The Lance of Marduk

Entry Two
A Tiefling's Story

Well I wasn’t wrong about that now was I, After I pocketed the book I spent the evening drinking, five Dwarven Ales and two Flagons of who knows what, it didn’t take long before I regressed into my muttering states which appear after five drinks. I had lost sight of my short companion awhile back and now I was becoming steadily less conscious. Just to keep myself moving I began to stack the empty glasses, Flagon’s first then the Ales, I got to the third Ale before I began to overstretch my reach, tottering on an old wooden chair it didn’t take long before I collapsed onto the Tavern floor, glass bottles rolling every which way they pleased. I heard heavy footsteps approach me before I was lofted into the air by an immense figure, even in a haze I knew it was Phalanx, I could smell him. As he threw me over his shoulder and began to head to the stairs I could see a faint glimpse of the little one, he looked drunk, but something was off about him and his new companions, a set of Dwarves clad in thick armor.
Phalanx threw me onto my bed, an old moth infested thing, but it could have been worse, it didn’t have those nasty bed-bugs. Phalanx sat at the other side of the room, I can’t remember if I had said anything to him, but I was glad he was there. He watched out for me, he cared, that reminded me of Lilin… I miss her…
After a short time I heard the Halfling enter the room, I couldn’t make out what he had with him, but he was messing around with a new set of something which he look particularly fond of. I had blurted out “The Mouse has the Cheese”, not realizing at the time that they were Dwarven Daggers, the crafty devil. Not long after that was when it seemed all hell was going to break loose, and Asmodeus himself had decided to claim Fallcrest as his own personal bitch. Phalanx and the Halfling were gazing out the window, fire illuminating their faces, I wanted to get up to check it out, but all I managed was to roll onto the floor with a loud “Thump”. Phalanx turned and placed me back onto the bed, as I felt a gust of air rush past, the Halfling was gone. Phalanx soon followed behind him, at a noticeably slower pace though.
My mind drifted off to sleep. I began to mix the current happenings with the events which had unfolded what seemed like so long ago. I felt I was back at home on that fateful day. My Grandfather, a wise-man named Mastema Ben-Abba, was considered by many to be a heretic, hated by the forces of Darkness and Chaos for his active role in their defeat, by the forces of light and “good” for his active outspoken hatred of the Gods (who he knew in his heart were not as upstanding as they claimed to be), and by other Tieflings for his words against their violent ways and horrid beginnings at the will of the Greatest of Devils. He was not a well like man, which is why he had lived alone in a house upon a great hill out in far desert lands. Though he wasn’t truly alone, he had his three sons with him, who he raised to be great scholars and warriors, but terrible diplomats. They were my uncles Peor (he married a Tiefling named Dinah), and Mocoton (who married a human woman named Naamah), and my father Reuel (who married Dinah’s sister Laylah). Each of them had many children, except Reuel, who was content with just one. Grandfather had told my cousins and I of great faraway lands and the legends of their faiths. He also taught us his deemed Heretical ideas. Our father’s and their eldest sons and daughters would each seek different ways of applying Grandfather’s philosophies. Peor sought to destroy the connections between the realms using arcane magics, forever separating the realms of the Gods, Devils, and Angels, from our own freeing us from their whims. Mocoton was more direct, he wished to cut off the god’s power, by striking down their worshippers, for this Mastema disowned him, he hated Gods, but he hated murderers more. Reuel had a different approach, who sought Alchemical ways to drain Gods of their power rendering them mortal, like many had once been. Not all of the family had joined our fathers in their quests. The two eldest daughters of Peor: Ariel and Erem, took a different path, and became natural philosophers like their grandfather, though they could care less about Gods and zealots, they moved to the city of Zarathustra to learn all they can about the natural world, its history and processes. I always respected their decision to leave, though Mocoton did not. Of all my cousins, the one who I set before all others was Lilin. Lilin, a daughter of Peor, was older by four years and had been my constant companion through schooling. She always had a different outlook than our fathers. She believed that mortals were foolish for challenging monsters of far greater stature, she instead felt in order to rid our world of these egomaniacal ethereal psychotics you must take on an immortal with and immortal, knowing that Gods have killed Gods, but angels and devils had as well, it was Asmodeus who killed ‘he who was’ before his fall from grace. Wishing to know their power, six years ago when I was just seventeen, Lilin left to learn all she could about the ways of Angels. I haven’t seen her