Nicolau Alexandre, “Pony” (Character)

CLASS: Bard lvl 3 college of Lore, he is not a warrior
Essence: -1 Bardic Knowledge, -1 Bond to Epona, -1 Aerina conviction
Hit Points: 8,5,5= 18
Strength  {8} -1
Intelligence {14} +2
Wisdom  {14} +2
Dexterity  {12} +1
Constitution  {10}
Charisma  {17} +3
Sanity  {11 }

Proficiency @+2

Abilities: Dexterity, Charisma (+1 to charisma checks)
Languages: Gladnorian (spoken, literate), Mercat (spoken, slightly literate), Forlad (fully literate and spoken)
Armor: Light
Weapons: simple Weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords
Tools: Lyre, Drum, Lute
Skills: Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Arcana, Deception, History, Insight, Nature, Performance, Persuasion, Religion
Lore: Horses +2 (on animal skills when dealing with horses)

Feats and Powers

Animal handler (Human Variant)
-You master the techniques needed to train and handle animals. Increase your Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
-You gain proficiency in the Animal Handling skill. If you are already proficient in the skill, you add double your proficiency bonus to checks you make with it.
-You can use a bonus action on your turn to command one friendly beast within 60 feet of you that can hear you and that isn’t currently following the command of someone else. You decide now what action the beast will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you issue a general command that lasts for 1 minute, such as to guard a particular area.
Jack of All Trades: Starting at 2nd level, you can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn’t already include your proficiency bonus.
Song of Rest: Beginning at 2nd level, you can use soothing music or oration to help revitalize your wounded allies during a Short Rest. If you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points by spending Hit Dice at the end of the Short Rest, each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points.
Researcher: When you attempt to learn or recall a piece of lore, if you do not know that information, you often know where and from whom you can obtain it. Usually, this information comes from a library, scriptorium, university, or a sage or other learned person or creature. Your DM might rule that the knowledge you seek is secreted away in an almost inaccessible place, or that it simply cannot be found. Unearthing the deepest secrets of the multiverse can require an adventure or even a whole campaign.
Ritual Casting Spells marked as Ritual that you know can be cast without using up a spell slot.
Bardic inspiration: Bonus Action +d6 to any characters roll within 10 minutes. Charisma Modifier per long rest.                                                                                                                           Cutting Words: Bardic inspiration can be used to apply a d6 penalty to an enemy attack, damage or saving throw.                                                                                                                        Expertise: Persuasion, Performance

While in Crestwold: Advantage to all CON saves, +1 healing per short rest

Magic

As Bard, but no connections to any academic colleges or to the political hierarchy of bards of the Steel Realms.
Bardic Bond: Dream Dragon (initial) + Epona, lady of horses (continued)
Pact: You must gradually get anyone you travel with to give up travel by horse. Using them as pack animals is ok (with the right reward), and fighting together in battle is ok (again, reward), but the subservient role of being ridden is not allowed. You must work to free all such horses in bondage and teach that horses are equals in their basic rights.
Known Cantrips: Message, Vicious Mockery
Known 1st : Cure wounds, Identify, Heroism, Sleep, Speak with Animals, Comprehend Languages
SPELL SLOTS: 1st x 3
Horse Charms: Sing and make a charm of horsehair while you weave in the vibrations of certain spells in. You can have no more charms that your wisdom bonus. Imbue 1)Long Strider, and 2)Unseen Servant (treat as if it were a horse, it cannot gallop though or hold more than your own weight plus about 50#). It takes a Short Rest to make and the horse hair must be given freely. The hair charm, once cut, is activated and acts as if cast by you at the time of its creation. It costs about 25 silver in the process of fermented rare mares milk to soak it in per charm.

Equipment

Armor: Leather
Weapons:
Other:

Description

Description: Male, human (variant), age 26, left handed, 140#, 5’10; Tattoo of Epona’s holy symbol on his right hand and Tattoo of Aerina on his left. Black hair slicked back and tied into a ponytail, a trim clean goatee, white skin with makeup applied very discreetly, Simple clothing cut to fit precisely and fastidiously maintained. He constantly conveys cheerfulness, confidence and a willingness to serve. Youthful charm and the aura of a roguish boy radiate from him at every moment.

Basics of Growing Up: Sayvalod Personality (Pacifism) >Im used to helping out those less educated than I, I will patiently explain or help someone work through a problem.

Ideal >I Greater knowledge and understanding will guide us to a better world together (Good).
Bond > I spend my whole life trying to create a world of knowledge beauty and peace
Flaw > I abhor violence and will put myself in danger trying to find a peaceful solution, I also feel a need to meddle and fix everything I find.

