action.' She felt Fariol quickly tense, but his reaction was far from what she expected. Fariol sighed and spoke quietly, 'Your counsel is wise as usual Mistress of Tholm, but the time has come for action.' Fariol turned towards Thelia and pulled her to face him with each of his hands on her shoulders. He looked deep into her eyes and spoke to her on her intimate telepathic mode. 'What are we to do my love?' Thelia sighed and rested her head against Fariol's chest as she replied, 'Whatever must be done, we can do it together.' Fariol gathered her into a tender embrace just as a frigid blast sent his cloak flapping like a flag in the wind. They lingered in one another's arms for several minutes, drawing strength from the warmth of their bodies. Reluctantly, Fariol stepped back and looked once again into Thelia's eyes. Composing himself, he spoke solemnly, 'The time has come.' The Master of the Ivory Tower turned and strode back into his office. 'Guards!' Fariol barked. A moment later two guardsman brandishing halberds rushed into Fariol's office. After ascertaining that the Tower Master was in no immediate danger, the two guards dropped to their knees and spoke in unison, 'How may we serve you milord?' Fariol's stare was far off as he commanded, 'I want the city guard and auxiliaries assembled immediately. We march on the Tower of Sar'Mordal at dawn.'

The city guardsman raised his hand and motioned Faran to bring his cart up to the gate. With a light shake of the reins, he set his cart in motion and prayed that the turmoil in his stomach did not show on his face. 'Whoa there!' the guardsman barked. Faran reined in Bonnie and Tag bringing the cart to a halt. One guardsman grabbed the reins from Faran and another began to question him, 'What is your business in the City of All Races merchant?' 'I'm bringing in some feed for Sharma's Stables,' Faran answered quickly. Sweat beaded on his forehead and ran down his temple as the guardsman held his gaze for a moment. The guardsman then moved to the rear of his cart and began poking through the feed sacks. 'Merchant! Come here!' the guardsman barked from the rear of the cart. Faran slipped from his seat onto the flat stones that paved the road just outside of the gate and sauntered to the rear of his cart. 'Yes sir?' he asked innocently. The guard looked at him suspiciously and asked, 'These sacks bear the mark of a granary just outside of Tholm. What profit did you expect to gain by carrying them halfway across the realms?' 'I was able to purchase them at a discount in Rosehelm,' Faran explained attempting to be convincing, 'A young lass named Maeve sold them to me at Tyler's Trading post.' The guardsman looked at Faran skeptically for a moment before saying, 'I wasn't aware that Tyler's traded in grain.' He whirled to his right and called out, 'Sergeant Diggs, come have a look at this cart.' Faran took an unconscious step back as his nerves frayed to the very edge. Eyes darting right and left, he searched for a means of egress. Finally, he settled back in a balanced stance and eased his short sword in its scabbard. If they were going to take him, he was going to make it as difficult as possible. Sergeant Diggs was a mountain of a man, with shoulders half again as broad as the guardsman. Diggs lumbered over to the cart, turned to the guardsman and snapped, 'Ruthio, what's going on here?' Ruthio spoke to Diggs at length when finally Diggs turned to Faran and demanded, 'Something is not on the level here Dobir. Come out with it now and it will go easier on you. If not ... ' Diggs glanced upward, pausing menacingly. Faran, still clinging to hope, stuttered, 'I ... I don't know what your talking about sir.' Diggs grunted and stalked off towards the front of the cart. He arrived at the front and began to poke about around the seat. Faran hovered on the edge of panic. If the guardsman found the silver box, what would he do? Even if he managed to escape, the loss of the box meant his life was forfeit. If the city guard didn't kill him, the Brotherhood of the Night surely would. As thoughts tumbled through Faran's head, the Sergeant's keen eye picked out a loose board beneath the seat. Diggs exclaimed, 'Ho ho. What do we have here?' Faran tensed as Diggs reached for the board, his right hand slowly moving towards the short sword at his side. The moment Diggs touched the board, the clanging sound of bells filled the square inside of the gate. Diggs paused for a moment eyeing the board before turning towards Ruthio and shouting, 'That's a general alert corporal, form up the ranks!' Diggs glanced at Faran and spat, 'Move this piece of junk out from under my gates,' and proceeded to run towards the open door of the guardhouse. Faran nearly crumpled with relief but managed to weakly make his way up into the seat of his cart. With a slap of the reins he proceeded westerly down Market Street.

The cords that bound Sharana's hands to the altar had finally cut deep enough into her wrists so that her blood was flowing freely. For the hundredth time that day she reached out to the weave trying to feel any shred of energy, and for the hundredth time she failed. She craned her neck to stare at the statue placed a single pace above her head, a statue that eerily bore her exact likeness. The altar she had been placed on was constructed of smooth obsidian. It was formed into the shape of a rectangular block a single pace high, the surface only broken by tie downs at the top and bottom and a shallow bowl with a small channel leading off the edge in the middle, just under Sharana's midsection. To the immediate left and right of her head were two pulsing red crystals fixed atop golden staffs two paces high. The altar was located on the top of the Tower of Sar'Mordal and a chilling breeze from the Sea of Tears brought goose bumps to Sharana's skin, but she did not notice. Her eyes were fixed on the hooded figures emerging from the stairwell that ended several paces below her feet. A voice emanated from one of the hoods, 'Well good evening Sharana. I hope you find my hospitality up to your expectations.' Sharana strained against her bonds as she spat out, 'Devin Nightsong, you are a disgusting waste of lifeforce. The Ivory Tower will not stand for this. You and yours will be echoes in the hall of time soon enough.' The Lord of Sar'Mordal laughed mirthfully in a deep voice before replying, 'One would expect that a person in your position would act a bit more cordial. No matter, soon enough you'll learn some respect.' Devin pulled back his hood then turned to his companion and spoke softly, 'Anor, prepare the Spires of Golgolith please.' Sharana watched, paralyzed by fear, as Anor moved to her side carrying an ancient leather-bound case. 'N ... no,' Sharana whimpered, 'Please Devin ... I'll swear allegiance ... I'll do-' Sharana's pleas were cut short as Devin smashed a backhand across her face sending two of her teeth flying. 'Silence bitch!' he roared, 'The time for your babbling has come to an end!' Devin seized Sharana's chin in one hand while withdrawing a vial containing a glowing blue liquid from the folds of his robes with the other. 'This elixir will prevent you from slipping into unconsciousness under any circumstances,' Devin boasted, 'I'm sure you wouldn't want to miss your last few minutes in corporeal form.' Devin poured the contents of the vial down Sharana's throat, heedless of the gurgling blood caused by his blow. His reverie was disrupted by Anor's voice, 'Lord Nightsong, the Spires are prepared.' 'Excellent,' replied Devin, 'Let me inspect them.' Devin moved around to the side of the altar on which the channel terminated. Just below the channel was positioned a mithril bowl supported by three mithril spires. The spires had three sides each and stood nearly as high as the altar itself. Both the spires and the bowl had inlaid arcane symbols covering their visible surfaces. Devin carefully inspected their positioning before turning back to Anor. 'The dagger please,' Devin commanded. Anor placed a wickedly curved dagger in Devin's hand as he strode to the side of the altar opposite the spires. In a peculiar moment of tenderness, Devin brushed a strand of hair from Sharana's face. His face then hardened and using the dagger, he slashed her robes open from the neck to the hem. Devin then held the dagger above his head with both hands and began an incantation in the ancient tongue of the Daer'lin while Sharana lay naked, writhing and whimpering upon the altar. The timber of Devin's voice seemed to grow deeper and permeate the air surrounding the top of the tower. Anor looked down at the spires and took a step back as they began to glow and pulse in rhythm with Devin's chanting. As the chanting reached a crescendo, a bolt of lightning split the evening sky and struck the dagger held a aloft in Devin's hands. The thunder dissipated and was replaced by a loud humming emanating from the Spires of Golgolith. Sharana's flesh sizzled as Devin brought the white-hot blade of the dagger down and placed it against the far side of her stomach. Devin's lips curved into a wicked smile as he looked into Sharana's eyes and spoke, 'Now Sharana, you will know agony.' He then inserted the dagger two inches into her side, and began to cut horizontally across her stomach. Sharana's eyes bulged in her head and her shrieks filled the evening air, each louder than the previous one. When Devin had finished his cut across her stomach, he thrust his hand into her body cavity, tearing her intestines out and holding them aloft. Sharana looked up at her bowels in Devin's hand and uttered a scream so full of terror and pain, it caused Devin to burst out in maniacal laughter. Anor stood by watching silently with a fervent gleam in his eyes. During the disembowelment, Sharana's lifeblood had been steadily running down the channel carved into the altar and filling the bowl placed atop the Spires of Golgolith. An eerie mist had formed within the bowl accompanied by an increasing keen sound in the air. Devin finally took notice of the sound and threw Sharana's entrails down upon her chest. He raised both his arms into the air and shouted, 'Makvoth! Telranoth! Sar'Goranoth!' The mist began to swirl and rise from the bowl, slowly taking a humanoid shape. Devin smiled as the mist congealed into a Soulwraith, the very scourge of all living things. 'Makvoth!' Devin barked, 'Perform the transfer!' The Soulwraith named Makvoth looked at Devin distastefully before replying in a gravelly voice, 'As you command Keeper of Golgolith.' Makvoth then reached out and placed its right hand upon Sharana's forehead and its left hand upon the statue just above her. A new torment was inflicted upon Sharana through her haze of excruciating pain. As the very fiber of her soul was being extracted from her, she fought a desperate battle to retain her unity of self. The Soulwraith looked on dispassionately as the soft flesh beneath its fingers gave way. It completely ignored the spurts of blood that jettisoned from the holes its fingers bore into the life form's skull and unerringly continued with its one purpose, the complete distillation of life force from the body it inhabits. Sharana futilely held fast to her last thread of life for a moment before it was torn from her. A last deafening wail from the convulsing body upon the altar faded into the normal sounds of nighttime. With a wave of his hand Devin dissipated the Soulwraith and turned to regard what remained of Sharana. Her cool blue eyes, once the color of the sea, had now turned completely black and lifeless. Devin grunted and spoke to Anor, 'Step back please Anor.' Anor quickly obeyed by taking several paces back from the altar. Devin took two steps backward and began incanting words of power. He brought his hands in front of him with a clap and all that remained of Sharana burst into flame. Her remains burned bright and hot for several moments before the flames vanished into the night air. Devin strode over to the statue and began to examine it. Grasping hold of the weave, he mentally probed the soul that was now bound within its substance. Devin smiled and whispered, 'What have you to say about respect now my dear Sharana?' Listening carefully, a low moan could be detected at the edge of consciousness. Devin stepped back and smiled while issuing commands to Anor, 'Anor, place the Spires of Golgolith back into my study and put this statue into its position in the hall of conquest please.' Anor quickly replied, 'As you command Lord Nightsong.' He paused a moment before speaking again, 'Lord Nightsong, may I ask you a question?' 'Certainly Anor.' Devin replied as he paused at the top of the stairwell, 'What is it?' Anor spoke quietly, 'My studies have shown that a mere drop of blood is all that is required by the Spires of Golgolith to perform the summoning, am I incorrect?' A wicked smile crossed Devin's face as he replied, 'No Anor, you are absolutely correct. But I do have a flair for theatrics, don't you think?' Anor smiled weakly as he replied, 'Yes milord, you certainly do.'