since, but I have heard from Ariel and Erem that she is fine, she is apparently living near Zarathustra, that’s where I’m trying to go, if I can ever find it. She left just in time, for two months later a massive army made it to our door. Burning atop a pyre was Mocoton, who had led his forces against the Dragonborn in a foolish raid. The Zealots began to launch an attack upon our home, slaughtering all they could get their hand on, they cheered as their blades pierced the flesh of my family, they treated my family as they were less than people and they slaughtered them as they had done many dark cults. They called out Bahamut’s name, as they lit fire to Mastema’s works and home. I hid in any little cranny I could fit, finally hid in the old well out back. Unable to help my family as the reptiles lined them up and beheaded them all, even Naamah. Mastema was the last to go. After they destroyed every trace of our home, I crawled from the well and beheld the destruction in the wake of the zealots. It was gone, all gone, they were dead, all dead, even the little ones. I began to cry…
It ended as a great roar brought me back to the waking world and my door crashed open. A large dwarf (kind of an oxymoron, but you get the idea) stood in the door frame. He asked if I had seen, as he put it, “A god-damned filthy fucking Halfling!” I told him, “No dear Owl-Bear I haven’t seen your hammock”. He left after that, kind of in an irate mood, what midget got your blade? I got up from the bed at this point, stumbling slightly before regaining my footing. I began to run. I ran until I made my way to the House of the Sun, a grand Cathedral to a more or less useless deity. Stumbling through the now destroyed doorway I regained my footing. Staring up there was a sight to behold. Phalanx stood next to a partially melted statue of the useless god Pelor, a Half-elf Cleric stood between Phalanx and myself, she look kind of perturbed. I think she tried to steady me but I was too focused on the scene. A fat, Lard-like human wizard stood slack jawed and firing a bolt of flame at the statue, he looked tired and… well… on a metric shit ton of drugs. My eyes spied the Halfling lying on the floor near the wizard, not moving. Much of the Cathedral was in ruins. A priest followed by two city guards came and apprehended the wizard and the Halfling.
As the situation began to calm down I could see the guards chaining up the wizard, the Cleric speaking with Phalanx and two guards removing the Dwarven daggers from the rogue’s person. A smile grew across his face, but Phalanx caught that, he called out to the guards to check his sleeves, boots, and other pockets where he has been stashing other blades and general loot. As the guards were finishing their search, I drunkenly called out, “Check for his ass dagger!” The Little man’s eyes grew to an amazing size. There was no ass dagger, but they didn’t know that, what followed sent me cackling for what seemed like hours. It seemed we’d be heading to Winter-what the fuck you call it sooner rather than later, and the Cleric would be coming with us. It was later I found out that she was the person Phalanx managed to get a job from. And apparently we had to take the rebel-rousers with us. I’m glad we still had our Halfling, but did we need to bring the wizard, I do not trust his fat ass face.
We set up camp alongside the road, Phalanx and I set up the tents as the Cleric, who I would come to learn is named Arywen? Aryaan? Aryawwn? (I’m not best with her name, she seems to avoid me for some reason, is it the horns? I think it’s the horns) watched the prisoners. The wizard I learned was Mykhail, from past experiences I know that name as a derivative of Mikhail otherwise Michael, he far from deserves that title. As I and the reptile set up the tents, I was beginning to have trouble with the setup; every noise came in like an explosion. Phalanx gave me some sort of herbal remedy for the hangover, I’m glad he’s here, I haven’t had that kind of a support for six years, he’s the closest thing I’ve had to family since that day.
Around the fire, Aryawwn told us way we were heading out to Winter-fuck, apparently a dark cult has been spotted keeping a low-key profile in the town. She was hired to find out what they are up to, I forget most of the details, because my head was spinning with the names of Gods and Devils which are followed by these Dark Cults. Could they be necromancers? Or about to summon an abyssal demon? Dagon comes to my mind. What was said next escaped all our minds as the Halfling began to speak, he had, supposedly been bound the entire time, but now his hands were free of their bonds and were gesturing as he spoke. Reacting quickly I whipped him across the face with my tail, a loud crack broke the air as the hobbit tumbled to the ground clenched with pain, still sore after the… um… “search” back in Fallcrest. That night we split the two tents. Phalanx and the Halfling had the luxury of watching the prisoner that we were (I suppose) transporting. While I and the cleric took the other tent. I tried to strike a conversation with the Half-elf, but she ignored me, or she fell asleep fast, either way I felt alone in the tent.
~Phenex Bat-Laylah

