Taelin (Character)

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Taelin

History

Character Portrait
Class @ Level: 10th Level: Fighter 8 - Champion (@1,2,4,5,7,8,9,10)/Rogue 2 (@3,6)
Health/HP: (10+(7x6) 10+42=52 fighter/ 2x5=10 rogue = 62; +1 toughness/ level = +10; CON bonus= +10) = Total HP = 82
Essence: Base Essence = (11+12/2) = 11 (1/short rest, 1 Essence to gain a use of Wonderment or 1 use of Leadership - Radiance Bond) (Sources of Necrotic damage do 1 extra damage – Radiance Bond); -1 Natural Healer/Healer Feat, -1 Radiance Bond, -1 Jaq's Godling Creation, -1 Free Essence for Forestall/World Tree Bond/Essence Mingling; -1 Shared Litany Merkaine, - 1 Psychic Affinity, +1 Soul Gem, +2 (8 levels fighter), +1 (plane travel 4+ planes), +2 WIS = Total Free Essence = 11
Ability Summary
AbilityNotes
Charisma12 (+1) (+1 to all Persuade checks/-1 to Intimidate checks – Radiance Bond)
Constitution12 (+1) {Proficient, +4 on direct checks – Fighter}
Dexterity18 (+4) {Proficient, +4 on direct checks – Rogue}
Intelligence10 {Proficient, +4 on direct checks – Rogue}
Sanity11 (+1 on all checks against Fear/Frightened and Stun – Radiance Bond)
Strength12 (+1) {Proficient, +4 on direct checks – Fighter}
Wisdom14 (+2)
Ability Notes: +1 INT for unraveling complex plot threads

Proficiency: Capability, Knowledge, Items

Proficiency Bonus: +4
Communication: Gladnorian (Speak + Literate); Orrish Minor Language (Speak + Literate)
Skills: Perception (WIS)**: (double proficiency, +1 Enhanced Senses, +2 WIS) = +11
Survival Skill (WIS)**: (double proficiency; +1 from Soul Gem; +2 WIS) = +11
Stealth: (DEX)**: +8
Athletics: (STR)** = +4 +1 (STR) = +5
Nature Skill: (INT)** = +1 Botany from Nature's Lore, Forrestal/World Tree Bond = +4, +5 Bontany/Plants
Musical Instrument Skill** = Freddie the Flute (DEX) = +8
Healer/Medicine/Healer Kit**: (WIS) = +4+2+1= +7; Healer Feat damage healed = 3+4+maxHD+1= 8+maxHD
Non-Proficient: Brewing +1 (INT), Cooking +1 (INT), Animal Handling +1 (+2 WIS) = +3
Lores: Lore: Dunstrand +1 (INT), Monster Lore +1 (INT), Brewing +1 (INT), Cooking +1 (INT), Lore Orrish +1 (INT), Lore Elves +1 (INT), Lore N'lokrha +1 (INT), Lore Darklands +2 (INT); Lore: Gladnor +1 (INT), Lore High Kings Law +1 (INT), Lore: Bar-Innis (including the possible lost enclave of Elves in Nuir Woods +1 (INT), Lore Synedcian Empire (INT) = +/- 0
Feature(s):

Wanderer: Excellent memory for maps and geography and I can always recall the general layout of terrain, settlements and other features around you. In addition, I can find fresh food and water for myself and up to 5 other people each day, provided the land offers berries, small game, water and so forth.

I am also a bit rude and uncouth among civilized folk, and I have little respect for the niceties of life in the cities. The ties of tribe, clan, family and the natural world are the most important bonds.

Natural Explorer: Darklands, Grasslands (Dunstrand). Double Proficiency bonus for skills used in favored terrains on successful INT/WIS check. In favored terrain: Difficult terrain doesn’t slow down group’s travel. Can’t get lost except by magical means. I remain alert even engaged in another activity. I can move stealthy at normal pace. I find 2x food. Tracking gives me exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed.

Armor: All Armor, All Shields
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons
Tools: Musical Instrument Skill = Freddie the Flute (DEX) = +8
Herbalism Kit: Proficiency with this kit lets you add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to identify or apply herbs. Also, proficiency with this kit is required to create antitoxin and potions of healing
Healer/Medicine/Healer Kit: (WIS) = +4+2+1= +7; Healer Feat damage healed = 3+4+maxHD+1= 8+maxHDLet’s you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness. When you use a healer’s kit to stabilize a dying creature, that creature also regains 1 hit point. As an action, you can spend one use of a healer’s kit to tend to a creature and restore 1d6 + 4 hit points to it, plus additional hit points equal to the creature’s maximum number of Hit Dice. +1 on all healing effects to succeed and damage healed – Radiance Bond. The creature can’t regain hit points from this feat again until it finishes a short or long rest.