The last golden red and yellow rays of sunset were disappearing behind the flat roofed houses of Hammer Street when Faran brought his cart to a halt. Wagon ruts lined the road and the people in the area seemed to be going about their business under a haze of oppression. On the right stood the busy doorway that led to Madam Despana's brothel, his final destination. Faran hopped down from the cart and tied Bonnie and Tag's reins to a nearby hitching post, he did not expect to be there long. Eyeing the closest wayfarers with caution, he slid the board from underneath his seat and snatched the silver box from its hiding place. Faran turned his attention to the doorway and his mind was filled with trepidation. The Brotherhood of the Night were not individuals to be trifled with. Their underground network had a hand in the majority of nefarious activities occurring in the City of All Races and they counted amongst their members all manner of renowned cutthroats and thugs. Faran was more likely to be killed and robbed than paid for services rendered. 'Great reward is not gained without great risk,' he mused to himself and proceeded to climb up the short set of stairs that led to the door. Gilded chandeliers lined the ceiling dimly lighting the interior of the brothel and adding a smoky haze to the dark recesses of the main room. Musky scents permeated Faran's nose as he waded through the Strumpets searching for Madam Despana. A crystalline voice behind Faran caught his attention and caused him to whirl around, 'What can I do for you?' 'Madam Despana I presume,' Faran managed to cough out as his eyes drank in the sight of her voluptuous body thinly covered in a white dress. 'Why yes I am,' she teased with a bat of her lashes, 'Can I interest you in some of our ... services?' 'Perhaps later,' Faran managed weakly as he attempted to mentally cool the heated blood in his veins, 'I am looking for ... Silthar. Do you know where I might find him?' Madam Despana's visage visibly darkened at the mention of a member of the Brotherhood of the Night. 'I might,' Despana said coolly, 'What is your name?' 'My name is Faran' he replied with a measure of strength returning to his voice. Despana nodded curtly, turned on her heel, and proceeded through a hanging silk curtain in the rear of the room. Faran could not tear his eyes from her supple form as she strode away. Finally, he managed to move to the side of the room that was dominated by a short bar and a shorter dwarven bartender. Despana returned just as he managed to get a mug of ale. 'He wishes to see you in a private chamber,' Despana announced and then glanced down at his full mug of ale before adding, 'Immediately.' Faran gave his mug a look of longing before snatching up his silver box from the bar and stepping in behind Despana. She led him through the curtains and down a short hallway before they stopped at an unobtrusive door. 'Through there.' Despana whispered quietly and returned the way they had come. Faran too a deep breath, opened the door, and stepped inside. The moment his eyes adjusted to the dim light, Faran was able to see a slender man seated behind a table directly ahead of him with a stocky fellow standing to the man's left. The walls of the small room were decorated with polished shields and a low bed was pushed aside into the corner. Faran held back a smirk as he eyed the shields and internally contemplated about how they presumably afforded a better view to the participants in the lewd activities that occurred in the room. The slender man spoke first in a low, snake like voice, 'You are Faran Dobir?' Faran paused a moment considering the man in front of him before replying, 'I am, and I suppose you are Silthar' The slender man nodded and Faran continued, 'I have brought what you seek, and it was not easy. Show me the gold.' Silthar smiled and said, 'Certainly you cannot expect me to give you gold without allowing me to inspect my purchase first.' Faran shrugged, stepped forward, and placed the silver box on the table before Silthar. Silthar carefully opened the box and a broad smile crossed his face. He then slipped a dagger from his belt and prodded at the contents for a moment before looking over to his stocky companion and saying, 'The gold please' The stocky man walked to the corner of the room behind and to the right of Faran. With a grunt he lifted a large chest, placed it on the table in front of Faran, then stepped away. Silthar motioned Faran to have a look inside the chest. Faran unlocked the dual clasps on the front of the chest and threw the lid back. Before him shined more gold than he had seen in his 203 years of life. Faran picked up a gold piece and looked up to speak but was struck silent by the strange look on Silthar's face. His eyes went wide as he glanced behind Silthar and saw in a shield the reflection of the stocky man with a crossbow aimed at his back. Reacting instantly, Faran dropped to a knee and drew a dagger from his ankle sheath just as a crossbow bolt hissed over his head. Faran threw the dagger, taking the stocky man in the throat. Drawing his short sword, he then whirled to face Silthar only to find him lying on his back, clawing at the crossbow bolt protruding from his eye. Faran took a deep breath as he turned around. The stocky man was seated against the wall, clutching his throat and making gurgling sounds. He walked over and plunged his sword into the stocky man's breast, quickly ending his struggles. After wiping his sword off on the stocky man's cloak, he sheathed it, and turned back towards the chest. Considering the scene, Faran realized his life at this point could be measured in minutes. When the Brotherhood of the Night discovered what had transpired, if he remained in the City of All Races he was as good as dead. He slammed the lid down on the chest and hefted it up onto his shoulder. Quickly he made his way back into the main room of Madam Despana's brothel. With his free hand, Faran flipped the gold piece he had picked up earlier to Madam Despana and rushed out the front door.

Captain Varak held up his hand and the long winding column of soldiers came to a halt. Traversing the cliffs of Rymek had been difficult, but assaulting the tower that filled his vision infused him with a feeling of hopelessness. The tower rose 100 paces into the sky causing Varak to crane his neck from his position at the edge of an ancient forest to view its heights. From the end of the forest, a great field of sea grass dominated the terrain before the tower for a distance of 500 paces. Varak frowned as he viewed the approach to the tower that offered little or no cover for his men. His scouting reports offered nothing in the way of encouragement either. Apparently there was no visible entrance to the tower around its base and its extreme height made any attempt at scaling difficult at best. Varak turned his head to the right as Fariol and Thelia rode up beside him mounted on identical white Nymarian thoroughbreds. Fariol spoke first, 'Captain Varak, what is your appraisal of the situation?' Varak frowned and his eyes moved from Fariol to the tower before he began to speak, 'Give me a week and our engineers may be able to develop some siege engines from the surrounding trees capable of doing some damage.' Fariol turned his attention to Thelia and she raised an eyebrow in reply to his glance. 'Varak,' Fariol said calmly, his gaze still fixed on Thelia, 'You have one hour to array your men in battle formation. Thelia and I will provide the means to enter the tower when the time comes. To tarry here longer would be suicide, see to your men.' Only a small part of the turmoil Varak was feeling entered his voice when he replied, 'As you command Towermaster.' As he turned and began barking orders, he couldn't shake the feeling that no matter what Fariol promised, death was at hand.

The Lord of Sar'Mordal rubbed his chin as he sat in his study, staring into a farseeing crystal and considering his situation. Fariol acting so quickly was completely unexpected. He had thought he would have time to complete the creation of the thirteen statues necessary to link his lifeforce to the weave, rendering him practically invincible. He would have laughed at Fariol and his ragtag band then. He was not laughing now, for he only possessed twelve statues. Normally Fariol would be more than his match in power, but he possessed a trump card, the Staff of Aidnartim. A powerful wizard created the Staff in an age far past. Aidnartim specialized in linking the powers of many wizards and wizardresses together in order to perform great works of magic no single wizard could perform alone. The Art was thought lost long ago but twenty years of searching had brought the staff within his grasp. With the staff he could use the powers of the souls he imprisoned in the statues to augment his own. Eventually he would have used the staff to complete his binding to the weave that would place undreamed of power in the hands of a mortal. But now Fariol jeopardized all of his plans, something would have to be done about him. Anor broke his reverie as he quietly knocked, entered the study, and spoke, 'Lord Nightsong ...' Devin cut him off saying quietly, 'I know Anor, please send for Krystana and Hatrayhu. I will meet them in the hall of conquest.' Anor lifted his eyes in surprise and queried, 'The hall of conquest my Lord?' Devin's reply came in the form of a distracted wave of his hand. He did not see Anor quietly back out of his study with a look of trepidation on his face. His attention was fixed on the array of forces displayed to him from within the crystal. Devin rubbed his chin again and considered. When he finally stood, he carefully placed the crystal back into its velvet-lined case. His face revealed grim determination as he whirled and strode out the door.