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Entry One
A Tiefling's Story

I found this journal along the road in the city; I think it may have fallen from a caravan, or possibly an Alchemist’s wagon. Either way I had noticed that my comrades each had their own, and I thought it would be good to keep my own. We entered Fallcrest at some point in the day; I wasn’t paying much attention to time or the details of our journey before I found the book. I remember that Phalanx (a big old son of a bitch, but he’s a softy) had rented out a room in the Nentir Inn, I wished I had my own room; my friends… well, they smell. Well I smell, but I can stand my smell, the damn Halfling smells of dwarf for heaven’s sake!
I guess I should elaborate on my companions for a moment. There is of course Phalanx; he’s frightfully tall, has a good half a foot on me and twice the height of our petite friend. He’s not human, granted none of us are, he’s a Dragonborn, from… damn, I can’t for the life of me remember where he is from. I remember getting drunk one night and in the morning there was a Paladin tailing me and the Halfling, I do enjoy his company though, he’s the first person since Lilin that has had a lick of sense about him (and he scares the lesser robbers away). Then there is our short companion, he never told me or Phalanx his name, and I don’t rightly know why we began traveling together. Why do I travel with people I meet while drunk, damn, Lilin told me it was going to bite me in the ass one day, and I hope she was being figurative.
I think we won’t stay in Fallcrest long, the hobbit says he needs to get to the next town… Winterhaven? I’m not sure, all these towns feel the same to me and I’ve never got use to them. I’ve been away from home for six years and still haven’t adapted to being on my own. Well I’ll have to get used to it, not like I can go home, it’s gone now. Phalanx decided to search Fallcrest for work, leaving the midget and I in Nentir’s Tavern. This may not have been his best plan.
~Phenex Bat-Laylah

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Why Now
The Princess Diaries

I have been tasked with a mission of detection and threat-management, and these are to be my companions: a blasphemous wizard without any semblance of self-control, a mischievous halfling with only half a mind for plans, a self-loathing drunkard with a half the wit of the halfling and the other half of the wizard’s blasphemy, and a respectable, badass paladin. Curiosity does breed some sticky situations.

Away, that’s where I’m finally going. Released, and now away. Home, with the order, serving, practicing, training, simply via the most mundane of means imaginable – that’s behind me, time for the real world now. Quite a questionable company I’ve got now though, it would appear. Had that been me bursting into a temple any number of years ago… that would have likely been my final year. Such complete disregard for the sanctity of the temple, damn him. I know it’s not my place, but damn him!

Patience, yes, composure. He seems an interesting fellow, fiery enough to prompt intrigue. But fire burns people, and that’s why it must be snuffed – but damn that as well! Their rules, their discipline, it means nothing to the rest of the world. I am not a pawn, if anything a rook, a knight, away from a castle. Free to explore, to dwell, to toy with fire. I know well enough where truth lies, where to return if anything catches, where to seek guidance; so much can be fixed though. “Acceptable losses,” and it’s my job to prevent them, barring that, to mitigate. My duty, not my task. Not assigned – inherent, intrinsic.
Whether I was meant to be or not, whether my value exceeds that of my utility, a token, a mere bargaining chip, here, I conduct the bargains. Power-play… But not so far. I’ll stay in my place, do not worry, I live to serve, but here, there’s significance. What I am means so much more. No more seclusion, goodbye old, walled-in world. This is more, this is my choice, this is real.