History

Background: Sage, researcher
Nickname from Morban Brothers: Pony (never used a mule but a pony he named “Poet”)

Born on the continent of Sayvalod, in the kingdom of Forlad in the area known as Aerup’s Flats. He is born to a well to do family outside the city of Hamana – an area that has not seen war or conflict in hundreds of years. Nicolau is raised as a pacifist in a society that banishes those who commit murder, even in self defense. This “society” is a splinter group of those who venerate Aerna, and are protected by the strong military of Forlad and tolerated because they produce the greatest scholars in the kingdom. Within his cult, the “Amoerites”, he sang in the choir and had a lilting voice since he was 2 years of age.

He is given the highest education his family can grant, in a place where all those of his sect – even the common man – is taught literature, history, fine arts, math, etc. Nicolau thrives and constantly seeks more knowledge, and is only distracted by his love of horses. He has managed to injure himself several times attempting to read and ride at the same time. It was in traveling to Old Brilona to see a rare horse, that he came face to face with a dream dragon. Brilona was the home of a trader that his uncle had arrangements with and so he rode with his cousins to see the rare Brilona Bluemare’s he had only read about. While seeing for himself the strange voice of the Bluemare’s the herd became spooked and he was face to face with a dragon, a massive blue one. Knocked off his feet by terrified horses, the dragon loomed above him and stared into his soul. All he could think of was to sing, and the song that poured out of him calmed the panicked herd. At the end, he tried to touch the dream dragon and it ate him. In “eating” him, it transformed him. He then begin to command strange power of magic – though he could not tell his family and tried often to never use them and keep them hidden himself – -for he feared a temptation to power.

Nicolau enters into higher education, growing fascinated with the lore and stories of the eastern continent. The fabled “Steel Realms”, a land in which real dragons walk and the Gods of Light keep at bay the fearsome Lords of Darkness, and the very animals and earth give birth to deities that join the fray. He continues to fund his education by working with and training animals, horses especially.

Storytelling is a strong suit of his, one he amplifies through the art of song. His command of song, natural charisma, and fascination with the lands of the High king cause him to make people think of the Spell-Singers of old – everyone’s mood would brighten when he sang, wine seemed to taste better, and animals were calmer. To hear him tell it the east is a land of eternal adventure and fortune, a land where the noblest of dreams are born and thrive. He is seen as an anomaly among his family, who wholeheartedly embrace the tenants of peace, nearly all of them worshiping Aerna.

Nicolau eventually gets to go to the Steel Realms, sailing with his uncle to investigate an anomaly in a place known as “Waerl Bay”. After 6 months they will head north and catch a ride back home with the representatives who deliver the yearly tribute to the High King.

It is 6 months of constant study for Nicolau, he cannot get enough of first hand knowledge from the people of these lands, though his illusions start to be shattered. He is sorely disappointed by the reality of these lands. He spends a lot of his time in some of the lower ends of society (admittedly with a bodyguard) and learns of the common games and pastimes of the average man. The first time he felt legitimately afraid of death was after winning several rounds of an inns common room card game and he had enraged a large man by bluffing his way into a large sum of silver. He gave back the money before his bodyguard could get involved, but he grew to understand the importance of money in these lands.

The 6 months ended too soon, bring nowhere near enough notes on the religious and societal traditions of the land he had come to study. Nicolau and his uncle set out north using local coastal vessels and the occasional caravan. Throughout all of this Nicolau never stopped seeking stories and perspective of the locals of the steel realms. He would even trade stories with them, demonstrating more historical knowledge of some areas than even the locals. His fantastical method of telling history created a small folklore about a child of stories, who brought hope back to the people.

The war between Gwinn and Dunstrand proved to be an issue. Their vessel was taken by Gwinnish forces off the Tarmysian coast, the valuables stolen and many of the passengers killed. He hid in the hold until the boat made landfall. Apparently they had intended on taking the tribute, but the tribute had already been left in Poelitz, for agents of the High King. Nicolaus’ uncle was one of those killed. On landfall, he used his power to make himself light of step, to try and flee the violence of occupied Tarmysia. But it was too big. Because his accent was similar to Gwinn (it was Gwinn who originally settled in Forlad) he wa sable to blend in and the young man found himself working in war camps and on varying vessels to survive. His skill with horses proved to be especially useful and kept him primarily on land where he became a groomsman.

It was through the horses that he managed to escape. They seemed to speak to him, calling for him to leave. He had managed to hide the fact that he could use some minor magics from his captors, but the horses themselves seemed to be calling on him to use it. The day he escaped he swore that the horse he spoke to understood and responded to his words. It was not until later that he would learn that it was the mistress of horses, Epona, that had encouraged him to escape. He used his cantrips to cause varying distractions and escaped on horseback, 2 remounts following.