Traits

Toughness (Dwarven):HP max increases by 1 (+1 to average HD per level)
Toughened (Max HD at 1st Level),
Cultural Lag
Relentless Endurance (Half Orc) (from Incarna Iron Will) – When I am reduced to 0 HP, but not killed out right, I can drop to 1 point instead. Once per long rest.
Light Sleeper: Passive Perception 11 counts when asleep, + 5 from Alert + 2 (WIS) = 18 passive perception?
Poison Resistance (from Incara 5pt General Toxin Resistance)
Nature's Shield (resistant to any natural poisons or toxins, Forrestal/World Tree Bond)

RADIANCE BOND:
The essence of the character is imbued with a direct connection to the Dreamrealms. A "free" level of Exhaustion (the first level does not impact them), gain Resistance to Radiant damage, +1 to all Persuade checks/-1 to Intimidate checks, and +1 on all healing effects to succeed and damage healed. They gain +1 on all checks against Fear/Frightened and Stun. If a character possesses Radiance Faculties, the Insight checks gain a +5 bonus. Sources of Necrotic damage do 1 extra damage. Once per Short Rest, the character can spend 1 Essence to gain a use of Wonderment or 1 use of Leadership

UNBONDED/DISCONNECTED SOUL GEM:
Automatically Stabilizes at Zero; Sense Powers Inimical to Life; +1 Survival; Half-Elven Feral Rage (Barbarian Berserker Frenzy/Relentless Attack), Stores Realm of Radiance True Light; -1 Cost FeyWild Glimpse; Sense FeyWild Crossings, (Unbonded Soul Gem gives Disadvantage on Check on FeyWild Crossings).

ESSENCE BOND/ESSENCE MINGLING WITH THE FORESTALL OF THE WORLD OF RADIANCE:
The World Tree: Also called the All-Tree, these are special forms of animus for material worlds where great natural beauty and or Anima Founts exists. they commonly take the dream-shape of a Forrestal, most even refer to it as such. All-Tree’s are nearly immortal, and possess the memory of everything that has happened in its domain (sometimes the whole world), and the births, experience, and deaths of all living things nearby. As such, they are greats founts of knowledge if a way can be found to communicate with it.An exchange of Essence may be accomplished as a Bond, but it requires a Soul Gem or something similar. If bonded in this manner, and bond with another Greater Animus requires an additional Essence. It is unique, but considered a Greater Animus.
Draw Upon Nature: The bonded character may use the Druid Craft cantrip at will.
Nature’s Shield: the bonded character is resistant to any natural poisons or toxins.
Nature’s Roots: When on the material plane of the All-Tree, the bonded character’s Spell DC is +1 (for any Druid or Cleric Life or Nature domains).
Nature’s Lore: The bonded character gains +1 on their Lore of Botany.
Gained Lore Synedcian Empire (INT) = +/- 0

1 Sorcery Point (for Mana Pool over 25), 1 Ki Point (for Kinetic Pool over 25), 1 Piety (Merkaine Conviction 1), 1 use channel divinity (as Living Sacrament to Merkaine) that can also be used by Divine characters (by class, not affinity/aptitude)

Feats

Alert Feat: + 5 to initiative. Advantage to being surprised. +5 to Passive Perception
Healer Feat/Medicine/Healer Kit: (WIS) = +4+2+1= +7; Healer Feat damage healed = 3+4+maxHD+1= 8+maxHD

Powers

FEY ANCESTRY: Advantage on saves vs. charm and magic cannot put the character to sleep
Archery Combat: +2 attack bonus
Archery Attack Surge: The character can, 1/Long Rest, take a single extra attack when they normally attack. This cannot be used in the same turn as Action Surge. Many battles, much punishment, and uncounted survival challenges have provided the character the ability to glimpse into the flow of combat and take advantage of some predicted situation.
Remarkable Athlete: add half proficiency bonus, round up (+2) to any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution check you make that doesn't already use my proficiency bonus
Second Wind: bonus action to regain hit points = 1d10+ fighter level = Average 5+8= 13 points 1/short rest.
Action Surge: 1 additional action and possible bonus action 1/short rest (4 attacks)
Extra Attack: 2 attacks per attack action
Improved Critical:– 19 or 20 for crit
Sneak Attack: extra 1d6(3) if I hit with advantage on attack roll. Ranged/Finesse Weapon.
Cunning Action: I can take a bonus action on each of my turns in combat = Dash, Disengage, Hide.