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Meetings
Lilin Achazriel

It would seem that all hell has broken through our peaceful City, but by Haurvatat a great miracle hath occurred today. It had been on the stress of the Sultan and his counsels that one of the noblemen had been under-handing the Sultan, and it happened to be the one with a league of assassins creeping through Zarathustra’s darkest corners. The noble of which I speak is Gilkaad, a detestable man who has been known for years to be working with shadowy figures hidden from Archangels’ Light. None trusted the man, the Scholars (including my sisters) never trust those of Noble-Birth, but even the rest of the Nobles and Counsels hated Gilkaad. None wished to face him. He had tabs on everyone and his followers could take any of us out in the most discreet ways possible. He had info on the Sultan that even his mother never knew, hell he even had dirt on completely neutral parties including my sisters Ariel and Erem.
Gilkaad in recent days has been sending his assassins on capture and assault mission even to our natural trade partners like Bern, Schahar, and Asraphel. The man was risking our city’s very survival. I know what the soldiers of Bern are capable of; they took my family from me: my father, my mother, my brothers, my uncles and aunts… I pray the little one is safe, Haurvatat look after her. Please make it home little firebird…
The good news is that Gilkaad is dead. He and a good portion of his chief assassins were slain in combat. He was slain by a Dragonborn Paladin no less. Good riddance Gilkaad, may your dear god Pelor never accept you. I was surprised this morning to receive a message from one of the Sultan’s couriers; he knows that I have the know-how to treat the wounds of Dragonborns, something the human doctors do not often have skill in. I’ve had to stitch up many passing Dragonborn soldiers back when I had lived with Grandpa Mastema. My mother taught me how to treat them.
The Dragonborn, who I learned to be named Phalanx, was currently incarcerated, and the body of his mate was at the Penuel’s Morgue. I entered the prison late at night and came to see the Paladin. I found him awake; sitting in the center of his cell, moonlight surrounded him, a blessed sign of Ameretat that he was a friend. The guard let me in and I sat next to the towering figure. I told him my name and he his, as I patched his wounds I informed him that he will be brought to the Sultan in the coming morning. He asked me why I was here. He doesn’t see many Tieflings, especially not in human settlements, granted Zarathustra has more Tieflings than a usual settlement, though still less than its populace of Devas and Humans. I told him of my quest to learn of the secrets of Angels. I also told of my sisters who were the last family I had. Upon thinking of my sisters I asked him if he was willing to gift a tooth and scale. He seemed confused, that’s when I began to tell him of my sister Ariel, who is obsessed with learning natural processes, especially life processes and how she collects specimens. Her home looks like a Graveyard, well their home, Erem lives with her, but she prefers history and well rocks, oddly enough. They do not have a clean home. I think he was beginning to relax as I began to open up to him, and he began to open up as well. He told me of his children and of his siblings. His sister reminds me of my dear little firebird.
We talked through the night, and I succeeded in cleaning and stabilizing his wounds. I came to find that he had lost more blood than I’d thought possible in the conflict, and he had actually spat acid twice, something which I found was now wreaking havoc on his internal systems, Dragonborn usually only do this about 7 minutes apart, and there is a reason why. The linings of his throat were damaged and shredded; he wouldn’t fully heal for years and wouldn’t reach his old prowess without therapy and practice. I also gave him some herbs, Asphodeloides (specifically Aloe elongata), which are good for treating wounds, hell they can even be used as a remedy for hangovers.
Several guards came and escorted up to the Sultan’s courtroom. It was strange seeing it empty, as it was the Holy day all were in the temples. At his throne of silks and linens sat the Sultan. A short chubby and jolly fellow by the name of Nikola-Mohammed, he had a well-trimmed dark beard and petit spectacles. Though human he was barely past five feet tall. The sultan got to his feet and stepped forward to greet us, I bowed my head, Phalanx followed suit. The sultan had a wide smile upon his face, he took Phalanx by the hand and blessed him with the prayer of Manah. He said next, “Dear traveler I have nothing but the greatest gratitude for what you hath done for our city, you cleansed it of its scourge and had the courage to do what no man hear could ever do. We thank you.”
The Sultan spoke with the Paladin for the next three hours before dropping the coming bomb. The Sultan told his men to give the Paladin some supplies and to return his equipment. Phalanx who feared he would be put to death was surprised with all of this. The Sultan told him that even though he did Zarathustra a great favor, he had slain many in the city limits, out in the Courtyard no less, under the statue of great Manah. The City was afraid of the great warrior. The Sultan told him that he would be given everything he needs to make his way west, away from the trade-city which sits across the Strait. The Sultan told him that the courts had decreed that Phalanx will be exiled from Zarathustra, never allowed to return, not even to pass through to the Eastern lands. If he would return, he would be imprisoned.
I led Phalanx to the Western Gates, and bid him farewell. He took a wagon with the body of his mate inside and a pack over his shoulder. He called out a solemn goodbye before turning away. I pray that he never has to come back, for his own sake.