Varak reveled in the calm confidence that filled him before a great battle. He surveyed the deployment of his troops with a practiced eye. All was nearly in readiness. Twenty thousand men lined the edge of the forest, their attention collectively fixed on the Black Tower at the far end of a sea of grass. Sergeant Diggs broke Varak's reverie when he spoke quietly, 'The forces are arrayed as you requested Captain.' Varak replied, 'Very good Diggs, return to your company and await the signal' Diggs clapped his hand to his chest and quickly returned to his men. Varak paused for a moment before he lowered his head to the page beside him, 'Phoerum, take word to Fariol, all is in readiness.' The page nodded quickly and sprinted through the ranks behind him. A short time later, Fariol's approach was heralded by the creaking of armor as the ranks separated to allow his mount to pass to the front. He reined his stallion in next to Varak's and surveyed the assembled army. Thelia joined Fariol in the van and he acknowledged her with a slight nod. Varak addressed Fariol formally, 'Towermaster, the might of the City of All Races stands ready to defend her honor.' Fariol kept his gaze fixed on the Black Tower as he spoke softly, 'Signal the advance.' Varak paused for a moment before querying, 'The night comes milord, should we not wait until dawn for an assault?' Varak shrunk back as Fariol fixed him with a gaze, fire burning in the depths of his eyes. He spoke firmly, 'We assault now because we likely would not survive the night, do you understand?' Varak was visibly shaken as he stammered out, 'Y .. yes milord.' He then motioned to a flagman in front of him. The flagman waved his flag, a slash of red set on a field of blue, three times back and forth before dropping it straight down. Several identical flags along the length of the ranks mirrored his movements quickly. As the army surged forward in the direction of the Black Tower, Fariol spurred his stallion and spoke to Thelia on her intimate telepathic mode, 'It begins.' Her reply turned into a whimper when her eyes fell upon a lone figure standing atop the tower, its silhouette clear against the setting sun.

The Lord of Sar'Mordal leaned against a crenellation of the Black Tower as he surveyed the advancing forces. The vast army spread along the grassy plain steadily moved towards the tower unopposed. 'We will just have to see to that.' he brooded to himself. His lips curled into a lopsided smile as he stepped back, raised the Staff of Aidnartim, and began to chant. Dark tendrils began to swirl around his outstretched staff as Devin's voice increased in intensity. In moments the tendrils gathered into a giant writhing ball of darkness that stood suspended in the air above him, steadily growing as the chanting surged to a crescendo. With a final guttural sentence, Devin swung his staff downward and pointed it at the field before the arrayed forces of the City of All Races. The giant pulsing ball of darkness raced towards the field in front of the progressing army. Seconds before it smashed into the ground, it seemed to come unraveled with tendrils shooting in every direction. Moments later an earsplitting scream issued from the grass directly in front of the startled men. Others soon joined it. The wails gained in intensity and numbers until the unholy chorus caused the soldiers to cover their ears in pain. The foremost soldiers began to shout and point as movement could be seen in the grass before them. Suddenly thousands of dark forms with piercing red eyes appeared in the waning light of sunset. When the screaming reached a climax, the dark forms began to advance on the faltering army. Devin leaned against the tower wall and breathed heavily from his effort. When he turned his attention to the field again, the broken advance forced a smile from his strained features. 'Now let them taste the power of Sar'Mordal.' he spat as the two opposing forces collided together.

Diggs was rocked back on his heels by a blow that shattered the front of his breastplate. Gaining his senses, he was barely able to parry the thrust that the beast of darkness aimed for his heart. Spinning in a full turn, he slashed his sword with all his might into the foul beast's neck. The beast convulsed as its head separated from its body. Diggs grimaced as the force of the blow caused his arm to go numb. His grimace turned to wide-eyed surprise as the numbness crept up his arm and halfway across his chest. Ruthio came to his Sergeant's aid and deflected a blow aimed for his head. 'Sergeant! Get behind me!' Ruthio exclaimed as he engaged two of the foul beasts. He staggered back behind Ruthio and took a moment to catch his breath. Looking around the field of battle he saw a score of his comrades being torn to pieces and fed upon by various horrors. A high- pitched scream caused Diggs to whirl around and Ruthio's viscera spattered his face as a beast ripped him in half. 'We are being annihilated ... ' Diggs considered despondently as he threw himself back into the fray.

Fariol frowned deeply as the losses quickly mounted. He had hoped the assembled army would be able to repel the defenses of Sar'Mordal conventionally but the battle was quickly turning to rout. With a sigh at having to tip his hand early he contacted Sabsean, a High Priest of Aalynor, the Lord of the Light: 'Come.' Two hundred mounted Paladins and Priests of various sects burst from the trees and came thundering across the grassy plain. From his position atop the Black Tower, Devin raised an eyebrow as the new force rumbled towards the sagging armies of the City of All Races. Raising the Staff of Aidnartim to the sky, he quickly incanted a spell and then leveled the point of the staff at the charging reinforcements. A huge column of flame leap from the staff and burned a hole in the ranks of the cavalry. In moments the flames died revealing the charred bodies of a score of Priests, Priestesses, Paladins and their mounts. As Devin raised the staff again Fariol shot a knowing look to Thelia. Holding Thelia's gaze he sent: 'We must try Thelia or they will all perish' Thelia returned his look with one of trepidation: 'As you wish. Be it our death or salvation.' Fariol and Thelia then opened themselves up to the weave and began to chant in unison. Fariol gathered as many threads as sanity allowed and began to weave them into a magical barrier. Thelia wound her lifeforce into a single sinuous thread and interwove herself into the fabric of Fariol's barrier, allowing him to expand and reinforce it exponentially. Fariol continued to extend his barrier outward, drawing every last shred of magickal energy his overtaxed mind could muster. Thelia sat rigid on her horse, sweat pouring down her face while she struggled to hold her lifeforce together as it was stretched to the very limit. Soon the barrier stood shimmering over the entire field of battle. Feeling that Thelia was waning, Fariol quickly set the weave of the barrier and concentrated what little remained of his magickal energies to augment her self-awareness as she tried to extract her lifeforce from the magickal barrier. They both cried out and collapsed on their horses after their combined ditch efforts allowed Thelia to return her soul to its corporeal form.

Devin brought his staff down and once again the column of flame surged from the tip. It raced across the distance to the armies of the City of All Races only to slam into Fariol and Thelia's barrier and be dispersed. Frowning, Devin knew the barrier would turn the tide of battle. Helpless, he watched as the holy forces of Light disintegrated his beasts and wraiths. Testing the magical weave, he found no path of egress. Fariol and Thelia's efforts had prevented him from flying upon the magical winds. Though he knew his army was defeated, he was not yet ready to retreat from the field. Eyeing the barrier, he leaned upon his staff and reflected, 'What a waste of talent.' He sighed deeply as the faith of the assembled Paladins and Priests turned the last of his unholy host to dust. Knowing he had but a few moments to put his affairs in order, he calmly walked past the Black Altar, down the stairs, and into the depths of Sar'Mordal.

Krystana Nightsong jumped as Devin threw back the doors that led into the hall of Conquest. Noting his haggard look, Krystana asked quietly, 'Is everything alright dearest?' Devin replied, 'Yes my love, everything will be quite fine. I am a little concerned however. We have some unpleasant visitors. I wish to place an amulet of protection around little Hatrayhu's neck, may I see him for a moment?' Krystana held out their son and Devin took him into his arms. He moved to the middle of the room, directly in the center of twelve statues that circled the perimeter. The small child watched Devin quietly with fiery red eyes. Devin met his son's gaze for a moment before lifting Hatrayhu aloft and chanting softly. esponding to his words of power, the statues began to shimmer with light and Hatrayhu became surrounded by a dark nimbus of blackfire. In a moment it was finished and Devin lowered his son, cradling him in his arms. Looking into his son's blackened eyes,he whispered, 'The legacy will continue. Krystana spoke out, 'What my love?' 'Nothing dearest.' he replied as he closed Hatrayhu's eyelids, walked over to Krystana, and handed her the seemingly sleeping child. She fingered the amulet that was now hanging from a adamantine chain from her child's neck. 'This will protect him?' she queried. Devin replied, 'It certainly will dearest. Please wait for me atop the tower while I go greet our guests.' Krystana nodded slowly, preceded Devin out the doors, and climbed the stairs to the uppermost reaches of Sar'Mordal.

