Lifepath Results Family Ranking: Freeman (11). Parents are alive and family status is okay. Childhood spent in a seafaring pirate pack. Four siblings, two older brothers and two younger sisters. Brothers hero-worship you, one sister hates you and the other is neutral. Is shy and secretive, but likes almost everyone. Values a mentor, honesty, and his musical instrument most.
Life Events Found a Gaikahn trainer that taught you “improved unarmed strike”. Made a male friend who is like a foster parent, probably mentor from above. Most likely the captain or an officer of the ship on which he serves. Held hostage for five months by a rival pirate cell. Powerful guild leader owes you a favour. Made female enemy. Was a partner or coworker who deserted or betrayed you. Feeling of hatred is mutual. Would verbally attack each other on meeting. The enemy can bring a small guild to bear against you. Had a happy love affair.
Kaida was born and orphaned during the battle
of Belisk in 35,720. Both of her parents disappeared during the fierce
battles that raged during the short war between Belisk and Lenta. She does
not remember her parents and believes them to be dead.
A kindly (and opportunistic) muirhaut, Rykeir
Fancywhiskers, found Kaidachild lying amongst the dead in a village outside
the walls of Belisk and whisked her away from the battle to raise as his
Rykeir took Kaida in and raised her as he would
his own daughter, training her in the skills that he knew best; bobbing,
boung nipping, dub lay, and the art of being a knight of the post. Rykeir
was a thief and a con artistry, he taught these skills to his daughter
and she began to back him up on shams and hoists. The two of them would
travel from place to place, mostly at the whim of the local city watch
or town guard, posing as scouts or guides, earning some small amount of
legitimate cash as they planned their next big score. While on the road
they would stay with wandering muirhaut clans and would always settle into
the muirhaut communities of any settlement they happened to be staying
in. Kaida found that she frequently forgot that she was not of her fathers
species, until some uncouth comment by a human would snap her back to reality.
In truth, she found the camaraderie of her adopted species to be the most
Not until Kaida found love in the arms of a human merchant, Dursir Tarval, did the duality of her situation strike her. She loved her muirhaut father and the friends that she had made amongst his people, but also she was in love with Dursir who did not understand her relationship with the muirhauts. Rykeir disliked Dursir and did not approve of his daughter seeing this crass and arrogant human. It was not long before the struggle of two cultures and the disapproval of Kaida’s father resulted in the end of Kaida’s relationship with Dursir. Kaida broke off her relationship with Dursir and moved on with her father. Redoubling her efforts to find the big score.
In the city of Uric Kaida fell afoul of a local politician, who chose not to forget a scam that cost him nearly a passings wages. Fallon Redentor vowed himself to stopping such crimes and con artistry in Uric. One of the first victims of this vow was Kaida. The city watch descended on one of her simpler schemes with a fierceness she had not experienced before, and with a mockery of a trial she was thrown into the dungeons below castle Uric. Her sentence was to be for 5 cycles, but the skills that Rykeir had taught her and her own good fortune allowed her to escape within the second passing of her imprisonment. Fallon swore to see her put to justice, as none had ever escaped him before.
Returning to the streets she was greeted by horrible news… While she was locked away beneath Castle Uric her father had been killed. Apparently he had gotten involved in a false con, a set-up that was orchestrated by Fallons men. When the bust went down things got rough and Rykeir had taken three feet of steel in his belly. Though she was devastated by the news, she realized she needed to move on. She needed to get out of Uric and find someplace where the law didn’t know her. A place where the pickings were ripe and she could make a new start.
And thus she found herself before the gates of Teesh. A moody, headstrong girl looking to make a fortune for herself. Though life has taught her to be secretive, independent, and untrusting soul, here she may find those who can help her achieve her goals. With a look over her shoulder and a shrug she heads into the city, looking for that one big score that will satisfy her thirst for wealth.
Alora was brought up in a small farm community just on the outskirts of The Skorr. She spent a very happy childhood growing up in a loving, hard working home. Though she lived the life of a farm girl, she learned many important lessons throughout her short life.
Her parents, Rochelle and Derk, taught her the value of labor and a hard days work. They taught her how to think solidly and make and be responsible for her decisions. Alora’s 2 older twin sisters, Cordance and Kellie, taught her how to be kind and strong as well as the necessity of charm and grace as a young lady. But of all the lessons taught in the household, Kyle, her younger brother, helped her learn the values of patience, understanding and compassion. In fact of the family, Alora spent most of her time with Kyle, playing tunes on her lute, making up stories and then setting them to song. Often in late fall after the harvest, the two of them would sit and make up songs of adventurers, hero’s and of far away places.
As Alora grew to a young woman, her time with her family became less frequent. She found herself walking for hours through the wood and fields, off exploring new places, but never to far from home. During these short “outings” as she called them, she would always daydreaming that she was exploring some far away place and helping those in need. Most often she returned home that very day, but as she became more adventurous, she found herself to walk further and further from her home, but always sure to come home before to late. Alora would set off just before the red sun rose, rarely to return until the after the seasonal moon shone high in the night sky.
As her adventures took her farther from her home
and for longer periods of time, she thought it practical to take a pack
with a few provisions with her, and she always brought her favorite lute.
It was one evening as she decided to make a camp
did she hear what sounded like a struggle or battle. She rushed toward
the sound in time to find 2 men battling. She ducked behind some
thick grass and watched as the blows became more bloody and violent with
the men’s raging tempers. Swords reflected the early moons reflection and
made the darkening night look like slices were being carved out of the
air. Finally, in one swift, and cleaver blow, by the man who she
thought would for sure lose, the fight ended in the stronger looking of
the two collapsing into a bloody heap. She lay quietly in the
grass trying to not make a sound. When the voice called to her.
“Child” he called, “I know you’re in the bush”, she rolled onto her back
terrified, holding absolutely still, trying not to even breath. She
fumbled for her pack grabbing for the dagger her father had given her just
in case he said.
“I need some help child, could you please come”
the injured man coughed violently and spat, only what she could imagine
was blood. Alora rolled onto her stomach and began to rise to all
fours. “I will only come if I have your word on the Maiden of Arbil
that you will not harm me” Alora’s voice wavered.
“Child” his voice calming “I cannot not give you
my word in that context, but I assure you on all that it just and free
that I will not harm you unless you give me just cause”.
Alora wasn’t sure how to respond to that but did
decide that his need was great. She cautiously approached the man
and found him to be even slighter then had expected, but his body was very
well formed and his skin was taunt against slender, but strong muscle.
The second moon rose into the sky and the night
around them grew darker. Alora stopped several feet from the man
and lit a candle. “Child, I will not harm you, you have my word,”
the man sounded honest and trusting. Alora walked closer but hesitated
about 4 feet from him. “Do you have any bandage and ointment in your
pack?” he moved his hand from a wound on his shoulder and blood poor out
of it like water running down your skin in a bath.
Alora stood stunned that the man was still sitting
and not at all scared.
”Oh my, does that hurt?” she reached out as if
her distance from him would allow her to touch the wound. “Yes,
very much, and that is why I need your help, I am losing blood very fast
and I don’t have much time until I pass out from blood loss, if you could
bandage it for me, maybe it will help slow the blood.”
Alora new she didn’t have anything that would
really help, but she did know that she had to help so she tore a large
piece of cloth from her breeches and pushed gently, but firmly on the wound.
The man shuddered, and took a deep breath. She applied pressure to the
wound long enough for the bleeding to slow, but not without sacrificing
the better part of her pants and his shirt.
She took her leave from him long enough to gather
some kindling and wood for a small fire and some moss to put on the wound.
She laid her dagger blade in the fire and waited for it to become red hot.
She checked he water supply and saw that she had enough for him to have
a few sips and to help clean the wound. After cleaning the wound
with the water, she carefully removed the dagger from the fire. The
man expecting the pain braced himself against the tree trunk and bite down
on the hilt of his sword. Alora placed the hot blade over the skin
and the stench of burnt flesh penetrated into the air. The man shivered
and flinched, but didn’t make much of a sound. There was just enough
water in her flask to cool the seared skin she placed some fresh cloth
from her shirt over the wound.
After taking care of the man she settled her self
on the opposite side of the fire from him and began to strum her lute.