Equipment

Armor

AC/ARMOR: Feldekrayne: 12 + 4 (DEX) = 16; +1 Ring of Defense = 17; +2 Shield = 19

Weapons

SHORT HEAVY BOW: from Tour of Duty in the Darklands: +10 to hit; 1d6/ = 3 +4(DEX) = 7 dmg (piercing)
RAPIER: gift from High Queen’s Dragoons, Mark of the Duke of Dunstrand on blade and scabbard; Expensive, Fine Craftsmanship, Durable, +1 overall dmg: Finesse: +8 to hit, 1d8+1/5+4(DEX) = 9 dmg (piercing)
GRAVEWALD’S AX: Battle Ax, +5 to hit, 1d8 = 4+1 (STR) = 5 dmg (slashing). Versatile: 1d10 = 5+1 (STR) = 6 dmg 2-hand-handed. Negatives/Disadvantange (?) to Orrish Tracking me when worn on body (not only wielded). +1 to hit & damage to Orrish = +6/6/7 vs Orrish. +1 to all skills vs Orrish. +1 to AC when fighting Orrish when wielded
ORK HATER: Broken Scimitar/Dagger: +8 to hit; 1d4/2+4=6 dmg (piercing) ; +1 to hit/ full dmg and +1 dmg/ turn per wound to Orrish = +9/8. Fiend of Desire (9 CHA) 1 CHA to prevent disarm maneuvers/force opponent to reroll death blows Arcane Focus:
Full Listing >

Physical Features, Form, and Appearance

Race: Half-Elf Size: Medium | Movement: 30ft > Beauty: Average (+ Radiance Bond)
Description:

Pale creamy white skin, white body hair, very bright and piercing solid deep purple eyes, Elven ears, thick lush flowing long white hair that I occasionally dye all sorts of colors, based on moods and whims. but also especially to keep camouflaged. Dim motes of light in the pupils, tears that dimly sparkle, and paler nails and hair from Radiance Bond.

Woven or braided in hair feathers of all sorts and colors, flowers, and/or garlands of leaves and vines, whatever can be found according to whim, though feathers are a pretty sure thing. Parents taught him and his brother how to do this so they could be more bonded to the natural world around us.

When at rest, he has pierced elven ears with many smaller earrings throughout the tops and middle of both ears and his favorites are two big hoop earnings for his lobes that were a gift from his parents years ago (no real value, just sentimental value); when “at risk”, the glittering bands are replaced with wooden plugs to reduce reflecting light and noise.

Scars, marks, etc.:

Behavior, Outlook and Perspectives

Alignment: Neutral Good | Affinity: Kinetic (DEX) | Aptitude: Psychic
Behaviors: Neutral Good (Virtuous), Quick Temper, Living Sacrament/True Faith Covenant Merkaine (Piety?), Code of Conduct Gallants, Code of Conduct Bannermans Oath, Code of Conduct High King's Rangers,
Combat Tactics: Archery first if and when applicable; sword/ax and shield or ax double handed; dagger for sneak attack or last resort.

History

Background: Outlander (Outcast), Wanderer, Natural Explorer (Darklands, Grasslands) / Origins: Dutchy of N'lokrha/Darklands Ranger
Defining Personality Trait: I have a lesson for every situation, and I watch over my friends as if they were a litter of newborn pups, making sure they are safe and that they do the right thing
  • Ideal: The Greater Good
  • Bond: My family, clan, tribe...I will bring terrible wrath down on the Orrish and the Evil and the followers of Darkness across the lands, each representing those that killed my family and destroyed my village, helping to spare others in the Lands of Light the same fate as befell me and my own.
  • Flaw: I remember every insult I’ve received and nurse a silent grudge against those who wronged me
Origins:

Patrons, Sponsors and Connections

What made the character become an Adventurer?

A story of growing up

My Family, My Stolen Youth, My Changed Life, and The Darkspawn: How many have whispered never to take your eyes from the deep? And yet, that’s what was done. For generations, hundreds of years, the Goblin fortress of Tallow’s Deep has been silent. After decades of raids, in 8844 on the eve of the new year, a combined force of the High King's rangers clearing the sentries and the half-elves of N’lokrha marched on the festering sore that has slowly bleed them for an eon. They sealed up the maze like entrance, hunting the trolls in the dark with Ducateon allies. For two fortnights the battle raged, until the fortress was gutted, black smoke spewed from every air hole like snakes twisting into the sky; Rangers and Ducateon sealed each and every one on the sunlit side of the mountains. For so long after there have been no raids, and all grew complacent, and guards were let down. In 9130 the goblins returned. A few villages had been built too close to the Curtain of Night, and the goblins had tunneled closer. In a week, 3 villages lay in ruins. Two more were abandoned but it was too late for my parents. Their deaths, and that of my older brother, marked the resumption of the endless cat-and-mouse games my kind plays with the Darkspawn of the legendary Tallow’s Deep. The druids tried to place many children - orphans of the death. I had a stone in my heart, and none would take me, so the druids themselves took me in. My hatred was channeled, and I was on my path to Darklands Ranger. My hatred was drained away, with knowledge, and temperance; but I will never forgive them.