The remainder of the army of the City of All Races circled the Tower of Sar'Mordal in a defensive position. Fariol stood before the Black Tower with an expression of frustration fixed upon his face. Thelia watched his growing anger and tried to soothe him, 'Patience, you will find the way in. Do not let anger cloud your mind.' Fariol sent back, 'Each moment we spend out here is another moment he has to prepare. Aalynor only knows what kind of horrors will greet us when we finally gain entrance.' Suddenly, several guardsmen yelled out, 'Hold!' and Thelia turned to see a young elven maiden ringed by swords pointed at her breast. Selanu cleared her throat and spoke quietly, 'I wish to speak with the Towermaster of the City of All Races.' Fariol broke off his gaze from the Black Tower and sighed, 'What can I do for you ...?' Selanu filled in, 'Selanu ... I sense elven magicks around this Tower and I believe I may be able to help you gain entrance if you wish it.' Fariol said incredulously, 'Elven? I would have been the last to suspect they would have a hand in the creation of this blight on the Southern realms.' Selanu replied quietly, 'It was not such long ago. Will you accept my assistance?' Fariol nodded and motioned for the guard to release her. Selanu slipped up to the wall of the tower, placed her hands on it, and closed her eyes. Her lips moved silently for a time before she spoke a single barely audible word. The world turned around Selanu, Fariol, and their nearest companions as the waning sound of a thunderclap echoed in their ears. In the blink of an eye they stood in a sumptuous room facing two jeweled thrones. Seated to the right was Devin Nightsong, Lord of Sar'Mordal. At his left hand stood his assistant Anor. Devin spoke first, 'Greetings Fariol, greetings Thelia. I suppose you haven't dropped by for dinner.' Fariol curled his lip and growled, 'Nightsong, enough foolishness, your time is at an end. Prepare to be judged by Lord Tilnar.' Devin, Anor, Fariol, and Thelia immediately chanted spells and attacked. Devin's spell was the first to make contact as it ripped into Fariol's chest, knocking him back into Thelia. Anor's spell struck a Guardsman and giant shards of ice ripped him to shreds from the inside out. Thelia's spell descended upon Anor and he issued a pitiful scream as his flesh rotted off his body, leaving only a skeleton of bleached bones to crumple to the floor. Fariol's spell flew towards Devin but his enhanced senses allowed him to dodge its effects. Devin's eyes glowed with fire as he realized he might be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He raised his staff and began to chant when the shaft of an arrow sprouted from his eye, knocking him backwards into a seated position on the throne. Selanu lowered her bow, keeping an eye on Devin's twitching body until it became still. Thelia quickly applied a healing balm to Fariol's chest and restored him to health. Fariol then untangled himself from Thelia and stood on shaky legs. 'We owe you a debt of thanks Selanu,' Fariol spoke seriously. Selanu looked around warily and shuddered as she spoke, 'Any person would have done the same. I trailed your army from the City of All Races and watched the battle from the forest. I am just glad I could take a part in the ending of this evil.' Fariol nodded gravely and stated, 'Lets find a way out of this accursed tower.'

From the lofty heights of the Black Tower, the Lady of Sar'Mordal looked out upon the carnage of the recent battle. Clutching her son to her chest, Krystana whispered, 'What terrible thing has occurred this night ... ' In the dim light, she could make out bodies littering the field before the tower as far as the edge of the forest. The sickly sweet smell of burning flesh wafted on the sea breeze up to the heights where she observed the massacre. The moans of dying men intermixed to form a pitiful choir of suffering. She shuddered and held her son closer to her breast, tucking in his swaddling clothes. Krystana's breath caught when she brushed against her son's arm as she placed the wrappings about him. Hatrayhu's arm was freezing cold. Quickly she knelt down and placed him on the stones of the tower, unwrapping his coverings so that she could inspect him. His skin had assumed a deathly pallor and his body was freezing. Krystana began frantically rubbing his limbs and screamed out for help, 'Devin help! Oh please Devin help me!' She lifted Hatrayhu's eyelids and froze in astonishment. His eyes had turned completely black, staring lifelessly out of the sockets in his head. Krystana put both her hands to her mouth and trembled for a moment before her shriek tore through the starry dusk, 'Noooo!' Staggering back, she slammed into one of the crenellations at the top of the tower and sagged into a seated position. 'Devin pleeease ... Devin,' she sobbed as the tears flowed freely down her cheeks. Her whimpering was broken by the sound of Thelia's voice, 'Devin is dead.' Krystana's eyes went wide as she looked up to where Thelia stood at the top of the stairs. 'You lie!' she spat, 'I don't believe you.' Fariol stepped up the stairs and walked out to stand next to Thelia. 'Do you believe this?' Fariol said firmly as he pulled the severed head of Devin Nightsong from a black velvet sack and held it aloft. The horror that gripped Krystana's heart was clearly painted on her face as she lurched to her feet and stumbled with her arms outstretched towards Fariol and the remains of her husband. Her progress was stopped when her foot ran against something on the ground. She cast her gaze downward in a trance like state and it came to rest upon the lifeless body of her son. The excruciating anguish coursed through every fiber of Krystana's body until she could take it no longer. Choking on halting sobs, she bent down and picked up his body. Thelia began to take a step but Fariol restrained her with his free hand. In a daze, Krystana staggered onto the edge of the tower. Turning, she stared into her husband's lifeless eyes for a moment before hurling herself off. A long, thin scream escaped her throat throughout her fall until the bodies of her and Hatrayhu smashed into the ground. Thelia turned to Fariol with a pained look on her face. He spoke quietly, 'It was for the best beloved. The line of Sar'Mordal must be ended here.' Thelia sighed and pressed herself to Fariol's chest. 'As you say,' she whispered and stared through teary vision out into the starry night.

The soldiers dragging bodies to the funeral pyres leapt aside as a screaming woman fell from the heavens and crashed into the ground beside them. A soldier spat, 'By Tilnar's Fist! Can you believe that Lemja?' Lemja paused a moment, then laughed in reply, 'What I can't believe is that she didn't fall on your head.' The group of soldiers exchanged a strained laugh and set about their gruesome task. Lemja sauntered over to the fallen woman and kicked her shattered body over. Underneath her he was surprised to see the crushed body of a small child. He noticed a glint of metal and his eyes shone brightly with greed. Reaching down, he attempted to tear the necklace from its position around the child's throat. A solid yank failed to snap the slender chain and instead flipped the ragged body of the child over. Lemja cursed and drew his short sword. After a couple of hacks he managed to decapitate the child and free the amulet. A barking voice from behind him caused Lemja to jump. He palmed the amulet and whirled around as Diggs snapped, 'What, you didn't think he was dead enough son!?! Stop loafing and get those bodies on the pyre!' Lemja stammered out,'Y..yes sir!' He turned to the bodies and slipped the amulet into his tunic. There wasn't time for a good look, but he was certain the amulet would bring him more than a few gold pieces in Rymek. That knowledge brought a smile to his face and set a spring in his step as he dragged the bodies of the Lady of Sar'Mordal and her headless son towards the burning pyre.

Faran reined Bonnie and Tag in just as the rising sun made its way above the Sea of Tears. His perilous flight from the City of All Races had continued unceasing throughout the night, but with the docks of Rymek in view, he felt safe enough to rest for a moment. He eased the cart down the main thoroughfare and came to a stop before a salty inn. The smell of ale from the High Seas Inn and Tavern could clearly be discerned from the street. Sounds of revelry blasted from the interior each time a pair of drunken soldiers burst through the swinging doors leading to the common room. Faran hopped down from his cart, and handed his reins and a pair of silver coins to a dirty stable hand. The boy looked at the coins in shocked surprise before Faran rounded on him, drew up to his considerable height, and fixed him with a stern look, 'I trust the silver will be enough to see my horses and cart safely to the rear of the inn. If some of my goods were damaged or missing when I returned, I would be most displeased.' The stable boy shrunk and stammered out, 'Th..thank you kind sir, I'll look after 'em as if they were my very own.' Satisfied, Faran broke into a smile and replied, 'I trust you will.' With a pat on the young lad's head, Faran wheeled from the stablehand and marched along the front of the High Seas Inn until he stepped in front of the swinging doors. The smell of ale and the sounds of merrymaking drew him as a moth is drawn to a flame.

The inside of the High Seas Inn and Tavern was lit by mirrored lamps hung on iron chains from the ceiling beams. They did little to light the blackened walls stained by generations of smoke and grime. Faran sat down at a heavy oak table next to three men playing at dice who were dressed alike in leather jerkins. The men stopped their game and looked up when he turned and yelled out to the nearest serving wench for a mug of ale. Turning his head back to the table, he was met by three pairs of eyes coolly considering him. Faran met the stares and returned his attention to the barmaid, 'And a round for my three friends here as well.' When he faced the men again, their features were fixed in toothy smiles. One of the men extended his hand and spoke, 'Welcome stranger. My name is Caeron. I'm a soldier with the auxiliaries of the City of All Races. We are newly returned from a great battle.' Faran contemplated the men before replying, 'My name is Faran Dobir. I'm a merchant from Tholm passing through on my way to the isle of Miraden. It would be my pleasure to buy you a few rounds in appreciation for your defense of our freedom.' The faces of the men brightened and Caeron fixed him with a considering look, 'It seems you have done well for yourself to be throwing silver around so carelessly. Perhaps you would like to join us in a game of dice?' Faran chuckled with the knowledge that these men had no idea what they were getting themselves into. He was raised on dice and games of chance and his luck was uncanny to be modest. He grinned as he dug his purse out and replied, 'I would be honored.'