For a long while they sat without speaking, except for the occasional song
from Alora. Then she found the courage to ask. “What did you
mean by not in that context”
The man looked puzzled, then the look of
recollection came across his face. “Child, there are many things
in this world you do not understand, bad things that happen to good people
and good things that happen to bad” he began to lecture, “but even these
are more understanding and visible to you then the evil that befalls on
everyone and everything”
Alora sat quite for a moment, and then began to
hum a line from one of her songs. “I think you under estimate me
sir” she stopped playing and stood. “I have learned a many thing
in my short life, and have been an excellent student. I know that I have
freedom from oppression, good food, a wonderful family and a “goddess”
that protects us, don’t misunderstand, I am well aware of the evils in
this world, and though I am not the victim of it, it does not mean that
it doesn’t touch my heart to hear of those who suffer from its plight”
Alora walked toward the man and placed her hand on the sword. “I
also know that good people often do bad things which can blacken their
heart and lead them to evil” She looked into his eyes “I am not afraid
of what is out there, because I know I can overcome its spell”
The man laughed what started out to be a hearty
laugh, almost to big for such a slender man, but it ended in coughing and
spitting of blood. Alora kneeled beside him resting her hand on his
“You are sick with fever, come over here and rest
by the fire” she took his hand and drew him to the fire. She gathered
some grass to make bedding for him, then lay down beside him using her
body to warm his, also trying to protect her from the cooling night air.
In the morning, she went to find the river not
to far from their camp, she filled the flask with water and washed some
of the blood stained cloth. When she returned to the camp, she found
the man to be sitting up resting against the same tree as the night before.
“I have bandaged you, cared for you, and I still
do not know your name” Alora started working at removing the current bandages
on the wound and replaced them with the clean ones.
“Sage” the man stated “I am Sage, and who might
you be?” he glanced up into her young face and realized that she could
only be maybe 13. She was tall for her age and very mature looking
strength lay behind her bright blue eyes. Her hair was now laid loose
on her shoulders where last night it was held back in some type of knot.
She was very beautiful for such a young girl, and he knew that she would
grow to be even more beautiful. But of all the things that stood
out, was that strength and confidence she held in herself that impressed
upon him and he knew that she could very well help him in his cause.
“Alora”, she said as she sat beside him “that will take some time to heal unless you get to a healer” she fussed with the bandage a bit more “I put some more moss on it to help speed the healing, and keep out infection, but that is all I can do for you.”
Alora looked up toward the skies “I have to leave now otherwise I will never make it to my home before both moons are in the sky.” She picked up the lute then the pack and shoved the dagger into a pocket she had made for it on the inside flap of the pouch. Hiking it over her shoulder, she turned and started walking in the direction of her home.
Before she even got more then 10 feet away, she turned and looked at the man she had met “Sage, I have a long walk, but it is closer then any city, I think maybe you should come with me, I am sure my mother can help your wound along” She stared into his face for a moment searching for something, any kind of response to her suggestion “Or don’t” she stated matter of fact and turned and started walking.
“Hold up young Alora” Sage called, “I am wounded after all” he teased. Alora turned around with a stomp, and met his smiling face; she could feel the heat rising in her skin and looked down at her feet to hide the blush. Sage grimaced and almost fell to the earth. Alora dashed to his side to help him to his balance. “I will carry these for you” as she lifted his sword and a small pouch. “Under the condition you tell me of your adventures” she smiled up at him and he down at her. Her heart melted, and she had to turn away again quickly this time to hide the red in her cheeks.
No real mention of the battle except for once during the walk home Alora asked about the dead man. Sage’s only response to that was she would learn in time and that he indeed planned to share much with her. This of course made her blush again and pick up her pace.
It was late night when she finally reached her
home. From a distance she could see the candlelight wavering in the
windows. Rusty, the family dog lay on the porch and jumped to his
feet when he heard the sound of intruders. Barking furiously, he
charged toward Alora and the stranger. “Rusty, Heel!” Alora commanded.
The charge settled into a jolly romp run, his bark more a welcome then
a threat. The front door of the little farmhouse flew open with her
father Derk in its shadow. She could tell by his profile that he
was holding his rifle in his hand.
“Daddy, Its me, Alora, and I have brought someone
with me who need healing” Alora shouted to the shadow.
“Alora, what in the name of Brea…” he stopped the scolding when he finally found his night vision and could focus on the man walking with her. “Rochelle, get your kit we have a visitor who needs your help,” Derk called into the house. “You young lady have some explaining to do,” he said in a stern, but concerned voice.
“Alora Danielle, where in heavens name have you been!” Her mother came though the door and hugged her.” We expected you sometime mid Dae. “Rochelle,” she stated to the stranger, “and this is Derk, come inside and lets take a look at you”
Rochelle tended to Sage’s wounds and then fixed something for the two travelers to eat. After Alora was finished with her meal she was hurried off to bed “We have a lot of talking to do in the morning young lady” her mother lectured sternly, “Sleep well child” her father called after her. Derk turned to Sage to continue on with a discussion that started during the meal. The topic seemed all to political for Alora to take much interest in, but her father seemed to be enjoying himself and that made her happy so she just mostly listened.
After about an hour of tossing in her bed, Alora snuck out into the main room to check on their guest. She got to the corner of the steps in time to hear Sage offer to help the family prepare for the Harvest and Derk to happily except his offer. Just then, she saw Sage look directly at her nod and wink. Derk didn’t even turn his head instead said “Alora Danielle O’Donnall, you had best be in your bed young lady you are in enough trouble.” Alora ran over to her father kissed him on the cheek and ran off to bed.
During his stay, Sage worked as a farm hand, working
in the fields as well as doing some smithing. At the end of each
day, Alora would finish her daily chores and always make time to sit and
have lengthy conversations with Sage. During these conversations,
he would express the ideals of the Herald, romancing Alora’s attention
and guiding her in that direction. After realizing that Sage had
her attention, he decided that it was time to talk seriously with Alora
about training her as a Nehsurin apprentice.
He chose a time that he knew they would be alone,
away from everyone, even young Kyle. Alora had planned another adventure,
and Sage offered to go along to keep her safe, Derk and Rochelle knew that
Alora felt safe with him and agreed to the adventure, especially because
it was the longest one she would have gone on by herself.
Alora and Sage awoke before 7th lyt to head off
on their journey. Rochelle had made a breakfast for them and kissed her
daughter on the forehead. “Be safe my daughter” she said as the companions
walked into the early morning.
The first few hours were very quiet between them
and once they had decided to stop and rest, Sage sat next to Alora and
looked directly into her face. He couldn’t help but feel connected
to this child, she felt like a sister, but it was much more. He new
that it would never be because of their age, but the feeling was still
“Alora, I need to speak seriously with you right
now” Sage’s face looked stern almost like her fathers.
“Um, you have my attention” she spoke giving him
an odd look, “why are you looking at my like my father would?”
“Because this is a very serious matter and I need
your undivided attention.” He drew closer to her in order to better see
her eyes. He began “We have had countless discussions about many
things, most surrounding thoughts and feelings about my duties as a Harold.”
Sage took her young face in his hands and desperately wanted to kiss her,
but dropped his hand and went back to his speech “Alora, we are very few,
and have a huge burden to carry, when we find someone who has the ability,
we train them and make them one of us to fight against the aberrations
that are the regents, you, Alora, you can be a Herald. You can join
us in our battle for freedom. You have the talent, raw skill, and
you have the ability to see the Aura, if you would let me, I would be your
mentor, and you could be my Nehsurin apprentice.”
Alora sat with her jaw parted, disappointed that
he didn’t kiss her and astonished that he thought of her as one of his
“I don’t know,” she started to say “It sounds very frightening, what about Kyle?”
“No, I am truly sorry, Kyle can grow to be a strong warrior, but never a Herald, only you Alora” he was sad that he had to tell her this about her brother, but new that he could never be what she could be.
“What do I have to do?” she asked as she struggled to pull herself from the ground.
“You need to understand, that if you choose the path of the Herald, you chose a life of difficulties, but one that holds much honor. Most people are ignorant of what abominations the Regents are, and for your safety you would have to keep your identity from people.”
Alora stared into his green eyes and lost almost
lost herself in them.
“There is an oath you may take now, here with
me and there are rules we will discuss during training. You will
forge your own weapon and develop the skills necessary to wield it, you
will also learn how to use your natural talents and expand upon them in
time. For now, you need make the promise to be a protector of freedom
and keep the honor of the Heraldic code.” He stood and placed his
hands on her shoulders. “I promise I will not fail you Alora, I will
teach you what my mentor taught me as his taught him, and when the time
comes you will find one to teach and you will mentor him or her that is
how we survive. Each of us only know the true identity of two other
Heralds, the one that trains us and the one we train.” His eyes were serious
“This is for our protection, though never doubt that you will be in company
at a time or two with another Herald, but never ask for true names and
always accept the one he offers”
Alora began to feel overwhelmed, but made the promises he requested.
“Upon our arrival at home Alora, I will no longer be your friend, I will be your Nym’ra, you will have to listen to me and do exactly as I say, you will not always like what I tell you to do, but you must obey or it will corrupt the training. You also may never breath word of this to your family, not even Kyle, it may put their lives in danger as well as yours and mine.”
