Post by Darvan Marnos on Nov 22, 2014 16:27:28 GMT -8
I'm not really sure about much of the backstory. Darvan is a human monk, likely been in a monastery until recently, though I've been unable to decide between him having been adopted by the monastery at a young age or if he joined later in life. As part of his meditation at the monastery, he took to maintaining a sizable garden and practicing martial arts. He has not had much experience with people thanks to this cloistered life, thus making him quite abrasive to those that have a different world view than him (thus the low Cha and chosen flaw).
You belong to the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. As a religious institution, they have churches, monasteries and convents located all over the human kingdoms. The order is an active one. Every Monastery has a focus, some activity that is mean to help the less fortunate in the area. Their church services often resemble auctions, with preachers making requests for donations, and parishioners calling out what they can give. The order has a small following among the nobility, but most followers come from the lower classes. Apart from material charity, the order also manages a large number of orphanages. Leaders in the order view orphans as the most needy, and therefore most in need of whatever help the order can provide.
You were raised in such an orphanage. Nestled in the hills of Ewina, the orphanage was attached to the Heath Monastery. Down the road from the Heath Monastery is the a convent housing the Sisters of Heath, a satellite of the Heath Monastery. The brothers there raise flocks of sheep, the sisters use the wool to weave blankets and coats. Half the blankets and coats are given away, the rest are sold to provide funds for the orphanage. You were found by the Monastery as an infant, alone in a wagon. The brothers and sisters sent word of your finding far and wide, but got no response. Presuming your parents dead, they raised you in the orphanage. Life there was not great, but at a young age you realized how much worse it could be outside the walls. Out there the snow and rain fall without mercy, just as the wind and wolves howl.
As you grew up you began to think of yourself as a brother. You tended the flocks, you helped maintain the monastery buildings, but most of all you helped tend the garden. On the Monastery grounds was a large natural pond. For years, the pond was ringed by wildflowers. You don't remember when you started, but at some point you began picking and arranging the flowers around the pond. You added a few small trees and shrubs, then a rock garden and some benches. The garden became a favored meditation spot for the brothers and sisters, as well as a playground for the children.
When you came of age, you took your vows and joined as a Brother of Charity. Within a few years, you joined a sub order. the Lupine Shepherds. While still devoted to charity, the Shepherds are less concerned with material or spiritual charity, but with protection. They seek to be masters of the Wolf Style, a style of martial arts devised after studying the attack patterns of wolf packs. Through the use of this style, the Lupine Shepherds can non-lethally protect others, without losing their effectiveness. After your induction in this sub-order, you were able to find a balance. Gardening by day, training by night, honing body and mind.
The time has come for the cannons of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity to meet and discuss the high and lofty issues faced by the order. Every five years the highest officers of the order meet in Sofiholm. They discuss everything from the mundane to high philosophical issues. It is also at such gathering that the leadership is chosen, including the High Priest or Priestess. The Abbot of Heath Monastery was asked to attend the meeting this year. As an old man, the Abbot is less able to make the great journey, and he asks you to make the journey with him, to protect him on the long road. You agree, though you are loath to leave the monastery.
Your time on the road was uneventful, but still illuminating for you. You rarely venture far from Heath, and have never left Ewina before. The journey gives you the opportunity to experience, if somewhat distantly, what life is like outside your cloister. You stay, whenever possible, in the churches or monasteries dedicated to charity. Where those are unavailable, you stay in the hostels maintained by the halfling Wayfarers, a religious order dedicated to travellers.
After several weeks of travel, you arrive at the great city of Sofiholm. The Abbot tells you that this is one of the largest cities in the world, only Caer Uthis is larger. Your mind boggles at the thought of a larger city than this. The skyline is dominated by an immense fortress, built around the royal palace, and the old city of Palada. You take the Abbot at his word, because you cannot see beyond the massive walls and towers. You have seen the major cities of Ewina, but they have nothing which compares to this city. Most buildings are made of stone, or marble, or their foundations and ground floors at least. The streets are paved with cobblestones, in Toburgh (the capital of Ewina) the major streets have wooden logs for roads and dirt or mud on the side streets. After you walk through the massive gates of the city, you stop looking at the stonework, and notice that there is a startling lack of greenspace in the city. The larger streets have some grass and trees in a median or along the side, but there are no gardens, no groves of trees or shrubbery.
You are not allowed in the meeting of the cannons. Because the gathering could go on for months, the Abbot informs you that you are free to return home, inform them that he arrived safely. For his return trip, he will enlist another Lupine Shepherd from the city. So, you set out, returning to your home, your garden and the children. Your journey home takes longer than it should, as you take time to visit every small village along the route. You don't get a lot of opportunity to see the wide world, and you want to take advantage. The experience is good for you both physically and spirtually. You begin to fear that your cloistered life has limited your growth. While there is no place like home, it may be beneficial for you to take more trips away from Heath. By the time you arrive at Heath you have made up you mind. You will speak to the Abbot about sending you out more often, and further afield. This decision fills you with confidence, purpose and excitement for the future.
You hurry across the hills toward your home, only to find it destroyed. A few small fires still burn. The gates seems to have been hacked apart. The ground is muddy, from soft rains, and you can clearly see boot prints. The boots look human sized. As you survey the damage, calling out to any potential survivors, you see clear signs of battle. The lifeless bodies of your brothers are strew about. Those who could fight, did, those who couldn't seem to have fled, either to orphan dorms or their own cells.