From the bow of the Osprey, Faran closed his eyes as he leaned into the salt air streaming through his tawny mane. On his way home, he had expected his thoughts to be filled with images of his family. Instead, the previous night's revelry filled his daydreams. The night had proven profitable although he hadn't intended to put himself in mortal danger again. His luck had proven itself over the duration of the evening, almost to his detriment. During the course of their gaming, one of the soldiers had put an amulet in the pot as collateral and seemed particularly upset when the dice didn't go his way. So upset in fact he had drawn his sword and his two companions were barely able to contain him before he thrust it in Faran's direction. Shaking his head, he reached into his pouch and retrieved the amulet. Held up to the morning sun the amulet glistened in kaleidoscopic silver and gold. The perimeter of the teardrop shaped amulet was finely worked with arcane symbols while the center was dominated by a deep black gem that seemed to suck the very light from the sun. An adamantine chain looped through the top of the teardrop with the ends terminating in a delicately fashioned clasp. It was a thing of forbidding beauty and Faran shivered as his eyes passed over it. With a minute twist, Faran separated the two halves of the clasp and held the ends of the chain in between the thumb and forefinger of each of his hands. He slowly reached around the back of his neck and reattached the two halves of the clasp. At once the world fell apart around him. He held the railing in a death grip though he could not see it. His vision had gone black and every fiber of his body screamed agony. He tried to cry out and remove the amulet but found his voice was as paralyzed as his body. The overwhelming pain compelled him to flee from the source, to do anything to cease his endless anguish. His grip loosened and he first felt himself falling, then drifting outward towards the promise of freedom from his suffering. He strained to reach his new goal and the pain increased to a climax. Then as suddenly as it began, the pain ended. He perceived himself to be floating in a black pool of nothingness. Panic began to overwhelm him as he searched for a sign of anything in his personal void. Far off, a point of light appeared. It grew in size and speed as it approached him. A moment before it overtook him, it stopped and hovered before him. Massive, the light stretched to the limit of his vision though it drifted a mere foot from him. He felt warmth coming from the light, and realized that he was growing increasingly cold. He reached for the light, touched it, and was gone.

Waves crashed over the few jagged rocks that jutted up through a sandy beach on the island of Falcion. A lonely fisherman threw out his line as the rising sun set the horizon afire in red and orange blazes of color. A short distance down the beach the dawn light brought a mass of seaweed into view. Situated near one of the rocks, the seaweed demanded little of the fisherman's attention until it stood up. With a cry of surprise, the fisherman fell off his low wooden chair and clawed for the stout cudgel tucked in his belt. The seaweed shook itself and revealed a soaked furry creature. After its efforts, the creature wavered for a moment, then with a moan fell to its knees. The fisherman stood up warily, cudgel in hand, and cautiously approached. When he neared the pathetic form, he could see the creature was one of the furry peaceable beings see often in the port of Rymek. Emboldened by the identification, the fisherman knelt beside the creature and queried, 'Hey there fella, are you alright?' The creature opened its eyes and the fisherman stumbled back a foot as the fiery red orbs fixed him with a stare. The creature mumbled, 'I ... I don't know ...' The fisherman returned to the furry being's side and extended a hand saying, 'Here, let me help you up.' The furry creature considered the fisherman for a moment before taking his hand and slowly rising to his feet. It leaned heavily on the fisherman as it tried to stand up straight. After a few minutes, the fisherman stepped away from the creature and looked it over. It was covered in scrapes and several wounds bled through its golden brown fur. 'We need to get you to a healer.' The fisherman stated flatly. He measured the creature for a moment more with his gaze before speaking again, 'I am called Grenwal Haversham. What might your name be?' The creature looked thoroughly confused before stuttering, 'N ... name?' Grenwal chuckled replying, 'Yes your name. What do your people call you?' The creature creased its brow in concentration for a moment. Obviously exasperated, it said quietly, 'I'm not sure ...' The creature looked down and its eyes widened in surprise when they came to rest on a teardrop shaped patch of fur that was burned off its chest. On the exposed skin was a picture of a black tower over which hung a dagger with two snakes twisted around the blade. On the hilt of the dagger was engraved a single word, 'Sinister'. The creature examined the marking with fascination until Grenwal's incredulous reply broke its' reverie, 'Your not sure!?' The creature responded softly, 'I guess ... I guess its ... Sinister.' Grenwal nodded in satisfaction and declared, 'Well then Sinister, lets get you back to town where someone can have a look at those wounds.' Sinister nodded weakly and draped his arm around the fisherman's neck. Grenwal stopped to pick up his rod and they both hobbled off down the beach.

 

Sintar

Class: Mage
Race: Elf

Rather than take up the time of the scribes, I shall endeavor to write up a satisfactory manuscript to record a glimpse of the person I am and how I have come to this point in my life. As I sit herein Pandora's Temple reflecting on my life, its seems strange. I am still in the dawn of my life, but I shall do my best. If you are seeking a fantastic or wild tale, or expecting a great tragedy, then I warn you to look elsewhere. If you read about my life with such an expectation, you will be disappointed.

My given name is actually Elemmiir Val'nomin. I am the 3rd and youngest child of Thorondil and Melyana Val'nomin. I was born in the City of Talmet on the tenth of the month of Twilight, in the 1,592nd year since the Godswar, and the 1,175th year of the Empire. While I will always considered myself from Talmet, I actually grew up in a cottage in the woods near the village.

My father has served Talmet for many years, beginning as a sentry, and currently serving as a village scout. He is well known for his skills as a hunter and tracker, and is quite adept with both bow and blade. My Father taught me to love the woods. I always enjoyed his lessons, however I think I frustrated him many times when he took my brother and I hunting. I was always more interested in discerning the reason for things, than I was in the hunt. More than once, I scared off our quarry asking a question, much to the consternation of my Father. But he always encouraged my interest in learning. No one could ask for a better Father. He taught me love and respect for others, the importance of family, the nobility of service, and a sense of personal honor.

My Mother is an adept healer, and she too aids those in Talmet in times of need. Using a combination of herbs, potions and minor faith magic, shewas more than able to handle the cuts and scrapes we found ourselves with when I was growing up. She is also an accomplished musician, and plays both Lyre and Lute. She taught me to play, but I never will play as well as she does. More importantly, she taught me about the beauty and joy of the simple things of life. I have never met a more caring, compassionate woman, and I pray that some portion of that compassion has taken root in my life.

My oldest sibling is my sister, Alfarin Corthindil. She learned the ways of healing from my mother, and is now married to the older brother of one of my closest friends. My brother Aiohtar is following in the footsteps of my father, and serves as a sentry in Talmet.

I have many warm and wonderful memories of growing up. It was not until I went to Falcion that I truly understood how blessed I have been. Almost every evening, the family would gather for the evening meal, discussing the day's affairs. Then we would sit by the fire and enjoy dessert. My Mother would play music, songs would be sung, stories told and games played. As I think back, I can almost smell the fresh baked goods. Especially the berry cobbler, which was my favorite. I could go on with pages of anecdotal stories, but I shall spare you, the reader, such torment. Needless to say, all in all, I had a wonderful life.

In addition to my immediate family, I have several aunts, uncles and associated cousins, as wells as my Mother's parents whom I love dearly. I have many good friends as well. But I do not believe anyone has had more of an impact on my life than Vardaestela Val'nomin.

My Grandma Varda lives in a cottage not far from my family home, and I spent many hours with her, often doing simple things. Gathering berries, baking, or just watching her paint while she would tell me stories. She is quite an amazing artist, and many times I followed her into the woods, while she painted the flora and fauna of the Eldane. I would question her for hours on things, such as History, Lore and Pandora. When I was but 12 years old she took to calling me her "Little Sintar". I loved to read, and she had many interesting books. From time to time she would take me to people she knew, who would share their knowledge or a manuscript. In time, the name Sintar was what most everyone was calling me. All, but my mother, have referred to me by that name for decades.

It was my Grandmother who most encouraged my love for Pandora as well. Stories of her love for the elves, how her heart was nearly broken at the deaths of innocents, and her tears shed at the creation of the Drow. Yet even with all of that, her Hope remained and led to the rebuilding of Nexus and the alliance that is our best Hope to protect against the Horde. And with the ascension of Kyorl, and the draw of the Void, Hope is our best defense against them as well. I will forever be grateful for the encouragement my Grandmother gave me. She taught me to seek knowledge. More importantly, she taught me to seek Hope, no matter the person or situation. Her quiet grace, pride in her Elven heritage and great faith in Pandora have impacted my life in a dramatic way. I pray that I will be able to be worthy of her faith in me.

As you may have guessed by now, faith in Pandora has been an important part of my life as far back as I can remember. In fact, my parents first met

at a Hope's Hour celebration, and were married two years later to the day. They celebrated their 125th anniversary just last year. I remember each year on the first Panur of Blossoms, we would gather together with family and friends and honor our Mistress in a celebration of Hope. It was a time of great joy, and I looked forward to it with great anticipation. It was a Hope's Hour celebration that first brought me to Nexus as well. It was the 100th anniversary of my parents, and we came to celebrate at the Temple. I was amazed at the beauty of the temple. I felt such a sense of tranquility and peace there.

It was after that visit, that the idea of coming to Nexus first entered my mind. Whether it was a whisper of a temple dove or the opportunity to study I will never be sure. But many years went by, and I enjoyed my simple life in Talmet. Several years later, the time to me seek my own path grew near. Thoughts of coming to Nexus, seeking knowledge and serving Pandora grew stronger. I spent many hours talking with my Grandmother, and later my parents. But what was I to study? I learned of my choices and set out to decide what I was best suited to do.

After many weeks, I had narrowed the choices to mage, cleric or bard. But my musical abilities seemed too weak to seriously pursue the bardic profession. And while cleric would have made a good choice, I decided to apply as a mage. I think it was for a variety of reasons. I would still wield basic healing and protection abilities in honor of my mother, yet a powerful offensive ability to defend people, in honor of my Father. Of course it also lent itself toward my nature as a seeker of knowledge. My family supported my decision, and after a wonderful send off, I slung my backpack over my shoulder and headed south toward Rymek.