Sage sighed “Your training should have started
before your onset into adolescences, but your bright and skilled, and though
it maybe a challenge, I think you will be a great pupil.”
He smiled a warm smile and hugged her close to
himself, burying his face in to her hair. It was a shame he could
never have her, but he at least will be able to make her one of his.
Alora held on to Sage as long as he would let her, she pressed her ear to his chest and listened to his heart start to race. She felt the warmth of his breath on her head and dreaded ever leaving this moment.
Upon their arrival home, Alora learned of the
marriage between her sister Kellie to a Reeve in the city. Unexpected
as it was, it really wasn’t for Kellie, she desperately wanted out of the
farm life. She and her twin Cordance had always wanted to live in
the city. Cordance was granted permission to go and live with her sister
until she found a man to marry. It took only weeks for Cordance to
seduce a noble’s heart and was immediately engaged.
Cordance had a beautiful wedding, celebrated in
a temple of Brae. Alora played sick in order to not have to go. Saga
was really making his point about all of the regents, even the ones that
seemed helpful and considerate. Not to mention, it gave Alora time
to spend alone with Saga, even if being his pupil was nothing what she
During Tristkar, Kellie gave birth, but fell ill
due to an infection contracted during birth, so Rochelle and Derk went
to help care their daughter and new grandson. Kyle and Alora were
entrusted in the care of Sage, who gladly accepted the responsibility.
“Alora, I think you are beginning to master your skills, and you are now ready to fashion your own weapon. One special and specific to the Herald.” Sage took her into the smithing shed and handed her a small block of metal. “With your own hands, you will create a your own blade” with one swift movement, he pulled a sword from behind his back. He handed it to Alora and told her of its importance. “Once you have completed your sword and mastered it, you will be ready for real life training, but be patient Alora, you still have a long road ahead of you.” Sage took back his blade and slid it back into its sheath by touch. Alora stood in amazement of his skill but more struck by the grace in his movement. Even his sisters would envy his grace and beauty.
By the ages of 19 and 14, Alora, Kyle and Sage,
would take small trips exploring, and learning more about how to live on
the land. They would often be gone for at least 4 daes, sometimes
not returning for a few Decca. After a 3 Decca trip, upon their return
home, Kyle noticed flames licking up toward the evening sky. “ALORA!”
Kyle shouted, “That’s our home” Kyle took off running in the direction
of the fire, with Alora and Sage at his heel.
By the time they reached the small farmhouse,
there was nothing left but smoldering ash, soot and billows of smoke.
The fire destroyed everything they had owned, and all of the animals were
set free. A sign sat posted not to far from the remains. Alora walked
over to the sign and read it aloud “This house was condemned, in the name
of the Maiden of Arbil.” Kyle rifled through the remains for a moment
looking for something, anything he could recognize.
Sage found himself standing very close to Alora, close enough to smell the rosemary in her hair. She turned to him, not expecting him to be so close, her cheeks stained with new tears. Now that she was as tall as him, she met his eyes, “Why?” she looked into his eyes searching for some kind of answer. “My parents were good people, they did what they were expected” tears came faster, but her voice didn’t change “Why would Brae allow this to happen? How could she?”
“Where are my parents?” Kyle’s voice cracking with anger and sadness, “What did those bastards do to my mother and father.” Kyle charged at Sage, just directing his anger anywhere. He stopped and looked at the sign, “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!” he shouted up to the sky. “I am going to kill the people who did this if I have to take Brae down myself” Kyle’s anger bursting through his body. Then he took off running down the road toward the Skorr.
Alora took a quick glance around at the house
and then in the direction of her running brother, whose pace had already
begun to slow. She darted behind what was left of the barn and found
a stone that had a mark on it. With her hands she began clawing
at the earth until she found what she was looking for. She pulled
from the hole what looked like a mass of blankets wrapped around something
long. As she unwrapped the blankets, the form became more apparent.
It was a staff that held the symbol of Brae at one end, the very one she
saw in the hand of the man who had died the night she met Sage. It
still in perfect condition preserved by the blanket and protected by the
Sage came up behind her and saw what she had uncovered.
“When and where did you get this?” his voice confused
“Just after you came to stay with us,” she
seemed distant and distracted “I took a trip out to where we had met, this
time on horse back, it took much less time”
“Why?” he asked
“I don’t know, something was pulling me there,
like something had called me, I know it sounds crazy, but its true” she
looked at him desperate for some understanding. “The body was still
there, and only feet from his body was the staff, your blood stained the
tip,” she looked lost in her memory, “I took it thinking I could bring
it to you, but instead, I cleaned it wrapped it and buried it. I
had actually forgotten about it for a long while, until today ”
Alora looked down on symbol then raised it to
the sky, standing in one swift motion. Her voice full of anger “We
serve them, and they can just take everything away…NO, I will not stand
for this. We have rights, and nothing but nothing will ever let me
be blinded again!” Then she threw the staff as far as she could, and it
embedded itself deep into the earth with it’s the mark of Brea still swaying
back and forth.
Alora turned and looked at Sage, her eyes full
of anger “It starts now” she demanded “You have taken me as far as you
can Sage, I need to start the second part of my journey, you can come if
you want, but I am going to find my parents and kill anyone who has harmed
them if it is the Regents themselves.”
Sage knew that it was senseless to try and calm
her now, and let her go to her brother.
“Kyle” she shouted after her brother. Kyle had
fallen to the road, his fist pounding the earth until dust clouds billowed
around him. Alora ran down the road after him, she pulled him to
his feet and hugged him close to her. He pulled away tear trails
stained his young face. “We have to find Mom and Dad” he said sick
with sadness “Alora, we have to find them,” he pleaded with her.
“Your right Kyle, we will find them, but we need
to make you safe first” She looked into his eyes her heart breaking for
his sadness. “I am going to take you to Kellie, she will look after
you for a while, then I will come for you and we will fight this together”
Alora’s eyes blackened for a moment, her heart full of anger.
“No, I want to stay with you,” he tried to argue,
“No Kyle, you will need to take care of our older twin sisters, they are need you more now, when I find out who and why this happened, I will come for you, this I promise” She looked directly in his young eyes, his only hope was to agree.
Sage, Alora and Kyle started walking toward the
city where their favorite of the Twins, Kellie, lived. It would
normally take about 10 daes of walking straight through to get to the city
where Kellie lived. But the three camped and explored, trying to enjoy
the last time they would be together. They would on occasion find
a farmer that would take them in and supply them with provisions.
The trio would stay a day or two, depending on the hospitality, but would
always get back out on the road on the 3rd dae.
Finally they reached the city and found Kellies
home. Alora took Kellie into a room and told her what had happened
and that her parents were missing. After a burst of hostility and
tears, she agreed to take in Kyle, with the understanding that if anything
ever happened to him, she was to be informed. Sage supplied Kellie
with some names and said that they would know how to reach him, and he
would know how to reach Alora.
Alora and Sage stayed with Kellie for a few daes.
During this time, Sage had made some contacts and found some information
directing them to a city called Teesh. There it was possible that
Alora’s parents may have been taken.
On the 3rd day just after first lyt, Alora and Sage headed out in the direction of Teesh. On this trip, Sage shared with Alora who and what he was, and that she was like him. He told what to expect in the next phase of her journey to being a Harold and made her promise to never lose sight of who and what she was.
Everyday she listened, both to his words and the sound of his voice. She found herself falling more in love with him then she could ever imagine. It was like a huge dagger twisting in her chest to know it wouldn’t be long until they would part ways.
In a small village just daes outside of Teesh,
Sage received a message from a strange man. Later that evening, Sage
came into Alora’s room and sat on the end of her bed and watched her sleep.
His eyes followed the length of her hair and how it caressed her face.
He was right all those 5 years ago; she had grown up to be more beautiful
then he even expected. He could feel his heart pound into his throat
and a terrible sadness came over him. He feared that this would be
the last time he looked upon her face.
In her sleep, Alora reached out for him and pulled
his hand to her chest. He could feel her heart beating under the
cloth of her nightshirt. He bent over to kiss her forehead, and closed
his eyes breathing her scent in holding her air like a memory. He
never imagined that he could feel such love for someone so much younger
then he, and yet here it was.
Alora stirred in her sleep and began to wake.
“Sage,” the sleep heavy in her voice, “what are you doing in here?” she
began to sit up slowly in her bed.
“I have to leave, I am being tasked” he spoke
quietly, but to try and hide the regret.
“I see” she stated the sleep vanishing “When?”