Among the dead, you find signs of heavy slashing weapons, possibly axes. You find no signs of arrows, or crossbow bolts. There are signs that a wagon was used, with oxen. The was not enough gold or other wealth in the monastery that a wagon would be needed. There is a storehouse where finished wool cloth is kept, it appears to be picked over, like someone was loading it, but stopped. Unlike the rest of the monastery, the footprints here are small. Still booted. Its possible they forced the children to load the cloth, but then why would they not load all of it? You leave the storehouse, and with a heavy heart walk to your garden. There are clear signs of a fight, many of the flower beds are trampled and shrubs ripped out. Damaged, but repairable. You decide to take a moment, in what is left of your sanctuary, to calm and steel yourself for further explorations of the monastery. If there were survivors, they would have heard you. You fear what you will find while searching.
As you kneel in the mud, you hear a slight rustling, perhaps the wind, perhaps the rain is starting again. A second later, you realize that wind and rain to do not take such panicked breaths. You turn your head and see a small goblin desperately trying to sneak away. Obviously hiding in the garden when you came in. Aware of that you have discovered him, panic fills his tiny eyes, sweat pours in rivers down his bulbous head. He has a small sword (closer to a dagger) sheathed on his hip. Before he can reach for it or take another step, you have him by the throat. He screams for a moment, and then his cries are strangled. He struggles, but his spindly limbs are not enough to break your iron grip. A grip honed by a lifetime of training, and fueled by rage, the goblin has no chance of breaking free. You hold him tightly by the throat, you stare into his eyes and tighten your grip, and then release enough so that he can breath, and answer questions.
Why are you here? We thought empty, no one living, we take stuff, no hurt anyone Who did this? Some of the panic leaves the goblin. He seems much more calm, and a slight smile creeps over his face. Not us, but you will be sorry if you don't let me go. I'm important, and my boss doesn't like bullies. You stare at the goblin, thinking he may be bluffing, trying the only gambit available to him. Before you can make sure, you see hear a deep gravely voice say Leave him hu-man. You turn to see two more goblinoids, one is the same size as the one clenched in your fist. The other, the speaker, is quite a bit larger. In his hand is a ornate longbow. His arms look like tree trunks, and his eyes squint as he looks at you. He looks like a hunter regarding his prey. Measuring wind and distance. The smaller goblin says nothing, but draws his weapons, attempting to look tough and intimidating.
He waits a moment, and when you do not release the goblin, He knocks an arrow. Won't say again Another tense moment passes, and the creature fires. With shocking speed, you catch the arrow about six inches from your neck, you would likely have died before you hit the ground. There is a gasp from the two smaller goblins, as well as from the bushes behind you. You snap the arrow, and drop it in the mud.1d20+3
Maybe. We talk. You are strong, but we are many. You could kill him, maybe kill this one, too. How many arrows can you catch. How many slicers in the back? The goblin you are holding looks very worried. The others you can see look determined. The smaller one looks like ready to pounce, to charge you swords swinging. We could deal. You let him go, we walk away, everybody lives and ruins are yours. Deal? You stare at the hobgoblin, wondering if he could be trusted. Probably not. The hobgoblin and his companion start arguing in their goblin language. The smaller one's voice reaches a shatteringly high pitch, and a final word (or maybe grunt) from the hobgoblin silences him. He looks at you, with a disturbing smile, no doubt meant to be disarming. Better deal. You let him go, we leave, AND you let us keep what we find, I tell you where kids go.
You haven't found any children since you arrived. Only small bootprints that, with new information, were likely made by these goblins. No children and no bodies. The possibility that the children could still be alive is too precious to ignore. You release the goblin, and step back. You take up a fighting stance, waiting for the goblins. The Hobgoblin hits your former captive over the head with his fist, barking orders at him. Three more goblins creep out of the bushes, all armed with crossbows, all giving you sideways glances while clutching their weapons. They scurry to hide behind the hobgoblin, eyeing you with mistrust and fear. The hobgoblin hands his bow to one of the goblins, and walks toward you, his hand held out. Boss Grur. At first, you aren't sure if he said something, or growled. Then, you realize that he gave you his name. You shake his hand, not giving him your name, and agree to the deal.
The hobgoblin claims his crew is just the 5 goblins and himself. The monastery was burned and attacked the night before. His crew was taking some wagons back home after trading in the capital. They saw the bandits (or so he called them) leaving after torching some of the buildings. They move fast, not wanna get caught I think. We wait, hide from them. When nobody came this morning, we figure everyone killed, and bandits not come back so anything they leave is fair game. They had a wagon too, big with a cover. Bandits go south, following wagon. We hid all night, in the morning, we see some kids running north. Toward those trees. The hobgoblin points to a large stand of trees a few miles northeast. The Brothers and Sisters usually avoid those woods. There are legends about foul creatures that live there, but mostly it is used as cover for goblins coming from the mountains will ill intent. After his tale, Boss Grur begins shouting orders to the goblins, who begin tossing sacks into a wagon. It is clear that these goblins were looting the storehouse when you arrived, most likely the personal belongings of the brothers as well. Good deal. All go home alive. You......want job? At the offer the other goblins immediately stop working, and stare at the two of you, some panicked, some hopeful. You simply shake your head sternly. Understanding your meaning, Grur climbs onto the wagon and whips his oxen. You watch the group as they go, to make sure they are headed east, back to the mountains.
Here you kind of have 3 choices. Go south, to hunt the bandits. Go Northeast to the forest where Grur said the kids went. Or you can go Northwest, along the main road to where the Sisters of Charity have their cloister, a couple hours of walking away.