I took to my studies quickly, enjoying the work, as well as aiding others. While I was unable to leave the training island for sometime, I enjoyed getting away into the park and the wooded areas surrounding the city. I have learned from many while I was on the island. Those such as Danilo, Rapheous, Therise, Lyrasel and Sincerity saw fit to come to the island and share both their wit and wisdom. And of course the resident bard Lathet was always willing to spin a tale or sing a song.

After many months I was accepted into the Ivory Tower, and continued to work hard, training to the 9th tier. As my training on the island came close to completion I spoke with Danilo about offering myself in service to Pandora. He encouraged me greatly, and assured me that I could begin the process upon my completion of my training on Falcion. Yet something held me back. Whether it was a need to learn more about myself, my faith or my relation to others is not clear to me. I just knew it was not yet time to leave. I spent more than 2 years on the island. Honing my skills, learning what I could, and helping others along the way. Perhaps it was the voice of my Mistress Pandora, guiding me to a fuller maturity. I do know the time was well spent.

I also learned of the Guild of Knowledge, and sought out Faulk about the Guild. The work that had been done to restore the Guild, as well as the tenets that guide it impressed me. It was something to which I was gladly willing to offer my support. After working with Faulk and proving my commitment I was accepted into the Guild. I am proud of my commitment to preserve and record knowledge in all is forms.

Some 3 years ago, the fateful day arrived. Somehow I knew my time on the island was complete. Perhaps I had waited too long, for the trainers saw fit to pass me from 9th to 11th tier, believing I had proven myself. It was then that I began my full service to Nexus, and on a path to serve Pandora.

With both my vocation and avocation firmly in place, I had one more goal to make my life complete. Since the day I left the island, I have had many opportunities to serve and to learn. Be it battles against the Void, Were-creatures or the Horde or seeking and recording knowledge I have found along the way, I have worked hard to fulfill my commitments. But none were more important than proving myself worthy to Mistress Pandora.

My faith to her is not an issue. Even if I were never marked as a follower, I would have happily served her in any way I could. Both through prayer and through action I tried to live my life in a way that would honor her. I would offer words of encouragement to those I thought would need them. I would often bring loads of items to Falcion to aid new trainees, offering advice and help where I could. As I waited, I knew that either way, my life was rewarding.

One day as I was sitting in Town Square, sharing news and chatting with those assembled. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a white feather floating down out of the sky. I was almost transfixed as it wafted down out of the sky and landed at my feet. Many things blow through the square from time to time, yet the feather was so clean and unblemished, I somehowknew it was something special. It landed and was clearly pointing southeast toward Pandora's Temple. I gathered my things, and excused myself as I headed toward the Temple. As I stood before her Shrine, a voice told me to head toward the private room behind the curtain south of the fountain. Pandora appeared before me. I was in awe. I had never felt so many things at once. Adoration, trepidation, reverence, adoration, love and a sense of inadequacy rose up within me. But all was displaced as a sense of Hope and peace washed over me. Our talk was a private matter, but I will never forget the way I felt as her love washed over me and she welcomed me to her Church.

While I am still young, and the road ahead of me is long, it is with a cheerful heart I look forward to what lies ahead. I do not know where it will take me, but with Hope in my heart, and knowledge to guide me, I am sure it will be an adventure.

 

Skylark

Class: Mage
Race: Sprite

Greetings! I am Yeet (Please don't make fun of my name, it disturbs me, and I'm far too weak to do anything about it.). I'm a bard in the great city of Nexus - born and raised-but it's not my story I want to talk about. You see, I love to talk, and more so to other people than myself. When I get going, I rarely stop, in fact, there was one time that I... Bad Yeet! Bad! Ok, so getting back to my story again, I like to ask people about themselves, and sometimes they get off talking like you wouldn't believe! My mother said I had an enchantment born about me, that causes people to open up to me, but I don't know about that, my mom always was a weird sort, even for a hobbit... er, so back to my story.

Just the other day, I was at Trista's Tavern (Finest in all Nexus! Unless you're closer to Kalim's at the time.) and I met a sprite by the name of Skylark. Silly little name if you were to ask me (which most people in their right minds wouldn't) but most sprites have an active tendency towards silliness anyway, or at least such has been my observation.

Well I got to talking with this Skylark lass, and she had the most interesting things to say! The bulk of which I couldn't possibly fit into this little message I'm writing to your fine library, but I thought perhaps you might be interested in some of the details about her past.

Anyway, I'll try and relay all that she told me, to the best of my recollection....

There's a little known sprite town by the name of Cloudfae that resides in a hill next to a marsh no one's heard of. It is in this town that the leaders (the king and queen if you wish to give them titles, but they rarely use them) decided to get married. Mostly just to prevent a little sprite uprising, and really having little or nothing to do with liking each other. There was a rift forming among the people of Cloudfae, and those who lived inside the hill, were becoming hostile with those who lived outside the hill (have you ever heard such a silly thing?). Anyway, the respective leaders of both looked upon their people with sadness. They were grieved that such anger could be arisen over nothing at all, and agreed to put a stop to it by way of a marriage.

As luck would have it, their plan worked. Having seen the new king and queen manage to overcome any differences they had, the sprites of Cloudfae quit their petty squabbling, and made chipper happy friends again.

Now for a good long time, things were just so-so with the king and queen. Neither one really disliked the other, but unfortunately, neither one really liked the other either. As time progressed though, they were forced to do more and more things together (in a stately sort of way) and found that they really adored each other's company. As luck would have it, they even soon found that they adored each other. Within a couple years, they were madly in love, and to top it all off, they were already married!

It was of this love, that only 5 years after the emergency marriage, King Nippit of Cloudfae, and Queen Taliee of Cloudfae, found that the queen was pregnant (sorry if you don't know where babies come from, but I'm not putting that in this story!).

Tension was high on the day of the birth, and the whole tiny city held its breath as the first of two twins (Isn't it odd how twins always come in two's? I always found it odd...) was born. The parents were overjoyed, and placed the name of Skylark on her then and there. But all was not well with the queen... Although the first child had come with ease, the second was causing more pain than expected to Taliee.

And so it was that on that fateful day, Queen Taliee passed away. Born to her beloved husband, and king of Cloudfae, were two daughters. Skylark the first, and the second bearing the name of Sorrow... for his grief would allow no other name to spill from the king's lips.

Despite the grief of Nippit, he soon was overcome with the blessing of his two daughters, and returned at least partially to his happy-go-lucky spritely self. Skylark and Sorrow were raised in a city that loved them, and by a father that cherished them, but they were also a curious lot. Perhaps it was because they had no mother to teach them of caution, or perhaps it was because their magics were proclaimed as the strongest in all Cloudfae, or perhaps it was... just because, but one fine day, two decades after their births, Skylark and Sorrow set out in search of a wondrous city that they new only by name and reputation.

The gods only know where all they went in the years beforehand, searching for this city, but in the end, the twins came to the Nexus, the city of all races, and were welcomed as kindly as if it were their hometown, and so they decided to stay.

Do they have some higher purpose for being here? Will they ever return to Cloudfae? Does Skylark drink funny green water? Far be it for this lowly bard to say, but they certainly are cute.

Well, I hope you find some use for this tale in your great library sirs, and I'm off to Kalim's, because its just a hair closer from your door!

 

Starla

Class: Mage
Race: Elf

Once, I lived happily in an elven village, safely hidden by magics from the goblins for centuries. It seems long ago now, and strangely too as if it was only yesterday. I was out in the forest, playing hide and seek with a deer. When I returned, I found to my horror that death and destruction had descended upon my village. Frantically, I seached for my family. I found them in pieces, so mangled and dismembered that I could only identify them from the shreds of clothing they wore. I found no survivors, not even children or pets. There was blood everywhere, a sea of blood. I must have been in shock for quite some time, lost and alone, just kneeling there in all that blood, overcome by pain and memories.

When I regained some sense of myself and reality, it was night. I thought my mother would be worried or upset that I was so late, but then I remembered. I tried to wash away the blood with a river of tears, but nothing will ever wash it away.

Eventually, I decided I couldn't leave them like that, food for the carrion-eaters. I tried to bury them, but there were so many, and the roots were impenetrable. So, I built funeral pyres and set about the gruesome chore of collecting the bodies and the pieces of the bodies of those I had known and loved all my life. It took me close to two months. It was a nightmare. There was nothing to eat. Even had there been food, I would not have dared eat. I retched my insides raw. It did not take long before the corpses began to bloat and rot. There were maggots and flies, and that incredible ceaseless stench. At some time during this odious task, it finally pierced my misery that there were no enemy corpses, none at all. I searched in earnest then for evidence of who or what had done this. There was not a trace. There were no lost or broken weapons or pieces of armor, and no tracks in the soft red mud except my own. I thought then, perhaps it might have been a dragon wing, but there were no scorch-marks on the corpses or on the ground or trees. When the last great pyre was lit, I whispered a prayer to Tilnar for those departed and left Thara-lin for the last time. I trudged dazed and desperately weak from hunger along the eastern path, and then I saw the grave. A solitary grave had rested beneath the great oak since long before I was born, but now it was all dug up, empty, no remains, no bones, no tracks.