“I leave before 10th lyt” he struggled to get
the words out his pain getting harder to hide
“Can I come with you?” tears welling in her eyes
and sadness filling her throat
“No, you have a duty, you can’t and you know it”
his voice steadied, but still his heart broke.
Alora pulled his face toward hers, their lips just barley touching. She kissed him a chased kiss as first, drawing him in closer for a more full passionate kiss. Sage wrapped his arms around her and pulled her up to him. For the rest of that night, they shared a passion Alora was sure didn’t exist anywhere else on the planet.
The next morning, Alora knelt beside the bed petting Sage’s silken black hair, missing him already.
“I will never love anyone more then I love you, on this you have my word” she whispered into his sleeping face and kissed him so softly that it made a butterflies touch feel heavy. She sat there for a bit longer just staring into his relaxed face.
After a few moments, Sage opened his brilliant green eyes and looked on Alora’s face. He blinked and when his eyes opened, she was still there. Joy and sorrow filled his heart almost instantly and at the same time. “I have to ready to leave,” he said regretfully, and he sat up in the bed, his tanned body, lean but muscular. Alora took the privilege of looking over every part of his nakedness and her heart shuddered in her chest. She could feel the heat rising in her, and not just to her face. She stood and met his eyes.
“You promise you will come back for me” she said
and she laid her hands on his solid chest.
“My love, you know I cannot make such a promise”
his face turned from her because the pain in his heart was swelling.
“But I will promise you this” Sage pulled at a ring on his finger until
it freed itself. He took Alora’s hand in this “I promise that I will
never love anyone more then I love you, on this you have my word.”
He slipped the ring on her middle finger of her left hand “I may not be
with you in body, my love, but I will always be with you in spirit”
Sage softly kissed Alora on the lips then finished
dressing. They went down to the tavern where they had eaten just
the night before. They enjoyed the company of each other, but now
it was different, it was a celebration of their love and mourning of their
parting. They ate in almost silence, except for the last bits of
information Sage thought Alora would need to know. When the meal
finished, a man came to the table and motioned to Sage. Alora’s eyes
filled with tears and she choked back a sob.
“I know you can’t promise, but if you live, find
me” she embraced him so tight he laughed at her strength. “I promise,”
he said. He kissed her on the forehead then on the lips then walked
out the door.
“Be careful Alora” he said as he mounted his horse, “Find some company, there are those who will help you in your cause, you will come to know them in Teesh when you get there ask for…” He turned his horse and started riding off…He turned his head one last time and shouted, “I love you Alora Danielle I promise!”
“I will always love you” She could barley get
out the words. She watched as he rode down the road they came in
on until she could no longer see him.
Alora went back to the room, cleaned her self up, gathered her belongings and Headed in the direction of Teesh.
I am the fifth, and last, son of Doreius Kosmas. A moderately wealthy
minotaur who was not expecting another mouth to feed. My father says my
birth was an accident, my mother that it was a miracle and a
blessing. Children are rare amongst women of my mothers age, to have a
child so late in life is a somewhat auspicious event. Children born under
such conditions are said to be of strong seed, and many such children go
on to do great things, or to die trying to do great things.
You see, being born so late the family business, lands, and fortune have
already been divided amongst the older siblings. It was so unlikely that
another child would come from my parents coupling that no provision was
made for the likes of me. In fact most of my siblings have families of
their own. I have a niece, Aglaia, who is three eight cycles my senior. So
you see, there is really nothing left for me. This is the way it is for
those of us who are “miracle children.” There is nothing more for me to
do, than to strike out and make my own fortune, create a name for myself,
or die trying.
Which suits me well, as I’d rather not be tied to the brewery and
vineyards in the manner of my elder siblings. Life is for the living, not
for watching the slaves grow grapes and tasting the latest vintage. Give
me a fine aged wine and plenty of adventure.
I left Taureas at an early age, taking work as a sailor. Because destiny
decreed that I make a name for myself, and bring glory to Taureas, I was
renamed by my father. In order to free me of the guild bonds of our
family, he took from me the name of Kosmas and gave to me the name,
Ettaureas. A name that is given to all children thus “blessed.”
Should I find great glory, wealth, and fame, I shall return to Taureas
and present my case to my father and the elders. If my case is found
worthy, I will gain a new name, one that will be my own, one that I
shall pass down with my seed, this is the greatest of honors. With
such glory as my name will hold, I will have my pick of the most beautiful
women, and thus my descendants will be strong, and they will bear my
name. And so I will live forever in glory.
There is no purpose to my returning home until I have earned enough glory to be granted a name. There is nothing for me there, it would be better to have the tale of my glorious death told far and wide by minstrels and poets.
Glory at any cost, eh? Well at least that’s what I have been
told. I also have been told that my birth is a miracle granted by the
Urathear. Most tell me to thank Pleiades, and to take the opportunity I
have been given to bring greater glory to minotaur race as whole. Well,
that’s what the stupid templars would have us believe. Of course such an
honor for my family means they should contribute much more to
Pleiades, which I view as somewhat of a scam. Though my mother believes
that the more they give to Pleiades the better favor my journey will have
in the eyes of Pleiades.
Personally I am sold on the glory thing, especially the part where I get to go home and get the most beautiful girls. However, its personal and racial glory that I believe in. The Regents be damned. I don’t feel that blessed most of the time. If Pleiades got me born 5th son, fifteen cycles late, then SCREW HIM. Anyway with all the grandiose talk about the minotaurs being free I’d expect more from them. I see most of my folk as being under the chaffing yoke of the templars. Of course that’s my yoke as well, since that’s Pleiades baenrahl on the back of my neck. I understand why the lesser species can be such cattle, but I expect more than a simple dupe to fool the minotaur people. We have lived to much of our history as servants to bow to anyone, be they mortal or immortal.species.d but the Minotaur.
I have heard something of these Heralds and am not adverse to their ideas. However, like all good minotaur I can bide my time and do all that’s necessary to be a good servant to Pleiades, though it has become somewhat galling of late. Besides, on the off chance I can call on a Regent or a templar at time of need, there’s no reason to lose that unless I have a better ally.
It is time to find myself a name. So, being well provisioned, I set out
across the Eastern sea to find my fortune…
Growing up in the fisherman’s village of Tront
was not exactly an adventurers dream. But for the simple folk that lived
there, life was good. There was ample food for all seasons in the many
fish that lived in the seas. There were weekly festivals in the town square
where everyone gathered to celebrate their good fortunes. For those in
hard times, the people of Tront were always willing to lend a hand to those
in need. They had all they needed, and wanted for very little.
Sacris Fishersson was no different than any of
the people of Tront. He grew up the 5th child of Aldens and Kalida into
a life of fishing. He and his brothers (Kews, Donas and Sqos) went to sea
with their father before first lyte every morning, and came back at last
lyte every evening, their nets brimming with the seas goodness. His mother
and sisters (Kala, Mina, Aurennia and Brunia) would then clean and process
the fish for cooking and drying. Life had not changed for Sacris in the
12 years he had been born.
Then one day, a large sailing vessel came to Tront
to trade. Her name was the Waverider, and she was the biggest ship Sacris
had ever seen. With 3 masts and a crew of 30, it larger than even the largest
vessel in all of Tront. Sacris went to his father and asked to be part
of the crew of the Waverider. He knew as soon as he saw it that sailing
on this vessel was what he was born to do. His father could see his sons
face that he would probably leave with them anyway as a stowaway, so he
gave consent and went to the captain.
The Waverider captain happened to have use for
an able bodied fisherman, as the waters in Southern Golgotha were teeming
with fish, and as he put it: “The ‘lubbers always pay top dollar for a
fish!” So he went to work with the crew of the Waverider as their fisherman.
The crew was sharp, and he taught them many different techniques on how
to get the fish they wanted. Since they were able to get their fish on
their own, Sacris turned his attention to the topsman. He was fascinated
with the way these men would scuttle around the masts, rigging the sails.
He asked the captain if he could apprentice with them, and the captain
agreed. Sacris spent many weeks tottering on the masts, repairing sailcloth
and rigging. It was better than he had ever dreamed.
One day in port, and old wizard was brought aboard
the Waverider. The old man set sail with them that day, and when the winds
had died down to nearly a crawl, Sacris and the Master of the Tops went
above to change the rigging to get the wind. As they were changing, the
old wizard spoke a few words, raised his hand and the wind that blew up
nearly knocked them from the yardarm.