I am Taelin Mar (son of) Shaldis, Half Elf of N’lokrha, and this is my story My Father was Shaldis, a Wyld Elf of the Pale Plains, and my mother was a Human named Leanna Lintroth of Poelitz. My father was young for an elf, and was smitten by the exotic human beauty, energetic personality and fiery passion of my mother when he first met her, so different from Elven women she was. And my mother was struck instantly with strong attraction to my father as well, from her perspective his exotic elven features and his air of connectedness to the natural world. They both knew a relationship between themselves was forbidden, but he kept seeking her out, and she him. When they plighted their troth, it made none happy. The Elves of my father’s blood relations were dismayed (though they knew the death of the human woman was imminent and that Shaldis would eventually be back in the Elven fold). The family and friends of my mother were horrified and claimed that it was Faerie magic that had captured and ensorcelled her. Feeling exiled by both the elven and human communities and their families, my parents moved to a village close to the Eastern Mountains of N’lokrha for a community of acceptance. Unfortunately this new home was within close reach of the Darkspawn of Tallow’s Deep.

My young childhood was a happy one filled with love from my parents and my older brother, and a happy community with others in town, especially the other half elves. My parents would talk to my older brother and I about a future plan of traveling the lands of Gladnor and the other realms, seeing the forests, the lands, and the wide expanse of The Ocean. Both of my parents extolled Nature’s healing power to the soul, how we are all connected to it, especially me and my brother with our inherited Elven blood and our Soul Gems. My father would passionately talk about the animals and plant life among the plains, verdant hills, mountains and forests. But my mother had deep praise of The Sea: the fresh salty clean and refreshing air of the sea breeze, the cry of the sea birds, the powerful crash of the waves on the shore, the beauty of sunsets on the Western horizon, over the seemingly endless expanse of water. We were to witness and experience all of this together as a family. Needless to say, my parents had happier and more carefree plans for my life than as a Ranger serving in the Darklands, but my fate and theirs was not what any of us had foreseen.

Mannerisms: I am moody, I brood, and I glower. I am taciturn, more introverted and introspective, and rarely start conversations unless with people I know well or have a functional and situational reason to do so. But when do I speak, I do my best to always tell the truth. I am very quick to anger, though I do my best to control it, but it is a burden I struggle with every day. Everywhere I see slights and insults to my mixed blood, every second of my existence is flooded with the inferiority the elves place on me, and from the humans their view of the unnaturalness of my birth and the alieness of my appearance, never being accepted by either race. My blood relatives of either side blame each other’s races for my parents’ deaths, and not the Orrish that actually did the killing. And I am just a reminder of what they had lost through the tragic mixing of the races.

I am a bit stand-offish and will voluntarily remove myself from groups for some time alone. But I also enjoy camaraderie, friendship, family, and community, always and forever missing and reminiscing about that which I had when I was young. I am strongly drawn to my father’s Elvish heritage , more so than most other Half Elves since I have inherited from my father a Soul Gem, a very rare but not an unheard of occurrence among the half-elves. I also feel connected to my mother's human heritage which binds me more to the daily struggles, fears, joys and passions of the shorter lived peoples of the lands. I am resentful that I was not taught Feyloise when I was brought up by the druids, the little that my father taught me has been forgotten. In addition, the druids rarely seemed to want to answer questions I had about my Soul Gem - my father also told me he would discuss it with me when I was older, thought it appeared that he viewed it with both pride and worry - the druids also appearing to have some worry about having a ward with a Soul Gem among them. The only thing they did teach me was how to use the Soul Gem as an internal focus for survival, and in doing so I could also reach out and sense the presence of the Realms of Shadow.

I feel uncomfortable in groups of Elves, for the inferiority complex they give me, but also since I don't know what they are saying when they speak Feyloise. I especially feel my self-worth attacked when they laugh and look at me, and it makes me bristle with indignation and has been the source of more than a few fights among the elvish that I have had the chance of being around. I am certain what they say is derogatory because of my human blood, and especially my human blood influenced size. “Half Human” is ALWAYS derogatory from an Elf, as they distain the humans as inferiors, and half humans are results of elves polluting and degenerating their great race.