I wandered toward the Nexus then. Our people have known of this place for ages, and I did not know where else to go. As I walked, I thought of what little I knew of that empty, gaping grave from the tales I had heard. It was the grave of a cougar, the only friend of a lost, homeless girl, slain in a tragic misunderstanding long ago. She was said to have been the most beautiful female seen in centuries, possibly ever. Our mages gave her magical, emerald hair that matched her eyes. She never told us her name, but I found her here anyway. I now know her name is Azara. Her adopted sister Oradea who knows of such things, believes some dark force may have possessed the spirit of the dead cougar and may yet hunt me. She crafted a talisman for my protection.

Horrible things seem to happen to most who befriend me. The mages I trained with suicided when the weave shifted. Sasha met a final death. Dhamon was marked false. Jewel is but a memory. Oradea's village is besieged. She has left on a perilous sea voyage, seeking to aid them. Azara's brother, Naranek sacrificed himself to destroy an evil, monstrous beast. Now, I fear the friendship of others lest they too come to harm.

I have met one here that I might care to love, but he cares not for me it seems. Perhaps that is best.

I search for some reason my existence should continue. Mostly, I do it to deny whatever seeks to destroy me, whatever it was that ravaged Thara-lin.

 

Talomar

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

Talomar sat huddled on the steps of the town square, shivering uncontrollably. The brisk, icy winds of winter thrashed against his frail, trembling body. His half-shut, weary eyes started to shift hypnotically, as if under a trance.

"Please, Talomar, stay. I do not want to lose you as well." A female renis grabbed Talomar's slender arm, though his resolve made it seem merely like a token gesture.

"I will return, Mother, when my studies at the university are complete." Talomar shrugged the mother off as he boarded a boat. The renis woman gazed at the boat as it moved away from the pier, her eyes filled with sadness.

Talomar disembarked from the boat. He saw a sign that read, "Welcome to Rymek." He nodded and headed north, to the city of Nexus.

"The university is WHAT?!" Talomar looked at the man incredulously.

"It's been many, many, many years since the university has been in operation. Only the Gods know how many buildings have been built on top of its remains." The man's nonchalant look was in sharp contrast to the enraged Talomar.

"Well, tell me Master Fariol is still in the city, something!"

The man stared blankly at Talomar. "Fariol's been dead for about 30 years."

Talomar replied with strange agitation, "Well who is this famed Tower's master?!"

The man replied, "It is Thelia, an elven weavemistress... from Tholm. Mayhaps you've heard of her?"

Talomar scratched his head a moment, and nodded slowly. "The name sounds familiar. Perhaps you might know how I can study within the confines of that tower?"

The man looked back blankly. "Try going to the tower." The man pointed down Market Street. "Walk down that way, and turn right at the intersection, you should be able to see it."

Talomar nodded slowly, and began walking.

As Talomar shivered away in the biting cold, a tall human walked over to him, placing a blanket around his shoulders. Talomar looked up and offered a weak smile. The man began singing a song. The man's lyre burned brightly, warmth emanating from it. Pulling the blanket around him tightly, Talomar took in the warmth from the magically glowing lyre as his shivering gradually came to a stop.

 

Tif'eret

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

In the midst of my life's journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood. I never saw so drear, so rank, so arduous a wilderness. Its very memory gives a shape to fear. How I came to it I cannot rightly say, so drugged and loose with sleep had I become when I first wandered there from the True Way. But at the far end of that valley of evil, whose maze had sapped my very heart with fear, I found myself before a little hill and lifted my eyes. Its shoulders glowed already with the sweet rays of sunlight, its feet still wrapped in the cool mist of night. The sight strengthened me against the fright whose agony had wracked the lake of my heart through all the terrors of that piteous previous journey. Just as a swimmer, who with his last breath flounders ashore from perilous seas, might turn to memorize the wide water of his death, so did I turn, my soul still fugitive from death's surviving image, to stare down that pass that none has ever left alive. And there I lay until the racing of my heart slowed to a pace more amenable to the climb ahead. Recalling my classical education, I took a moment to tie a loose thread from the hem of my cloak around a tree trunk. Then, picking off the earth a stout fallen branch, I proceeded to climb, one footfall above the other, towards the crown.

As I neared the summit, I entered a small clearing. A boy, young and petulant, sat on a flat stone in its center petting a hyena standing beside him, his finger wrapping around a tuft of brown fur in the creature's hackles. A blood red python lay coiled at their feet. The boy reached into his pocket and the hyena cackled in anticipation. With a cold smile, the boy fed something, it was hard to see what, to his pet. I looked closer as the hyena chewed. I looked at my hands, first the right then the left. I felt no pain or remorse, but I knew what the hyena was eating. I looked again at the empty space on each hand where once there was a finger. The boy grinned again and fed the hyena his second treat. I stepped forward, but the beast would not let me pass, standing so as to block my every turn. I wavered back, and still the beast pursued, forcing himself against me bit by bit till I slid back into the sunless wood. There, I felt a strange sensation around my bare feet and, looking down, realized that I had stepped directly into the coil of the python.

The snake began to slowly wrap itself around me, and as I felt my soul's ruin, a presence gathered before me in the discolored air: the figure of one who seemed hoarse from a long silence, hoary headed and long of face. He was reni like my ancestors and his fur was the color of gold and his eyes the deepest blue of night. He held his hand out for mine, and as I reached to grab it, I noticed the hyena descending quickly upon us. Without fear, I clasped his hand and he pulled me from the python's grip. It was almost as if I passed right through the snake's coils. A fog that had been building descended upon the wood. The boy and his pets still lay along my original path, but the reni showed me a route to the summit that appeared out of the primordial ether, and we walked the Wizard's Walk along it.

On the crest of the hill stood a great oak tree under which sat the entrance to a cave. The mouth of the cave was not dark, yet it had darkness to it. The air there seemed to shimmer and glow despite the lack of light. The reni pointed to the cave.

"I must travel through there," he said. "You may follow if you wish, but first, I ask only that you read this."

He handed me a rolled parchment.

"I cannot say that one path is better or easier than the other. Each has its rewards. Each has its challenges. The choice is yours to make."

With that, he stepped into the shimmering darkness, leaving me holding the parchment alone, the wind blowing strongly through the leaves of the oak. I watched as the reni receded into the depths of the cave. As he moved further away, his form seemed to shift and I saw him take on a kaleidoscope of personas, some of men, some of women, some of whom I recognized, and some whose aura blinded any chance at recognition. As the figure slipped away into the nothingness of the cave, I turned my attention to the parchment. It was made from cobwebs woven together by a subtle, delicate magic that you could feel flowing from it. This is what it said.

Greetings from yourself. Actually, I should say greetings from that which was yourself, for that which was is never exactly the same as that which is. If you are reading this, then I can only assume that you have died and your soul has been released. Do not worry, this is a good thing and is all a part of my plan. The first part actually. The shock of death does strange things to the memory. In time, as you became accustomed to your new state of being, all of what I am about to say would become evident to you. That is time, however, that we do not have. I will therefore try and spell things out as clearly, but as succinctly as possible. All of what you have just gone through and what you will soon go through arises from a rather difficult situation that I have found myself in. My body had become an experimental vessel for the ancient wyrm Inferno. This was not a mutually beneficial relationship and thus not entirely desirable for yours truly. When first Inferno began to assert his will over my body, I could not stop him. I was drugged and weakened and the dragon was far more powerful than I was. I found myself relegated to the deepest, smallest, and most secure recesses of my mind. Out of necessity, out of my need to not be erased from existence, came the plan. It was rather simple in nature. But, it was not something I could even think of attempting until the day that the wand appeared. Maana's wand. Inferno was using it, among other things, to aid his transformation. Contact with the god's power, even as remote as mine, lead to a clearing of my thoughts, a greater understanding, and out of this clarity, an idea gradually formed. First, I had to devise a way to kill myself, to dispose of the body in which my soul was now trapped (given the fact that you are reading this letter, I assume I was successful). Second, I had to find a way back. I worked in dreams, exerting subtle influence over those around me. My weapons were silence, exile, and cunning. While I could not assert direct change, I could influence. I could not plant a seed, but I could water a plant that was already there. Hence, I focused what I could of my will on Astaroth and the jealousy that I knew to live with him always. Inferno was slowly teaching him to use Maana's wand. I looked into Astaroth's eyes and I knew he longed to possess the power of the wand fully. He felt that Inferno was holding him back. I also saw glimpses of hatred, despite the fact that he tried to hide them, when he looked at me: the body of his former enemy transformed into such a powerful creature. I wove Astaroth's feelings while he slept. I let him know that I still existed, that I was waiting, biding my time, until the day I could destroy him with my newfound powers. I cultured his jealousy and hatred. I watered the garden of his mind. I pushed him closer and closer to the breaking point. This was the manner in which I hoped to kill myself. To drive Astaroth into such a rage that he would murder me, destroying this body, and setting me free. I can only smile now at the anger that Inferno must have felt as he sensed the body, and that part of himself that he had put in it, destroyed. The second part of the plan took a bit more thought. When my soul was released, what kind of power would I have? What kind of influence could I exert? I assumed that, once dead, I would not have the ability to simply will myself back. It became evident that I would have to arrange for my reincarnation in the mortal plane. I had to find a way to reach from this world into the spirit world. Again, I turned to Astaroth. In his dreams, I saw him standing over my dead body, a look of triumph on his face. He turned to darksilver pedestal in the center of the room and picked up the wand, caressing, it, feeling its power. Here, in this vision of the future, I saw my chance. I slowly began to weave a spell. It was not a big spell at all, for such a thing I could not accomplish. It was small and inconspicuous. Drawing on my research in the alteration of size, I sought to devise a way to expand magic beyond its intent. I surmised that, given a powerful enough spell, a small push could set the magic avalanching beyond what the caster had originally intended. It was this kind of push that I wove with the magic of the wand. I sought to compliment its power so as to more effectively hide my efforts. So we reach the point at which you now stand. If my spell works, time itself will be altered and you will have the opportunity to go back. Despite all of my efforts in this realm, I cannot make you return if you do not want to. The choice remains yours and I respect whichever direction you choose. -Renton

As I folded the parchment, I felt a slight tug at my neck. My cloak, its thread now run out along the length of my journey, was slowly reweaving itself before my eyes. I picked up the thread, a bit in each hand, and pulled it taut. If I broke the string, I could sever the connection to what I once was and step into the shimmering cave. While I longed to see what lay beyond, I knew that I could not, and I dropped the thread, allowing it to weave back into place. I began to retrace my steps, pulled by the reforming cloak, pulled by the weaving of the spell. I walked back through the clearing and saw the python lying dead on the ground. I walked back through the woods until I reached the tree around which I had tied the end of the thread and watched as the knot became untied and the cloak became whole.