Sacris immediately went to the wizard and asked
him how he’d done this. Magic was not generally known on Tront, apart from
the few cantrips the witches used to light candles. They certainly knew
nothing that would be as remotely useful as summoning the wind! Sacris
asked the old wizard if he could teach him how to summon the winds and
clam the seas. The wizard took him on as his apprentice, and began to teach
him the art of magic. Sacris learned the early lessons quickly, and found
many useful spells in the wizards old book. He shocked the Master of the
Tops when he ran up the mizzen mast without using his hands at climb at
all. He also learned how to magically mend sailcloth, and could do repairs
in a tenth the time it took the other topsman.
Sacris proved his worth again on the Waverider,
and the crew was as grateful as the captain. Sacris had enabled them to
double their profits and hadn’t ever asked to be rewarded for it. That
crew made Sacris an Able Bodied Seaman, which meant that Sacris could now
get employment at any harbor in any land. The captain proudly handed him
his ABS papers. But that same day, the old wizard couldn’t be waked from
his sleep belowdecks. Sacris went to see him, but the old man had passed
on. Sacris was sad for the loss, but he was sadder still for his lessons
had ended. He’d now have to seek out another teacher, someone who could
show him how to bring the wind and send away the rains.
And once he learned, he’d return to Tront and show the village people, and allow them to be truly free.
Twenty-eight years ago, a babe was born to Charles
and Nancy Wagonwright. This child was destined to follow in his father’s
footsteps and build wagons all his life, it seemed. Then he would marry
and have children of his own and they too would build wagons all their
lives. This was how it had been in his family for more generations than
anyone could recall. And this was how everyone in the city of Clayton thought
it would be for generations to come.
The Wagonwrights were a fairly well-to-do family.
They owned a larger than average house in Clayton in one of the nicest
parts of the city. Being able to afford a home that didn’t also contain
the family business was quite a status symbol, and they held it. They were
not aristocrats and did not often behave as though they were wealthy. Even
so, they were often guests at Baron Connor Bildeborough’s estate. Charles
Wagonwright and Baron Connor Bildeborough had been close childhood friends.
Nancy Wagonwright would have been a loving mother
to her first son, Connor, had she survived his delivery into the world.
Connor’s father, Charles, lapsed into a deep depression when Nancy was
gone. He ceased taking care of even himself, letting his home and business
fall through the cracks. He certainly wasn’t fit to care for his infant
son he’d thought to name after his good friend, the Baron.
The Baron intervened at this point and adopted
Connor as his own son. Charles died a few months later when Connor was
less than a year old. The Baron told Connor about his parents as soon as
he deemed the boy old enough to understand the information. Connor, serious
even as an adolescent, took the information in stride and never for an
instant ceased calling the Baron his father. This was all he’d ever known.
Connor was raised throughout his childhood as the Baron’s heir. He was trained–among many other things–in languages, fitness, court etiquette, combat, swordplay, and dance. In his teen years he was somewhat of a rebel, at least he thought he was. He would venture out into the city, interacting under a false name with the common folk. He lived an entire other life out in the city than the one he maintained inside the Baron’s palace. He always thought that his adopted father knew nothing of his activities out in the city.
Later, Connor found out that the Baron was aware
of his other life and had been nearly from it’s birth. The Baron ran a
life of his own outside of the light as well. He led a resistance unit
against the local power. He was a Herald, in secret. And through the years
he had trained Connor to be a Herald as well. Connor just hadn’t know it
at the time. His prowess in combat, at court, in society, and in the underworld
beneath combined in him to make a kind of alchemy for freedom–a potion
the Baron hoped the whole world would be ready to drink one day soon.
So, as Connor matured into his late teens and early twenties his alter ego became a member of his adopted father’s resistance. He’d work for them under his assumed name and his father would lead them under his own false identity. In truth, most of the people in the organization had never even met the Baron and didn’t know who it was they worked for. Rather, he would lead them second-hand through his son and other trusted lieutenants.
Most and perhaps all of the lesser cities in the realm have underground rebellions brewing in them but Connor’s father runs one of the larger ones. Today, Connor is arriving in the town of Teesh, some leagues south of Clayton, past Uric. Teesh is far enough away from Clayton that its resistance, if it exists, doesn’t fall under the influence of Connor’s father. Connor is on a scouting mission to find what exists under the proverbial rocks in Teesh and make contact with them in the name of The Underneath…
The most difficult thing for a young denwarf who’s left his underground homeland and journeyed to live among the human lands for a significant stretch of time is getting used to the change of the length of a day, for among the deep underlands, a dae lasts 36 lyts, being 24 lyts of awake time and 12 lyts of sleep time, and the change in habit can be taxing, but denwarfs are a hardy race, able to get used to changes in effort, and young Dak Ilde is no different.
Only a very important task could draw a denwarf of such promise from his clan and cavern to travel among the day-dwellers and hoondan, the tall children called human in their own tongue, and such a task lay before young Dak, for there is no attachment as binding as that of an apprentice and his master, and Dak’s master was Buric Liftrasa, a Finder of no small renown who had taken it upon himself to train young Dak in the ways of the night-rider, the light footed and able, and that very same Buric had been murdered!
Being that young Dak was a relatively perceptive
lad, he was able to make contacts within the dark city of Kandrukafaren
among those barflies and adventurers that frequented the inns and taverns
so prevalent in that burg, and with his knowledge piece together a trail
that would lead him from the corridors of his home city to the human town
of Teesh, down in the balls of the realm, due to the fact that all clues
pointed to the murderer being a human.
Growing up with little interest in mining, Dak
instead directed his energies towards prowling the long trails in and among
the carved-out rooms and buildings of the underworld, though spending not
an inconsiderable amount of time in the arts of metalwork and machinery,
as his keen mind was often working to identify the ways that things acted
upon other things, both in the minds of denwarfs and in the devices that
one could find in the cities of those hardy and resolute peoples, and these
travels lead him to capture the eye of Buric Liftrasa, who sensing the
potential of such a light-footed lad, took the effort to begin a training
process that would lead to Dak’s beginning the life of a Finder whose first
true mission was to find he who had murdered his master.
Roland was born out of wedlock, his birth making him the third son of Duke Erik L’Pallance, himself a third son. The Duke’s mistress, Lady Kathrnye Alvarny, his mother, died during the complicated birth and the Duke took his son into the warmth of his home. During his childhood and youth the family suffered many tragedies, his eldest brother, Vlad, was mauled by an owlbear in the forest, his step mother lost a girl child hours after its birth, two brothers Marcus and Blain were lost during the humanoid squirmishes, and his closest sister, Karia, was slain by a jealous lover. Leaving only Gies, Roland, and Tormis to carry on the L’Pallance name. Out of these tragedies came a bonding and a closeness few families could lay claim to.
Erik was a paladin of reasonable renown and trained his remaining children in the holy ways of the warrior, hoping they would to strive for the perfection he strove for. Erik was a good teacher, treating his sons decently yet coolly in order that they might gain from his experience and blossom into young warriors. The boys got along well, each sharing with the others the benefits of his own findings and experiences. Yet, although each was a great warrior, only Roland was able to meet the requirements and pass the tests to be granted entrance to the Order of Paladins.
And so each child went their own way; Gies remaining to learn the ways of diplomacy and politics, to prepare for the day when the family lands would be his; Tormis questing to end the torment of a soul not pure enough, a knight without a lord noble, proud, true; and Roland to the Order of the Paladin.
Many hard years of training and devotion to the order left him tempered to a fine edge. His ideals and morals peaked near godhood, yet diluted with a dash of humility. He now roams the world over seeking to bring truth, justice, and the elimination evil to all lands and all peoples. He is the embodiment of the shining knight.
He stands six feet tall, two hundred twenty pounds. Long flowing yellow-blonde hair cascades past his shoulders and around his clean shaven face. Sparkling sapphire blue eyes blaze with an inner knowledge, giving his calm, tan, and youthful face a look of inner wisdom. His stance is proud, his manner courteous, for all purposes he is the shinning knight. Well respected by the common folk and nobility for his abilities, Roland, has set himself up as a hero in waiting.
Roland has just recently become an adventurer, and doesn’t have much experience or common sense. A member of the noble class, his goals and ideals are lofty and personify good and the law. Roland is easy prey for fast-talkers and con men, suggests straightforward and foolish plans sure to get the party captured or killed, admires more experienced warriors without questioning their motives, and can be quite a menace to himself.
In combat Roland is likely just to charge up to a foe and begin pounding away. He’s very likely to take orders from those with more combat experience than himself. This is not to say that his skill lacks, for he is a powerful fighter.
Roland gets along with everybody until such a time as the other person insults one of his friends, challenges one of his preconceptions, or betrays him. Even then, he’ll simply be furious and willing to fight or oppose the other fellow. Roland is never bored or indifferent, he is always eager to throw himself into new situations. Others tend to find his youthfulness charming, yet some what exasperating as he can be an overly enthusiastic pain in the ass.