I have a deep reverence for Nature, and always feel drawn to bond with it and protect it in some manner. I generally prefer time alone with flora and fauna to groups of humans and elves, and feel that I am close in spirit with nature. My temper flares when I see animals mistreated, abused, and (outside of the needs of hunting for general survival) intentionally and needlessly attacked in battle. That goes as well for the land, especially trees, needlessly and carelessly destroyed, especially for greed and profit, or Nature corrupted by Evil.

Despite my temper, I try to live in a way that others look up to, attempting to live the higher road in life, a road that many find challenging in these dark times. Deep down I might be hoping for more acceptance despite my mixed race, hoping that by doing good works and doing the right thing, I can prove to myself and others my worth. Also through choosing this path I hope to keep my own deep seated feelings of inadequacy which causes my anger in check. I believe that Good beings should not resort to Evil methods to achieve their ends. And if the civilized lands of light need protecting from the dark, than we must all find meaning in pursing the virtuous life, protecting nature and community and civilization for all of our children and the generations to come - we must prove that we are worthy of saving by our own actions, otherwise we are no better than the Dark we are attempting to survive against.

I believe that violence is not the only answer in many situations, and indeed in many situations violence should be an action of last resort, especially if there are other possible mutually acceptable outcomes, or at least acceptable outcomes though they not mutually benefit each side equally. But I will fight the good fight when it needs to be done, and will gladly fight those that seek harm to the peoples the lands.

I also do have a chip on my shoulder, that I have served and fought the Darkspawn in their own lands, for the protection and betterment of the inhabitants of the Steel Realms, so that others can live their lives and not have to sacrifice and fight. If others push me, I can easily attempt to lord this over them, though I know I shouldn’t. Others who have not been to the Darklands can never understand the desolation, despair, sorrow and terror.

My Training with the Druids, and My Service/Tour of Duty in The Darklands: In my ranger training with the druids, I excelled at all of the physical challenges – but I always struggled with keeping up with my colleagues in my lore, knowledge, and languages. I was always a bit behind my ranger brethren in this regards, and I still feel to this day challenged in rote learning, which could make learning Feyloise that much more difficult for me in the future, though to more complete my Elven side to me, I feel that I must attempt to learn the language of my father, no matter how challenging that may be for me. The other half-elves in ranger training called me “slow”, or “mental reject” which was a cause for more than a few fights among my half elven brothers, and thus I did not have many friends from my time of training. Despite my challenges in rote learning, I learn better by doing, and I am better than most in perceiving things, so I was able to show up the other half elves in training with me through my better tracking, sneaking, spying and survival skills. But for many of the half elves I remained the slow mentally challenged kid, even when we eventually served together in the Darklands.

If needs be I can use my sword for close combat, though I chose not to develop my skill as fully as the other half elves in Darklands Ranger training. But the bow is my chosen weapon, and I spent most of my weapons training on perfecting my archery. I feel that the arrow as it flies towards its target is an extension of my being, soaring true to its deadly end. I feel best when I can escape the center of conflict and from a better position shoot arrows at enemies, supporting those on the front line.

I can proudly attest that every group of rangers I was a part of while in the Darklands were never fully caught off guard in an ambush - while I may not always have been able to directly alert others to the danger, whether it was during sleeping or traveling, I was able to react to threats others could not perceive, and just my reaction to the threat alerted others of danger, saving more than a few of my fellow ranger’s lives. And I was able to find ways for my brethren to survive the Darklands when our rations ran low or on rare occasion ran out. Gifted for survival I was, they all said. Because of that and other reasons, I always kept my Soul Gem covered or disguised – I did not know how it would be received by others, and I still don’t quite understand the meaning of having a Soul Gem as a Half Elf, when so many of my Half Elven brethren did not have one. I never met another half elf that had a Soul Gem, and I was afraid that they might view mine with jealousy, or the humans would view it with contempt and/or fear.

During my service in the Darklands, due to my skills that I honed with my Soul Gem, I was also sent on some special missions searching out the presence of the flows and effects of the Shadowlands and any of its creatures, which also thrive in the Darklands. Not many had this ability to see the Shades, but again I did not reveal my Soul Gem to others, though some might have suspected. Despite the special feeling I had when asked to do these extraordinary missions, opening myself to be aware presence of the Realm of Shadow while in The Darklands could be overwhelming and was the cause of many more deeply terrifying nightmares and many more sleepless nights for me, though there seemed to be very few nights where I did not have nightmares or dark dreams or sleep depriving dark thoughts of some type, but catching glimpses of those from the Shadowlands was especially dark, the malice incarnate shooting despair into my life loving soul.