For a moment, and I am not certain how long this moment lasted, there was nothing, an absence of all things. Darkness. Then, a flash of blinding light and I was drawn into it. Through it. I took a deep breath and felt air in my lungs. I opened my eyes. The reni midwife looked at me with surprise, for I did not cry. Something felt different. This was not the body I remembered. I looked at the reni who had given birth to me and the face was not the face I expected, not the face of my mother. I held up my hands and examined the smooth, empty space on each where a finger should have been, symbols of what I left behind on this long, strange journey. I would have to contemplate in further detail later why my original body was not returned to me. Perhaps only the soul is immortal, and only the soul could be affected by Astaroth's misshapen magic. I looked again at the woman who was now my mother and smiled. She smiled back, with love, but also with a look of slight fear and uncertainty, at the strange child that had just come from her womb. I heard a man's voice from the other side of the room. It was the voice of my father. He spoke one word.

 

Tyne

Class: Mage
Race: Human

*Written with fine script on a long parchment*

For months I've set aside the ordeal of making public events of my life. It is a difficult thing to sit down and write a brief record of the events that have taken place over a 23 year period, 18 of which I have clear recollection. But I will record vital this information not because I was asked by a scribe, but to fulfill an obligation to recorded history, my posterity and most important, myself. As an old man with a rotting mind I know I would rather read of myself above any other in the realms.

My name in full is Tyne Aurus Masler, a Wizard trained on Falcion and in the Tower of Nexus. I write this account on Aalur the twelfth, and the month is Chrysalis.

I was born the thirteenth of the month of Wildfire as first son to a successful merchant of Nexus. My father would trade goods with such places as Rymek, Talmet, and Rosehelm. I was told, when I was a child, that he would lead the caravans himself with but a few hirelings to aid him. My mother spoke of his proficiency with a blade and how impressive a warrior he had become after serving in the Nexus Guard. When told of these things, I would look at my fat, lazy father and wonder if they were true.

By the time I was three years old my father's business had grown such that he did not have to travel. He grew lazy, fat, and old very quickly. At this time he was 45 years old and my mother 28. The attention of my parents was upon me solely. I was taught at a young age to read and write with a fine hand. Books were made readily available that I would be able to study and understand the harsh activity that surrounded my world. I rarely left my home being far too afraid to risk being hurt at this point in my life, but a desire to explore burned within me since the day I was born.

At the age of 5 my mother taught me proper etiquette. She had felt it important for me to act like a noble, speak like a noble, and even walk as she felt a noble would. I heard say that she herself had traces of blood within her.. it mattered little to me. I was her puppet and showpiece. At this young age I felt as though something was missing in me. I had read about the gods and prayed to all, save one, as directed by my mother and found it did nothing to fill what was missing inside of me. It was not until the age of twelve that I had found my true calling and gift in sorcery.

My mother had given birth to another by the name of Fhyn. He was far different from I. We were for the most part kept separate. He would spend much time with my father and I would be kept by my mother. At family dinners I would look across the table and see my own brother and think him a stranger. While I was quiet, he was loud, amiable, and the life of any gathering. I envied him for that- it was not until later that I found that he also envied me for my knowledge and the attention our mother gave me. At the age of 14 I had been fed up with my lot in life and he soon found out and attempted to aid me in my plight..

It was a Ruvur, probably in the month of Midnight. I remember it being fall, so I am fairly sure it was Midnight. Regardless, this was the first time my brother took me out to meet some of his friends. We left during the late evening to several taverns, and finally Trista's, where I met several people with whom I've been acquainted since. I had the time of my life that night and many nights after. A rebellious spirit grew within me. I would openly defy my mother and father daily. I would make a fool of myself in front of my mother's guests. I would no longer be their puppet to show off. I went so far as to pierce a gold ring threw the centre of my bottom lip. I did this at the age of 16; an act that angered my mother so much as to silence her for weeks. Throughout this madness I continued to study. My mind thirsts for knowledge and craves it. As I grew older I also began to work with the weave. Performing simple tricks and learning to draw from it under the guidance of a man I met during one of my tavern escapades.

The circumstances by which I left my home to Falcion are something I will not record at this time. However, if you ask, and you are a beautiful woman, I will probably tell you. (I am of course kidding, I am very approachable) I will end my account here and I will write further as I feel it necessary.

Final notes: My parents have remained nameless because it would cramp my hand to write them down. I still have a deep dislike for them for reasons unrecorded here. I will not be a subject to their manipulation any longer.

Tyne Aurus Masler.

 

Wilem

Class: Mage
Race: Reni

Wilem was born in the town of Lomak, in the south. Lomak was a trading port, a primarily human town, with ships passing through frequently, trading their wares. Into this port ventured Katori and Madelna, a pair of Reni travelers, recently wed. They planned a short stay in Lomak, since the human population here did not particularly like other races and merely tolerated them to trade with.

A couple days after their arrival however, Madelna told Katori of a new life growing inside her. Katori was thrilled, but they both decided that Madelna should not travel further with child. Katori and Madelna had one child before, a daughter, who was stolen from them when she was but a month old.

Thus, Katori went out in Lomak to seek employment, and was refused everywhere! However, Katori was a very resourceful and intelligent man, and saw an opportunity here. Using his savings, he opened an Import-Export Company. The business was shunned by the human populace at first, however Katori used his keen business sense to get more and more business from the traders, and eventually, while people complained about the Reni, they started using his business nonetheless, greed giving way to hatred.

Wilem was born several months later, and for the next few years, things were good. The Reni family stayed mostly to themselves, and Wilem turned out to be an exceptionally intelligent child, even for a Renis. She learned under Madelna's capable tutelage. The child had fiery red hair, and an equally fiery spirit, loving every new thing she was introduced to. By the time she was seven however, she was becoming frustrated with the lack of contact with others. Madelna tried to shield the child from the racial slurs of the human children.

At about this time, a representative of the Chioma family came to visit Katori. The Chioma family was a poor excuse for a Thieves Guild in Lomak. The Chioma had no sense of honor or fair judgment, and treated those who displeased them harshly. Witnesses seldom survived long enough to attest to anything a Chioma had done, and on the rare occasions they did, justice was never served. The Chioma representative explained the concept of "protection money" to Katori, who promptly refused, having never experience this sort of thing before. The next day, Katori walked into his offices to find them trashed. He went to the authorities, who laughed at him, having no sympathy for the Reni. Katori resolved not to give into the Chioma, and told the authorities this, and that he would be taking his family and leaving Lomak. When Katori returned home, he saw his wife, Madelna, lying on the floor. As he rushed into the room, something struck him on the back of the head and he fell beside his wife in a crumpled heap.

Wilem was brought out of her room by one of the strangers who had come to visit her mother, she cried out, her parents were tied into chairs before her. The stranger held his hand over Wilem's mouth and forced her to watch as her parents were tortured, then killed. Wilem was shattered, she was taken into the service of the Chioma, her spirit, and her body on occasion, beaten. She was a very intelligent girl, and quickly learned how to behave to avoid the beatings. The Chioma became very impressed with her, they never needed to repeat anything to her, and she carried out her tasks diligently. Wilem was 12 the first time she was ordered to work at the brothel house, she nearly died that night, and ended up severely beaten. From that point on, she tried very hard to avoid being used in that way again, and a lot of the time she was successful, but some of the time she was not. Her love of life and fiery spirit were defeated, and she did not care about living anymore.

The war of the races had begun by now, and a sizable group of goblins attacked Lomak, carving a path of destruction as they swarmed through the town. At this time, Wilem was with one of the elder Chioma brothers who had taken a liking to her. Distracted, the Chioma got up to go to the window and see what was going on. Wilem pulled a dagger from underneath the pillow and when the Chioma turned back to her, plunged it into his chest, and squealed with delight as she watched the light fade from his eyes. She ran then, not expecting to make it far, but not caring. Surprisingly, she made it to the street, and watched as a group of goblins approached her, swords drawn, and Wilem expected to die. A ball of fire erupted among the Goblins, throwing pieces of them along the street. Wilem looked around to see a tall man in sigiled robes behind her, and watched as he sent a bolt of lightning down the street to scatter another group of Goblins. Wilem was intrigued, and tried to repeat what the man had done, managing only to give herself a small shock. Wilem was intrigued, but disappointed. The man however, watched her and saw the enormous potential in this small, nearly naked child. She had watched him cast one spell and then managed to do some small magic afterwards. More goblins approached and the man held Wilem's hand and gestured and suddenly they were in another place. Dracus accepted Wilem as his