THE CODE OF ROLAND L’PALLANCE
He must not keep more than ten magic items (one suit of armor, one shield, four weapons, and four other items)
He must never retain wealth (keep only enough to maintain oneself in a modest manner, and pay the bills. all else must be given to a worthy cause)
He must tithe (ten percent of all income)
He must cheerfully perform any noble service or quest asked of him
He must defend, to the death, any person or item placed in his charge
He must show courage and enterprise when obeying his rulers
He must show respect for all peers and equals
He must honor all those above his station (his social class)
He must DEMAND respect and obedience from those below his station
He must scorn those who are lowly and ignoble (he will not help the ill-mannered, the coarse, the crude; he will not use equipment that is badly-made or inferior; he will fight on foot before riding a nag, etc…)
He must perform military service to his lord whenever asked
He must show courtesy to all ladies
He must regard war as the flowering of chivalry, and a noble enterprise
He must regard battle as the test of manhood, and combat as glory
–Michael Turner, Cosmologist, University of Chicago
“The universe is made mostly of dark matter and dark energy, and we don’t know what either of them is.”
–Saul Perlmutter, leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project headquartered at Berkeley Lab
“Various types of dark energy have been proposed, including a cosmic field associated with inflation; a different, low-energy field dubbed “quintessence”; and the cosmological constant, or vacuum energy of empty space. Unlike Einstein’s famous fudge factor, the cosmological constant in its present incarnation doesn’t delicately (and artificially) balance gravity in order to maintain a static universe; instead, it has “negative pressure” that causes expansion to accelerate.”
From the last will and testament of Reynold Raymond (March 25, 1966 – )
I don’t know how long this will last. After what happened to Johnny… Well, I just don’t know. These things, these powers, they are unpredictable. And the task I’ve assigned myself is dangerous. I just want to make sure that if I don’t make it you know who I was and why I did what I did. So I’m going to write this all down and hope you never have to read it.
You never met your grandpa Richard, but he and your grandma Linda had five kids. I was the second, a year and a half behind Holly. Amber, Rick, and finally, baby Traci, came along about every two years. You’ve got good family, they’ll treat you right. Don’t be afraid to go to any of them for anything you might need
I was born in a little house in Roanoke, VA. Grandpa was a miner and while we moved a half dozen times while growing up, we never left the mountains of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. Your grandparents were simple people doing a good, hard days work and happy to be blessed with enough to provide for their family. My childhood was a lot like yours, hiking mountain trails, fighting with my brother and the boys that picked on my sisters, hunting, fishing, and camping. All the things I’ve tried to share with you. It was a good life and we were happy.
I never wanted to be a miner, so dad helped me get a job with a local electrician, Willy Watson, when I turned 16. It was good work and work that I enjoyed. But when I graduated high school, Willy told me that if I didn’t go to college he’d fire me. And he did. Best thing he could have done for me. I figured as long as I was going to college I might as well go away to school and I got a partial scholarship to the Technical Career Institute in New York, NY. Again, thanks in no small part to Willy. At TCI I couldn’t decide between the electronics or climate control programs, and so I ended up getting associate degree’s in both.
The big city, New York, was fun for a young man in college. Full of exciting things to do and adventures to be had. I saw my first supers, rode the subway, and saw more than my share of Met’s games. But while I was away at school, your aunt Holly had gotten married and then pregnant, grandpa was killed in a mine collapse, and your uncle Rick had joined the army just as things were starting to escalate in the Middle East. I missed the mountains, my family, and a simpler life. So I came back to Virginia because my family needed me and because I needed them.
I worked for Willy for a short period, before going to work for Blue Mountain Plumbing and Heating. That lasted a little over five years until mismanagement caused the business to fail, leaving me without a job but with a journeyman plumber’s license. That’s when I went to work for Virginia Tech, where I met your mother, and where your story begins.
Danielle, your mother, was the one who interviewed and hired me for the maintenance position at Virginia Tech. We didn’t hit it off immediately, she was a HR Assistant looking for a handsome professor and I was a blue collar grunt wearing a tool belt and changing light bulbs. But it’s hard to ignore your old man’s charm, and eventually I got her to let me take her to dinner. Then I talked her into going steady. And two years later I talked her into marriage. A year later we were proud parents. Four years later we did it again and became the family you know today.
We were happy, very happy. Things were good, your mother was running the HR department for the school and I was doing well enough that my boss submitted me to be lead for the new facility they were building in the Kimballton Mine for the federal DUSEL project.
I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I want you to know the full story, the truth. If you tell anyone about this the government will deny it all, so this is just between us. It can’t go any further. Consider this my last request.
Officially, Butt Mountain didn’t make the cut. The DUSEL project was awarded to the Homestake gold mine, outside the town of Lead, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’ve been there. It’s real. They do plenty of research out there. But what most people don’t know is that Butt Mountain and the Kimballton mine were deemed an ideal location for a second lab, one that the government didn’t have to disclose to the public. That’s where I worked.
Both facilities are vast sites with hundreds of miles of tunnels already carved into the stone. Each capable of hosting a comprehensive suite of experiments in all major fields of science. At Homestake, the emphasis is on astrophysical research including studies of gravity, neutrinos, and dark matter, the mysterious form of matter that is invisible to our current means of detection, but whose ubiquitous presence throughout the universe has been indirectly confirmed.
It was a good job, it was challenging, paid well, had good benefits, and most importantly let me spend time with my family. I didn’t get the lead, but I was a supervisor. Like any place I’ve ever been, there were good people and bad, there were interoffice politics and bureaucratic headaches to deal with, but I enjoyed it and there was always something in need of fixing.
I don’t want to go into the details about your mother and I’s break-up. There are some things I think you don’t need to know. We loved each other for a long time, and maybe we still do, but there are things that happen to people that change them sometimes those things change them so much that they no longer fit together. Maybe that’s what happened to us. Suffice it to say that we were having problems before I had my accident.
The day that the accident happened, May 20th, it was a Thursday; I was doing my usual routine maintenance on the labs systems. I knew that one of the scientists was going to be running some experiments in the deeper chambers and so was making sure that everything was fine. I returned to the security station just as the announcement to clear area’s 51 through 64 came over the intercom. The guard, looked up at me and asked if I’d seen Gerald Gromm, a guy on my crew that was a bit of a dullard, on my rounds, because last he’d seen Gerald he’d been heading toward unit 63. I said that I hadn’t and told him to call up and postpone the experiment until I found Gerald or cleared the area. He said he would and I headed back into the tunnel as he picked up the phone.
I found Gerald in a bit of a compromising situation with a pretty young secretary named Maggie, apparently, oblivious to the announcement being blasted over the intercom. They weren’t happy to see me, and I wasn’t happy to find them taking a ‘break’ in one of my labs. After some shouting and scrambling for clothes I got them out and moving back down the tunnels.
I don’t know why the experiment didn’t get stopped. But one second I was walking down the tunnel with a couple of embarrassed and pissed off love birds and the next I was being hurled backwards by some invisible force. I blacked out and when I woke up I was in the infirmary with Gerald and Maggie. The doctors said we were lucky to be alive and at that moment, feeling like a thousand pound weight was being pressed down on me, I wasn’t so sure.
The doctors let Maggie and I go, we were fine, a few scratches and some bruises, nothing major. I asked the doctor about the pressure I was feeling, but they could find nothing and told me to get some rest. Maggie didn’t say anything; she just glared at me and walked out. Maybe it was because I’d seen her naked, maybe she was just a bitch. Gerald wasn’t so lucky, he’d gotten pretty beat up, some broken bones and some internal injuries, nothing life threatening, but still, he’d gotten the worst of it.
In the coming weeks my weight fluctuated wildly. I broke two scales as my weight shot up to a thousand pounds and then vanished nearly as fast leaving me weighing less than fifty pounds. Through it all, my shape never changed, I never felt any difference other than that constant pressure that pushed in on me. I brought this to the attention of one of the lab guys, Donald Driver. He ran some tests and determined that while my mass never changed my weight seemed to be under some sort of gravitational force. Through a series of after hours tests and experiments over weeks and months he came to the conclusion that I had some how been saturated with dark matter, an invisible, impossible to detect form of matter that scientists believe makes up 70% of the universe and coincidentally the focus of the experiment I’d been caught in.
It was shortly after this discovery that a bloated and over muscled Gerald smashed through a granite wall and rampaged through the mine before escaping to the surface. Apparently the dark energy had affected him as well. Two weeks later he and a flying superwoman calling herself Dark Magdalene robbed a bank and killed a policeman, a security guard, and injured 10 others. Somehow the accident had given them super powers, powers that they were not using to help people.
