Age of Worms
Missing in action after a night of adventuring and returning to Daggerford.
My life hasn’t exactly been the easiest. I know that statement isn’t uncommon, but few have had to endure what I have. I was born twenty and two years ago to an Shamaness of the Red Arrow tribe. The Red Arrow was a tribe of Orcs that lived about fifteen miles outside of Suzail in the Stormhorns. My father was a tribesman in a rival tribe: the Black Hand. It was quite difficult for people to look on my parents’ coupling with anything other than revulsion. You see, my father wasn’t just a member of a rival tribe… he was also a human.
One night, I was about six years old, there was an attack on our encampment. Out of the trees, the brush, and seemingly the mountains themselves rose a war party of Black Hand. We had only a handful of alert watchmen that night… we had had a feast and the majority had gotten drunk and fallen asleep. With little to no warning the Black Hand descended upon the camp, slaughtering every Orc that crossed their path. I sat peeking through the flaps of my mothers’ tent as men, women, and children I had known my entire life were slaughtered like cattle. The screams, the smell of carnage, and burning tents are all I’ve dreamt of since that night.
I sat there watching for what seemed like hours, far too horrified to move. My mother was with the chieftain and it was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears as I hoped he could keep her safe. Right as the sun was starting to crest the smallest mountain in view, a large bearded man strode forward carrying a dripping linen sack. I let the flap fall back into place and scurried backward. As I held my eyes shut and my breath in, I heard the burlap of the tent give a shuffle and felt a breeze roll in. I opened one eye and saw the man crouched before me, his face directly in front of mine. Before I could so much as inhale to scream, he had his hand over my mouth. He looked down at me with deep green eyes my eyes and I felt safe.
That feeling of safety, however, was short lived. After it was clear to the man that I was going to cause him no grief, he withdrew his hand from my mouth and shoved it into his linen bag. From inside, he withdrew the severed head of an Orc woman. He held the head by the hair for a few moments and began to speak to me in a deep, gruff voice. “Korrh,” he began “I am your father, Kruul Giantsbane of the Black Hand tribe. I have come to claim you for my own”. I started to protest, but as soon as my mouth opened, he slung the head down at my feet. And as the head rolled to a stop, I noticed something shimmering around its neck. I bent down and grabbed the necklace. As I lifted the necklace in the air, I saw, dangling at the end of the chain, my mother’s sapphire half-moon charm.
“There is nothing left for you here,” he started again “You will come with me, whether you will it or not”. Luckily for me (I suppose), my mother was only three-quarters Orc while my father was pureblood human. I was born with predominately human features… the only telling signs of my heritage my ears, which were hidden deep in my long black hair. Therefore, it was easy for my father to conceal my true bloodline from all but his closest friends. I was passed off as a long lost son, kidnapped years before during an Orc ambush. And that is the way it was for years and years. I eventually warmed up to my father regardless of the fact that he took my mother from me.
He provided me safety and I was thankful for that.
The Black Hand encampment was even closer to Suzail than was the Red Arrow. As a young boy, I would go to the edge of the encampment and look down to the city road from our mountains. There, nearly everyday, I witnessed the most glorious of sights. Patrolling parties of the Purple Dragons, the elite militia of Cormyr’s royal family, would march in and out of the city in their fancy, gilded platemail and winged helms. I daydreamed and played at being a Purple Dragon for the majority of my young life. When he’d catch me, my father would just give me a sad smile and shake my head.
On my thirteenth nameday, my father came into my tent with a large bundle. He sat down on a stool and patted the floor next to him, indicating that he wanted me to take a seat. I did as I was kid, sitting and crossing my legs. “Korrh… I wanted to speak with you about these fanciful ideas you have in your head about becoming a Purple Dragon. The Purple Dragons are… well, let’s just say they’re not too friendly to your mother’s kind. They’re not overly fond of us either. But, I truly want you to be happy. So, I’ve come to give you this,” he patted the bundle next to him, “and tell you that if you want my help, be at the Speaking Stones at dawn tomorrow”. With that, without even giving me so much as another glance, he rose and strode out of my tent. I unwrapped the bundle as soon as I could no longer hear his leather boots scraping outside. Inside I found the falchion that I still use to this day.
The next morning, I reported to the Speaking Stones at dawn as I was bid. My father met me there and gave me my very first combat lesson (and my very first broken knuckle). He trained me for the next five years of my life. On my twenty second birthday, when we both felt I was finally ready, I departed the encampment and left for Suzail. When I arrived, I discovered that the Purple Dragons were conducting a recruitment campaign at their headquarters. I received directions and went directly there. When I arrived, I was informed that there would be three tests: a test of strength and a test of mind followed by some sort of magical screening. I passed both tests easily and proceeded into a cellar room for my magical screening.
Once inside, I was given an empty vial and a dagger and instructed to cut a small slit in my finger and fill the vial at least halfway full. I did as I was instructed, stoppered the vial, and handed it back to the gentleman who had given it to me in the first place. He took it and began chanting.
Before my eyes the blood inside of the vial turned black. He opened the door to shout for guards, but before he could even open his mouth I cracked him in the jaw. I immediately ran out of the compound, constantly checking over my shoulder to be sure I wasn’t being followed. I knew they would be after me sooner or later… I knew I had to get out of there. I ran into a traveling merchant on the outskirts of Suzail. He said his name was Elias, a merchant from Daggerford who was visiting Cormyr, selling his wares. He informed me that he was on his way back to Daggerford an extremely dangerous trek for someone carrying valuable cargo and inquired if I would like to join his caravan guard for a handful of gold pieces. I graciously accepted.
The journey to Daggerford was mostly uneventful, save for an incident with a few giant scorpions.
I fended them off pretty easily and considered it a pretty trite ordeal, but the caravan seemed extremely grateful that I took action. Once we arrived in Daggerford, I got a cheap room at an inn and began looking for some place I could have a good drink. I stumbled into a locale by the name of “the Emporium” where I met an interesting little crew. It consisted of an Elven Bard, a Human Cleric (who seems to like his booze), a Human Sorcerer, and a Human Paladin. They’re an interesting group of folks… alright by me so far, but we’ll have to see where the future leads…