A story of exemplifying beliefs

How the character came to be in the group

Four years I served as Darklands Ranger, druid raised and trained, fighting side by side with other Half Elves of N’lokrha and the High King’s Rangers against the Darkspawn and Darkness in their own lands, stemming the tide of their encroachment into the civilized lands of light – four years of terror and living nightmares and dark evil unfathomable to those who live in relative peace and stability and ignorance in the Steel Realms.

The Darkness Waits, and we should all Fear when it collectively decides to take action. But one think I can state as fact: I will be part of the Vanguard defending the Realms if this should happen during my lifetime.

When I had fulfilled my terms of service, I stayed on with the Darkland Rangers, though I did not commit to an additional tour of duty. I stayed because in truth I did not know what I was going to do once I left the service as a Darklands Rangers. But I also could not fathom another 4 years in this living hell beyond imagination. I was lost with no direction, no family or community to go to. There would be no refuge to be had with either my Elf or Human blood relations. The Druids of N’lokrha took me in and trained me, and while I have deep gratitude for them, they never truly felt like family, more like my caretakers and me their ward. I felt connection, meaning and purpose, if not acceptance, among those with me in the service to the High King's Rangers in the Darklands.

That said, besides for a few other Half-Elves serving, there were few that I could call "friend" during this time, one of them being a human we called Handsome Jack. Outside of him and a few others, I was socially on the fringes of the Rangers, slurs whispered and sometime overt challenges made, but most of the time I was just excluded, left alone to brood in the silence of my own dark thoughts. For the most part I was okay with that, because if I wasn’t part of conversation, I could not misinterpret things said or could not be goaded into anger, which many of the Rangers liked to do. And I would have to say that on more than one occasion my temper had destroyed some good relations I had with some of my brothers, some of which had been or could have been friends.

Darkness in the Souls of my Ranger Brothers and Leaving the Darklands: Shortly after my tour time was up, one day after a vicious and costly but victorious battle against the Darkspawn, I decided that now was time to leave the Darklands. The eyes of the Goblin we had captured were full of pain and horror as my ranger brethren tortured and were about to dismember it as it was alive. The Goblin had just revealed some information to save itself from more pain, but more than likely the lowly creature knew nothing, as we never seemed to gain any helpful knowledge by this gruesome activity, and there seemed to be no point in this evil exercise by my ranger brethren except to both appease and fuel their hatred all at one. The Goblin’s eyes searched around wildly, and finally caught me and bored into me, pleading, as it screamed in pain and terror– I had enough – I ran over, pushed my brothers away and cut the Goblin’s throat before any more harm could befall it, the Goblin releasing one last sigh of relief from pain as its life escaped the pain of it’s tortured body.

It was the last time I wanted to witness the desolation and desecration of fallen comrades by the Orrish and other Darklands creatures. It was the last time I wanted to witness the horrendous pointless torture and desecration of captured Orrish, and the last time I wanted to witness good and otherwise decent Ranger brethren hack to pieces in their hatred the corpses of dead Orrish – the parading around of heads and pieces of Orrish bodies by other Rangers as trophies sickened me just as much as the Orrish themselves did. The Darklands made some who served insane and crazed, and even those who stayed sane could end up doing some vile and repugnant things, with the justification that it kept their sanity by doing such things, or that the vile creatures of the Dark deserved this. But I could not abide this any longer, not even against those that had killed my family and sought ruin upon the civilized lands - as much as I reviled the Orrish, the senseless and pointless torture and desolation of their bodies after death, corrupting the very Being of my Ranger brothers was sickening to me. I had enough.

I ranted and raved and admonished and shamed them all for a long time. They all just stared at me hard in silence, but never challenged me in my half elven rage. When my anger had subsided during our way back “home” to base, I was wondering if my fellow rangers were going to attack me enmasse and kill me for daring to take their sport away and speak to them in such a manner. In my four years of serving I never distrusted my ranger brethren as I did then, all senses heightened and ready to fight them if they decided to bring their own now-warped sense of justice upon me. But nothing happened, no attack came – maybe because they knew my skill in reacting to surprise? I will never know if my words found deeper and lasting targets in my brothers souls or not. No one talked on the way back to base, except for a few whispers here and there. When back from the mission, I told my commanding officer that I am done and would be leaving now - he accepted this and thanked me for my service. After more than four years of service in The Darklands, I was now on my own.