My own side effects seemed more detrimental, sometimes I would feel so heavy that I could hardly move and I would bend or break tools and equipment without meaning to. At other times I would feel so light and dizzy that I couldn’t keep my feet on the ground. Donald became my answer man and confidant, your mother was at her wits end with all the accidents that were happening around the house. She was afraid, and rightly so, that I’d crush or drop or somehow hurt her babies.
Donald and I worked to control this force that seemed to surround me. I learned to use my power to first levitate and then fly. We measured my strength and found that I could at times lift four or five thousand pounds. But in the end it was a struggle to control the energy. I could expel it, but it would come crushing back. I could contain it, but my weight and strength at such times were incredible. In the end we conquered the energy with the help of technology. With the help of some bracers and a helm I was able to more fully control and manipulate the dark energy and dark matter that both saturated and flowed around me.
I learned to control my strength, flight, and density. I even learned to project the energy in powerful blasts. I was a super. I could help people. I could make a difference. It was something I’d dreamed of as a boy. There was never any doubt as to what that meant; I had to stop Maggie and Gerald.
Your mother wasn’t pleased by any of this. She wanted a normal husband with a normal job who could be a normal father. I could have been more understanding. Looking back, I can see how this changed everything for each of us. We tried to make it work, but in the end it was just too much change for both of us. When the government removed Virginia Tech from the project, your mother and I were out of jobs. She filed for divorce and took you to Central City to find a normal life.
I helped the police stop Maggie and Gerald before going north. With my access to Butt Mountain revoked I went to Washington and joined a support group for individuals affected by super events. It was there that I met Johnny ‘Atomic Man’ Johnson, Lenny ‘Stalker’ Landers, and Bethany ‘Corona’ Birches. The four of us made plans to form a super team, we were going to call ourselves the Capital Crusaders and try and make our mark amongst the growing super community of the Washington DC. That fell apart when Johnny died of radiation exposure as a result of his accident. Then Lenny decided that crime paid better than being a vigilante hero. When Beth met a lawyer and became pregnant it was over.
My Washington career was over after stopping half a dozen muggings, saving a tour bus from going into the Potomac, and putting the Doppelganger away. It seems like a bigger list than it actually was. When I contacted Vanguard in Central City to see if there was room for another hero, I was happy to hear him say that if this is where my family is, it’s where I should be. So here I am, the latest hero in Central City.
I’ve got a little business going that allows me time for you kids and is flexible enough to allow for some heroing. I’m seeing some wonderful ladies, though I haven’t decided on any one in particular. I’m getting my life back together after three years of chaos. And that’s my story.
Hopefully, you’ll get to learn it all from me and never have to read this. But if I die doing the right thing, then I died for the right reason. My only regret is that I didn’t get to say goodbye.
Reynold Raymond a.k.a. Radiant
Kent “Valiant” Bruceas played by Ronn Valiant is the end product of a secret research project, ADAM (Advanced Deoxyribonucleic Acid Manipulation), designed to create a more perfect human being. Using gene splicing and DNA modification the scientists in charge of ADAM hoped to create the perfect human being, one stronger, more durable, and resistant to disease and infection. ADAM’s goal was to create a being which would be the next step in human evolution. Due to worldwide bans on human genetic experimentation and fear of government interference the ADAM project was moved to a super-technology space station. There on January 19th, 1972 the project gave birth to experiment a231, a baby boy.
The scientist’s were pleased with the results of the experiment, nearly all of the genetic changes they had designed were successful. But they soon realized that something was causing continued genetic activity that they had not seen previously. After nearly two years of testing the child they determined that the cosmic rays that bombarded the space station were the cause of this continued modification of the child’s DNA. Fascinated, they began to run even more tests on the child.
One of the ADAM scientists, Phillip Randall, was appalled by this and felt he had no other recourse than to rescue the child from this fate, a fate no human should have to endure. He smuggled the child away from the lab, abandoning his research and his position, and smuggled the child back to Earth. In order to hide the boy from the ADAM security personnel Randall gave the child to his cousin, Donald Bruce and his wife Thelma, who adopted the boy and named him Kent. The Bruce’s lovingly raised the child to be a good citizen and a nice guy. They raised him along side their own daughter and gave him a life full with friends, family, and a good dose of Midwestern values.
Kent spent his youth in rural Indiana on the family farm; he went to public schools and was popular among the locals. His natural physique allowed him to excel in athletics. Thus, despite the low profile he was encouraged to maintain by his parents, he was granted a football scholarship at the local university where he excelled athletically but was a struggling student.
Kent became a college quarterback with a promising future in the pros. At the height of his career, his super-powers began to manifest in unexpected and very public displays of strength and durability. In his final game against UCLA three of the opposing team’s players suffered serious injury due to his abilities. The NCAA and the fans were aghast that a “super” would play in the sport against “normals.” He was disgraced and expelled, his scholarship revoked.
Unsure where to go and what to do he drifted from job to job, helping those he came across and trying to make some sense of his life, all the while he studied newspaper and television reports on the heroes of New York, Metropolis, and Gotham and decided that it was the role he belonged in. Unsure of where to go, he began his heroing carrier in Coast City.
Kent soon uncovered a plot by Carcinogen and the Human Liberation Organization to assassinate the President and Vice President of the United States. With his powers now in full bloom he quickly foiled the plot and became an overnight sensation.
Taking the name Valiant, and a costume designed by his sister, Kent cashed in on his fame while battling the HLO. Valiant enjoyed the publicity, and began to endorse several products, becoming the first hero in the Midwest to get rich in this way. He spurned disreputable companies and selfish causes, but his endorsements of products and commercial ambitions were met with disdain by other heroes.
The original Valiant Enterprises recently gave way to Valiant International (VI), located in a refurbished mansion in Central City. In addition to handling Valiant’s endorsements, VI handles fund raising for a variety of causes. Currently VI is pulling itself out from scandal and struggling to pull itself out of bankruptcy.
A brave hero, Valiant has aided several superhero groups in battles against villains and madmen, but is currently not in the active ranks of any particular group. Valiant came up against the Asesinos in Millennium City and was invited to join the newly reformed Champions by James Harmon IV. The other members of the Champions rejected Valiant, not liking his practice of endorsing products. Valiant then proved his worth in by defeating the Royal Flush Gang, and joined the JLA for a short period of time. In Detroit he tackled the organization known as T.O.T.E.M. with the DNAgents, but left them shortly afterward.
Since then, Valiant has spent most of his time with get-rich-quick schemes, trying to rebuild the financial empire he lost due to carelessness after his sister died. He’s tried marketing a line of Justice Inc. products, running a south-western restaurant with former team mate Dark Knight, and many other schemes, all of which have ended in failure and ridicule. After watching many of his teammates suffer extreme injuries at the hands of the Spawn, Valiant has limited his commercial activities and refocused on his heroic persona.
Valiant has been romantically linked to the heroine Dove, though it’s believed that this relationship has come to an end.
Valiant feels he is out of place in this world, but he also realizes he can help it. Rather than use his powers to impose his will on others, he has chosen to be a gentle guardian, pledging never to kill anyone, or ignore the laws that govern the free will of nations. Sometimes it’s difficult for him to remain detached, especially when he sees the effects that bad policies have on the planet. Even as Valiant there’s not much he can do about that, though he does champion the fight of the common man through his many media appearances. In some ways the good Valiant does in the media is just as meaningful as any of his heroic feats. Valiant is out to make a name for himself, but not if that gets in the way of helping people. He often stays around to share a word with the media after a battle. Some people treat Valiant with suspicion, believing that a man as selfless and good as he must have an awful lot to hide. Some people even fear him, dreading the day that Valiant will turn to the “dark side” and decide that the world is not fit to govern itself, and that what it needs is him. Foolish as that is, being a rather powerful hero, some paranoid souls are inclined to think the worst.
Vigil & Virtue
Vigil & Virtue, Ian & Barbra Parker, are a brother and sister team of crime fighters. Both are just out of their teens and full of youthful enthusiasm. They were trained by Valiant during the time that he resided in Capitol City.
Valiant was respectful of their decision to go it alone. Like any teacher he knew his pupils had to graduate sometime and watched them go with a mixture of pride and regret. Now in their new roles as full fledged crime-fighters they still occasionally team up with their one-time mentor, but Valiant often finds his one-time pupils have new, and in some cases radically different crime fighting ideas of their own.
The pair is quickly establishing themselves in Capitol City as a young, powerful and mysterious force for good.