He spent some time begging, performing on the streets of dreary Tarmysian towns and to his shame occasionally stealing. A supposedly benevolent merchant agreed to take him to a larger city outside of Tarmysia, Mev, where he might find greater fortune. It turns out that he was nothing more than a smuggler, and though true to his word he robbed him of what little he had and left him stranded on the road surrounded by his new captors. It turns out he had been sold to a group of bandits who had been told they could ransom him. They were furious that they could not ransom him; no one would pay. The leader at the time was a scarred scumbag of a man who was going to kill him and leave him on the road. Sheer luck and panic saw Nicolaus stick a belt knife in the bandits eye. Surprisingly the other bandits did not kill him (apparently their leader was not popular), but gave him the choice to either join them or be left to starve. Feeling as though his life was over, having killed a man, Nicolau agreed to join.

Once again he spent alot of time tending to animals, but the new leader saw that Nicolau was much more than just a camp boy. The insights and knowledge he offered soon made him the leaders right hand, much to the grumblings of the group. Having gained enough trust to not be constantly monitored, Nicolau escaped in the night, again by having spoken to the horses and making off with them – depriving captors of the means of following them.

He moved around a lot, learning that his ability to gain the aid of horses was in fact Epona watching over him. He accepted her as his goddess and set about trying to find a new life. He knew he could never go home. Maybe his family would not know he had killed, but he would always know, and he could not hide that from them for the rest of his life. It would only be a matter of time before he would feel out of place or they would find out and banish him.

He set about trying to find work and a life for himself. He knew enough to avoid bad situations that would lead to getting robbed or captured again. He worked for several traders, traveling salesmen, and a few scribes – his education proving to be a rare thing on this side of the sea. He grew used to being an unofficial second, usually a glorified secretary. He eventually had to put himself into a bonded service wit the Morbin Brothers, becoming the assistant of Josie. He had to serve a minimum of 2 years to pay them back for his housing and the equipment he used.

He enjoyed working with Josie, who took him with her to work in Crestwold. In Torrelsons Ford he found a fairly stable life, and became a trusted voice to Josie. She spoke with him at length about her alliance with the Blackwells, piquing his interest in the odd group. He grew to respect them despite her insistence that he stay in the background. She did not want anyone knowing his true role or seeing him as a potential target.

Nicolau came to believe that he should spend his life trying to bring this side of the sea to the same level of peace and prosperity he grew up in. Stories and legends are great, but they are born from chaos and despair. He still despised needless violence, but came to see it as a necessary part of a warring world. His Bond had been served and he’d been working for a legitimate wage for 6 months when he approached Josie to discuss him changing careers. He wanted to see if he could enter service with the Blackwells as a “Logistics Officer”, and hoped she would offer a recommendation for him. The Blackwells seemed dead set on improving everything they touched and he felt that a group such as that could accomplish much of what he aspired to. She agreed, on the provision that he tell her anything that they did that might betray her trust in them. He agreed.

Word suddenly casts everything into disarray. It appears as if there has been betrayal among their ranks. One is an agent of Elancil, and House Malor itself has mobilized under one its Sentinels. The port is closed and many are pressed into service to aid with carrying supplies or guarding the town. A massive baggage train is assembled in a day, though the wizards of House Malor and the barons private guard ride out to do battle ahead of the main group. No one is witness to the battle, but what sounds like massive thunder clouds can be heard a half day away. Josie gets you a spot in a cart, with camp whores in the “entertainment” shuttle. A day travel east, you end up up on the outskirts of the hamlet East Caravel. You manage to be allowed near the tent where the remaining Blackwells are being kept without fire. Your persuasive skills get you stationed to play outside their tent – to keep the Blackwells soothed while their fate is debated. You recognize the servant bringing their food as someone who did work for Josie and the Morbin Brothers outfit a few times and your interest is piqued. The Blackwells are decimated. Few remain. You decide now is the time, sensing something is about to change. You introduce yourself and put forward your recommendations seeking entry into the band of Blackwells. At first, the rag tag lot cannot believe you want to join them. But, they speak plainly of their predicament. You point out that while you are from far away, you are part o the current population of Torrelsons Ford, and working member of the community for Josie – it will help the baron to see you have local roots and this can only work in your favor. Quietly, you give away a hint of your bardic background without making a formal claim – this brings a few sly smiles from those present. You are inducted on a probationary basis – they agree to disavow you if they are sentenced to prison or harm and spare you. Otherwise, you will make a formal oath afterwards.