A Search for a Purpose, a Family, and a Home: Since the moment I had arrived in the Darklands, the dark, desolate, and barren lands and ever dark skies stifled and suffocated me - the never ending cold rain sank into my bones and permeated my Being with hopelessness, and the constant screaming of the Orrish and the pounding of the drums became the dark song and heartbeat of the sick, diseased and corrupted land. The violence and scramble for survival made every day bleak, depressing, and terror filled, though there were small victories to be had and celebrated, but the never ending evil and darkness chewed its way to the core of my being. My elven blood screamed out in dismay everyday at the lack of the rich green and colorful plant life and wild animal life of the Steel Realms, all of which was every day an attack on my Soul.

Being free from this, I now desired to spend time in living Nature again, time in the forests, in the plains, in the verdant hills, in the soaring life covered mountains – to experience the blue sky and the Sun in all of it’s warm, bright, life-giving glory, to see the great wide ocean that my mother described to me and my brother. To walk free without fearing another trap or ambush or onslaught by Darkspawn or other warped creatures of Darkness every waking or sleeping moment. To hear the laughter of young children, the hope for the future. There had to be people that would fight to protect all of this. There had to be people who fought against Darkness within the Steel Realms, not just within the Darklands, that I could seek out. To live in the lands of light and still have a noble purpose, a community, and a home.

To repair and refresh my damaged Soul, I followed my desire to travel West to see The Ocean that I had never seen - the vast expanse of water that I had only heard in story but never had experienced, so different from the mountains and darkness that had been my life every day and night for over four years. I trusted in my ranger training to survive this quest, and left on foot, and hoping that through this journey I would also find a place in this world to call home.

Never had N’lokrha looked so beautiful as it did as I crested and climbed down the western side of the Tolkisson Mountains, leaving the Curtain of Night behind me. I made my way down to the land and kissed the land and rubbed the dirt and mud of my childhood home on me, reveling in being back in the land of light. But this was the land of my youth, and after serving in the Darklands, I no longer felt young in spirit. Leaving N’lokrha behind me, I made my way West to the Ynth Forest. I skirted the edge of Ynth North and then West, but I never once attempted to enter the forest, lest I tempt some Elves who would challenge a Half Elf in their lands. But even being this close to the living forest and the miles upon miles of green life brought my sprits up and I felt new life pumping through me.

On the Trail of Handsome Jack: After what seemed to be weeks of living off the land, hunting and digging up roots and finding edible plant and flowers, I reached the northwestern edge of Ynth, and continued Northwest to the Eswa River. I found a ford and crossed the Eswa into the Pale Plains. After a few days of traveling alone in the Pale Plains, I would not realize it until later, but fate was with me that day in helping find a new home and family when I encountered some Wyld Elves. I was wary as they approached, and the Elves tried to goad me into combat, challenging condescendingly the wandering half human in their lands I was still relishing my good spirits after leaving the Darklands, so I gathered my self control and I refused their bait for an altercation. The gave up after a while once they realized I was not going to cave in to their taunts and challenges and they were not going to have fun with me. As they were getting ready to leave me alone once again, one of the Wyld Elves looked closer at me, and they recognized me as a son of Shaldis, half human though I was. They also saw the cloud of darkness surrounding me, so they invited me to sit with them at their fire and share a meal and story. As they prepared the fire and meal, I shared some of my tale reluctantly, and when done it seemed that there was some grudging respect in the Wyld Elves’ eyes.

But once the Elves started their stories, it was with truly heroic restraint that I was able to hold back from violence upon them, though I was seething with anger. Something they said made me think of my old pal Handsome Jack when one of them spoke of the sport they had with the dog-baby - a man who had Grollen tattoos. The memories of the time with Handsome Jack flooded back. Jack and I had shared many a campfire, and both feeling rejected (me from almost everyone, and him from his family) and we felt a kinship. I managed to hold down my anger, and shared the Wyld Elves’ fire while I ate, and they told me a story of his capture, slavery and eventual escape. I felt a strong pull to this man, Jack, who befriended me without a thought to my heritage - even though it made some of the others dislike him, he was never regretful and defended me against their slurs.

In addition to my mission to experience the Sea to heal my damaged soul, I now had a new mission: to find my friend, Handsome Jack!

