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Prelude 2: The Early History Of Rathgar

Prelude 2: The Early History Of Rathgar
DM - Sat Feb 14, 2009 @ 07:48AM
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Rathgar

“What should I do with this child?” asked Princess Lolaya, of the Coldert Kingdom.

“Elven children don’t always make good slaves, but they make good messengers,” declared Sire Voon, the court eunuch. “This one came at a hefty price for his looks, but at a fair price for his strong bones and sinews.”

“But he’s not at all cute, especially for an elf!”

“We shall make him wear a hood.”

“There’s something about his square jaw. Maybe he isn’t pure blood?

“You never know for sure what mounted the mother, but in this case the mother is likewise unknown. This one is definitely an orphan. No one, including the child, has any knowledge of his parents, or his clan. It is best this way. Slaves with a chain of title have the option of yearning for past masters when they become dreamers or weary of their chores.”

Voon kept it a secret he’d won Rathgar in a dice game with the despised slave trader Tronaphan, an extra short dwarf that always smelled of cheap ale and rotten eggs. Tronophan always procured his stock from the Roladan Marauders, a notorious gang of half-orcs and mountain dwarves lead by Nalissa Roe, a seemingly ageless woman rumored to be the most amazing combination of wickedness and beauty, as well as a witch. “This child cost the palace plenty,” Voon had lied to the Princess so he could keep a little more silver in his pockets for his next game of dice.

Rathgar’s early childhood years were not easy at the palace of Grodden Bik. He was constantly getting into fights with the other child servants, especially those of elven kind. They relentlessly teased him for his looks. Many called him “Square Jaw,” “Big Nose,” or worse. But Rathgar did make a good messenger for the Princess, running notes back and forth to her seamstress, to her artisans, and to her huntsman, a Brown Elf named Ipputus Krane.

One day, just a few years into his servitude to the Princess, Rathgar couldn’t help but tiptoe into her bedchamber to adore the crystalline vase she always kept filled with nectar at her bed stand. He was fascinated by beautiful works of art, and curiosity of such things often got him in trouble. He couldn’t resist taking the sparkling vase into his hands and peering through its many prisms.

“Child! Put that down!” screamed the Princess Lolaya as she walked through the door. Startled, Rathgar dropped the vase and it smashed and splashed into thousands of crystalline pieces at his feet.

“Away with this foul child! Throw him into the forest for the wolves!” cried the Princes.

So, at the age of 21 (about 9 in human terms) the court eunuch, Sire Voon, took Rathgar by his pointed ears and dragged him deep into Coldert Forest. Abandoned and not knowing what else to do, Rathgar burrowed under a bush and covered himself with leaves. There he quivered and shook with fear the entire night, as the howls of the forest’s hungry wolves filled his ears.

“Alrighty child, crawl out from under there and show your face!” announced a voice the next morning. “What does the Princess want me to hunt today?” The voice sounded familiar. It was the voice of Ipputus Krane, the Huntsman. Ipputus was along in years, without a woman, and childless, so he took young Rathgar as his own. So began Rathgar’s new life in Coldert Forest. He spent his days aside his new mentor, learning the ways of a hunter, fletcher, and tracker, and acquiring the skills needed not only to survive in the forest, but to call it his home. Rathgar also learned the ways and calls of the wolves. Each time he went out on a hunt, Ipputus’s giant gray wolf, Pawtak, accompanied him.

Within a few years, Rathgar started mastering his longbow, becoming quite the marksman. A forest dryad named Kitona took notice one day and appeared to the boy, challenging him with her own bow. She was a beautiful dryad, with large, round breasts, porcelain skin, and bright, flowing red hair.

“Quite a shot, aren’t you child?” Kitona spoke as she stepped out from the very bark of an ancient, twisted oak. The startled Rathgar couldn’t speak a word, being so transfixed by her beauty. “I’ve seen you pierce a fleeing doe through the heart at a distance. Your arrows fly swift and certain,” she went on. Rathgar could only blush and hang his head before the challenging girl that showed no shame in her nakedness.

“Should we wager on who can come closest to hitting the knot on that tree over there? It’s a good 300 paces,” Kitona challenged. “What do you say we bet my Onyx medallion for your clothes?” she chuckled. “It’s the only thing I have to offer because I’d never give up my bow!”

When the match was finished, poor Rathgar was left standing there alone, just as naked as she had been, with nothing but his bow in his hands. To this day he blames his nerves, not his skill, for that terrible defeat. He still dreams of Kitona, but he has never seen her since.  

Unfortunately, when Rathgar was just starting to grow a few hairs on his chin, his youth and times in Coldert Forest came to an end.  After a hunt in which he’d shot down a large stag with a single arrow, he and Ipputus decided to celebrate at the Forgehammer tavern. Just as they were pouring their first glasses of Blue Gnome Wine, they were rudely interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a few dozen Roladan Marauders.

“Look at that elf boy over there!” announced one of the Marauders. “He’s got our brand on his neck!”

It all happened too fast. Ipputus and Rathgar put up a good fight, but having checked their bows with the barkeep, they didn’t stand a chance. Rathgar was subdued, knocked out, bound, hooded, and gagged. When his hood was removed a few days later, he found himself on a slave ship set for the strange continent of Ashgloom.

Ipputus’s whereabouts, and whether he had lived or died, were unknown.

View Rathgar's Character Sheet

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