Phillip “Doc” Randall
The brilliant Professor Randall is general director of F.O.C.A.L. (Farad Optical Component Advancement Labs), a Nobel prize winner many times over, and one of the remaining scientists who worked on the ADAM project. Randall has developed much of the super-technology that, with the right legislation, will make Central City a true city of the future. He’s a close friend of Valiant’s and was instrumental in rescuing the child from the orbital lab where he was created. And placing him with the family of his cousin. Randall has virtually no life outside of his lab. He lives and breathes science and his dialogue is peppered with techno-jargon. In fact, when explaining how a new invention works, Randall will use so many obscure technical terms that people often wind up asking him for an English translation. Truth be told, Randall’s much more comfortable around computers and machines than he is around people.
Little Benjamin is the only child of a working mother and is determined that his match with his Big Brother Valiant will be the longest one ever in the history of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Benjamin is a bright, charismatic, 8-year-old who enjoys any challenge. He is blessed with the spirit of youth and the passion to learn, which Valiant is eager to share. He is a great kid, and will someday will be a great man.
Ben and Valiant have a terrific friendship and get together to talk, work out problems, and have fun at least once a week. In their years together, he and Valiant have taught each other a great deal.
Donna is the woman who heads up the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization that Valiant is apart of. Donna is like an aunt to Valiant and he is hard pressed to tell her no when it comes to helping her kids. They have a good relationship, though she feels he could be doing far more good in the world if he would give up this superhero business, as she considers it folly, and little more than an excuse to go get into fist-fights.
Rich is one of Valiant’s old college buddies, something of a tag along. He never got drafted into the NFL and has tied himself to Valiant as something of a hanger on. This is fine with Valiant as he enjoys the roughneck humor of his longtime friend and confidant, along with the ties to his small town roots. Though, he does wish Rich was a bit more discrete about their relationship, as it tends to put him in harms way quite often..
Dove is the crime fighting partner of the Dark Knight. Though she and Dark Knight do not have a romantic relationship, they are very close. Dove and Valiant have been romantically linked in the past, and some romantic feelings still exist between the two, though it’s believed that this relationship has come to an end.
Dove is a “super” with the ability to fly. She is currently based in Detroit, Michigan.
Some sort of plasma based creature from the dark side of the moon, probably of alien nature. Valiant most recently fought this beast with the aid of Justice Inc. in a battle that resulted in Valiant’s renewed interest in heroing and much harm to his former team.
Friend, business partner, and sometime rival. He and Valiant have had more than their share of tussles. Radically different styles of crime fighting and a strange relationship triangle with the heroine, Dove, have lead to many disputes. But they’re common interests have always outweighed their personal differences. Dark Knight is currently based in Detroit, Michigan.
This former hero has taken the “heroing for profit” thing to a whole other level. He has turned to a life of crime and personal profit. Though he has never hurt anyone in his crime sprees with each new endeavor he takes greater and greater risks to the lives of innocents. Valiant hopes to stop his former companion before he does.
This noble hero is Valiant’s revered mentor. Though he has no superhuman powers, he is just and honorable, with a single-minded drive to protect the helpless. He uses common sense, quick thinking, and an arsenal of inventions in his pursuit of justice. He is mainly retired now and is the third partner in Planet Hero. Dr. Mystery is currently based in Coast City.
This super-vampire is nearly a match for Valiant in strength and resiliency. Vlad is one of the Dark Knights greatest foes, and a would-be suitor to Dove. Two things that have caused Vlad and Valiant to cross paths in the past. Vlad is consumed by the desire to possess Dove, to destroy the proprietors of Planet Hero, and to create a breed of vampires to enslave the humans of earth. He is currently in the Detroit area.
A close friend and comrade of Valiant’s from his days with the West Coast Avengers. Mr. Miracle is a teleporting hero with a few additional gadgets and an uncanny “miracle” sense.
Miracle turned down the chance to be a partner in Planet Hero, and any number of Valiant’s other get-rich schemes as he always does, with a quick smile and a shake of the head.
This stunning beauty is as deadly as she is gorgeous. Capable of shooting waves of radiation from her eyes, and permeated with atomic energy that boosts her strength, endurance, and speed. Reactra is one hot villain, and despite they’re opposing stance on the law and personal freedoms. She and Valiant seem to be attracted to one another like opposite magnetic charges. On more than one occasion they have exchanged a kiss before or after a fierce battle.
Formally, the Wasp, she is a member of Justice Inc., Wasp was seriously injured by the Spawn. She lost most of her powers, and was only able to return to the role of the costumed avenger when Valiant used what was left of his personal fortune to commission a super-powered bodysuit for her. She has since taken on the persona of Damselfly.
Not all of ADAM’s projects have been shut down, and most of those that are still active are designed to recoup on the loss of their greatest success, Valiant. Fallout is a top of the line super-technology android designed to capture and return Valiant to the ADAM scientist for further study. Programmed to take advantage of Valiant’s weaknesses and bring him back to the lab.
Landrus Farhenge as played by Brian
Lan was born into a middle class merchant family in the port city of Geblhom. His family sent him to school to learn to reading, writing, and numbers. His father, Ghavdon Farhenge, also had him trained in the use of the short sword by the store guards. His father introduced him to the hand crossbow and Lan took to it readily. These were the things Lan would need to know in order to run the family jewelry.
Lan, however, was always one to look for excitement and danger for entertainment. To run a jewelers shop, learning gemcraft, was not his idea of entertainment. It was action he sought, and only action, or danger, could hold his attention for long.
This was his down fall as a merchant. He could never stay focused long enough to prosper in the family business. Lan was always bored waiting for customers to arrive, pretty gems to fondle and appraise, and never to spend. He wanted excitement, freedom, challenges; adventure.
“To hell with the law, it only stands in the way of excitement.” He would say each time he would pocket a small handful of coins from the till, or a sparkly stone from a pretty lady.
He was quick to exploit the law when the thefts became known, turning the suspicion away from himself. With his lack of interest and the reoccurring shortages in the till his father was forced to take action.
Lan was given a few gold coins, a packed bag, and his fathers stern gaze and was then thrown out of the house, out of the business, and into the city. Left to his own means he quickly wasted what little monies he had on a woman, wine, and a great deal on badly placed bets. He found himself homeless, broke, and alone.
Lan was too well known to get a job and too proud to resort to begging, so he turned to crime. He started mugging lone drunkards of slight build and unescorted woman, but found it was not profitable enough to support him in the manner he was accustom to. He started looking for ways to make more money.
On a whim he broke into the home of a merchant friend of his fathers, whom he remembered kept a cash box hidden in his dresser. That night Lan slept in a fine Inn, had a good meal and a bath, and enjoyed the company of a woman. It was too easy. Life was going to be good again. Lan had found a calling.
He quickly worked through all of the family friends, business associates, and contacts he could recall and stole all he could. He still was not satisfied. He wanted more. He found that there wasn’t always enough coin to temper the risks. He started branching out. He found a fence, Orisen Heartguard the Naughty, that would buy the items he acquired and there by help offset some of his risk.
The fence meanwhile was reporting to the thieves guild all of Lans activities and they were interested in this young talent. Lan worked the occasional guild job and took what benefits he could get away with from his association with the guild. He was unwilling to join the guild however, and this caused tension between himself and the guild thieves.
This went on for a few years. His father unbeknownst to Lan was a guild fence and frequently intervened on his behalf, keeping the young thief alive and in business. But his luck was to run out. In a fit of cold rage the guild master, Slan Thurbel, ordered that Lans father take out the boy he had been protecting.
Lans father and fellow merchants showed up at the door of Lan’s room with a number of guild thugs. The guildmaster insured the anger of the merchants by letting slip that Lan had been responsible for their losses. He had been set up. Many of the items he had pawned long ago found their way into his apartment that night. His father was the first to hit him, then the thugs showed him how the pros do it. Beating him for what seemed an eternity, he was left bruised, bloodied, and broken with only the warning to join the guild or leave town. The merchants took everything in his apartment after his father stopped the beating. Alone and near death, Lan had found his darkest hour.
Lan lay in his own blood, bile, and urine for two days before he was able to dress his wounds in old dirty rags. After a week of recuperation he received a package containing a note saying it was time to decide and three gold coins, it was unsigned. Lan left the splendors of Geblhom and has not returned.
He found himself poor and broke once again. He traveled north and east through many towns making small unnoticed thefts and avoiding the local guilds. Finally settling in the city of Sundabar. A fortified city of 36,000 people, once home to dwarves. Here he started working on new prospects and taking specific requests for specific items. This turned out to be profitable, as he would be paid the agreed upon sum and would also steal other coins or valuable items. Lan has begun to develop quite a name for himself in the shady places of Sevatep. He is the first choice of the discerning customer. And in a small niche market he is becoming quite the entrepreneur. If it’s out of reach, not for sale, over priced, or missing… with a contract he can be trusted to get what you want.