I followed Jack’s trail to the Rivermen of the Southern Merchant Cities of the Torgrimsom River. After spending a bit of silver to get information from people who were reluctant to to talk to me, I found that Jack had gone to the North Merchant Cities. My new goal and destination was to be Karolak - a greatest of the northern merchant cities, beautiful as human cities go I hear. So I made my way north, through Umbak, using all of my skills and natural born abilities in avoiding all capture. Umbakians really don’t like Half-Elves, more so than other humans do, for the Elven taint of pure human blood we represent. I relished no altercation with Umbakian Knights, so I played some cat and mouse games with a few knights and priests of Balthazaar who had seen me, but I was always able to slip out of their reach.

The Halflings and The Ocean, My Soul Refreshed!: I reached the southern part of Dunstrand, and made my way West through Loamwold - the home of the Halflings of Bar-Innis. I traveled West all the way to the coast, and I for the first time in my life witnessed the Great Ocean! Upon witnessing the wide expanse of water and the Western Sunsets over the horizon, part of my soul was refreshed, a bit more recovering from the Darkness of the past 4 years, and the many more years of training for the Darkness with the druids. It was the first time since I was a young child that I could remember really laughing in merriment and mirth, and feeling some actually happiness. I found a bond to these Halflings who were great company and enjoyed time with them. During this time I also spent many days and nights alone wandering up and down the sandy shore, sleeping on the beach to experience the cry of the sea creatures, the moonrise over a cloudless peaceful sky full of bright stars, the glorious Eastern Sunrise, but more poignantly, the strikingly beautiful Western Sunsets. I stayed in Loamwold a little longer than a fortnight or so, finding comfort in the reenergizing effect these people and experiencing the Western Ocean had on me. I also spent most of the remaining of my silver in food and drink for me as well as buying rounds for others at Pubs and Inns, enjoying the carefree life I have not done since a child before my parents and brother were killed by the Orrish.

Finding Handsome Jack and My New Family, The Gallants: It was eventually time to continue on with my journey to find Jack. I traveled North along the Dunstrand coast until the pristine and relaxing waters of the sea gave way to the dark marshes of Dwindor Swamp. Dwindor unfortunately reminded me of the Darklands, so some of my rejuvenation from experiencing the Sea diminished a bit, but I still hugged the coast line of the swamp, heading north. I tried to open myself up to the diverse flora and fauna of the area, and while Dwindor still unsettled me a bit, I found more acceptance of this unique land once I put the thoughts of the Darklands behind me. Though I would have to say that I was lucky that I did not encounter Orrish on my travel by the swamp, as the Halflings warned me about them in these parts.

I eventually came across an area called Dogwood Flats, which now was the apparent new home of The Gallants, and after hearing some dark stories of their former home in Braddon Bog, I could see why they needed a new home to rebuild a new bright future. I had heard stories of The Gallants over the years, and this band of mercenaries turned Bannermen serving the central Heartlands always intrigued me. While traveling through Dogwood Flats, I heard The Gallants were recruiting and expanding. The war with Gwinn has been brutal and ongoing and they needed more recruits. I thought perhaps I could earn some silver for a few months as a scout, and then move on North to the Merchant Cities to continue my search of my friend, Jack. So I headed over to the newly founded Gallantine Academy to see if I could sign on for a short tour with them.

But of all the places to find my old friend, Handsome Jack!! I did not expect that he would be here, but as I was seeking information form a recruit "office" (a tent more like), his familiar voice rang out a greeting! Reunited, he insisted that I join him in service with The Gallants. He said I could find a home, a real family, and he promised to make sure that he and I both served together and that he would look out for me. I have heard the stories that The Gallants are the defenders of Bar-Innis and Dunstrand, though through much cost to themselves over the years. Through this noble purpose, and through my friend Handsome Jack, I have found a new family and a place to call home with The Gallants!

The Yearning of My Soul Gem, My Essence and Soul, To Bond to the Living Power and Spirit of Nature: During my life and travels I also heard rumor and whisperings of fallen Greater Animi/Soul Trees in the lands, more than one of which may be in Dunstrand. One in particular is possibly within Bar-Innis itself! Within the Nuir Woods near Mosshaven, there is the rumor of a fallen Greater Animus, quite possibly a Soul Tree, lost to history, a yet living remnant of Elven communities long since vanished from this part of the world. My Soul Gem, The Essence and Soul of my Being, yearns to bond to such an Animist Power of Nature.

Maybe in due time. with support of my new found Gallant Brothers, my new found family within the peoples of the world, I can eventually discover my spiritual family within Nature, a family waiting for me to join them just like the Gallants. I hope to eventually seek out and Join and Bond for Life to this particular fallen Soul Tree/Animus in my home of Bar-Innis, making my Soul complete, possibly also allowing me to connect to the life-affirming Elven Magic, the legacy I carry from my Elven father.

XP/CP/Inspirations Gained and Spent