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BACKSTORY - Aryawwn Casalee

Father and Mother married. I’ve been told it was a magical ceremony in the most dispassionate of tones. The region was far too unstable, rebellions and marauders and people doing whatever they could to get by, and Mother’s hand surely meant an alliance. An alliance meant protection, for all her people, with all his army. The clan was far better off than even the city after that. Father loved her. She appreciated his devotion. Less than two years later, I came to be.
Trestin was born to Mother’s dearest companion a few months before, afflicted beyond any medic’s understanding. He was supposed to die by the time I was born. He was chosen.
I grew up in a palace, regularly visiting the clan for lessons. Father wanted to raise an able heir. Mother wanted to raise a true elf, for me to remain sharp, moral, and skilled. Seeing no conflict, they both resolved to have their way. I was heavily indoctrinated among the Order. As a baseline upbringing, there were so many of us, but our numbers gradually dwindled, and classes merged between rings.
My elven friends became fewer and fewer as I grew older, my peers in the village seeing me as the half-human with a life alien to them as our lessons moved near exclusively behind the walls. There were few children behind those walls. The only exception was Trestin, raised in the palace alongside me. He constantly found his way into the libraries where Atreus practically adopted him, his father constantly by Mother’s side, his mother having died in childbirth. The old mage taught him every incantation he knew, and Trestin’s brilliant aptitude never disappointed. He and I were to be together forever, the next duo to head the state.
The Order was different. “A bridge for the divine” I believe was Farren’s exact wording. Its reach was all-encompassing, and its authority absolute. As we progressed, we became a stranger and stranger collection of unpredictable specialists. I met a half-elf boy from the outer ring, Poswi, with the most devilishly cunning schemes and a seductively smooth tongue. I’ve no idea how he got to be one among us from such a vulgar status, but it was obvious he had lived through something unimaginable out there – it was haunting. We were considered the elite. There were maybe a score of us under legal maturity sealed within the walls.
It was strict discipline and our lives were undoubtedly devout, but as years progressed, it seemed as though our duty shifted towards playing god. Alongside service and dedication, much turned to political tactics. To those in power, politics means something much more simple than to those not. It’s all about retaining power, keeping your people alive and in line. Their aid and prosperity would be contingent upon their submission. We were commanders, even trained to wield the army. With near absolute control of the city’s resources, we practically chose who lived and who died – even more true for those of us who healed. Poswi had issues here.
As I grew older, I saw less and less of Mother. I was indeed excelling, but not so as to make her proud. She seemed to cease to regard me as her precious creation, more so the embodiment of her debt. It was never my clan, never even ours, always hers. Trestin appeared to hear more of her than me. I must have been sixteen when she died. Father’s devotion to protecting the clan’s well-being waned away shortly after she passed.
I must have been eighteen when he “died.” Poswi, that is. I’ve seen him since, though neither of us would dare admit it. He heads the rebellions. He leads the sewer thugs. He betrayed the Order, so they “killed” him to all of us. With years of his leaking and slow, steady theft, he militarized enough of the outer rings to create a formidable enough force that, only a year later, the clan took their side and declared war with them against Father’s regime and the inner rings. Trestin and I remained on the inside, privy to the most sensitive information, scrutinized as though we were outsiders, until I was granted command of the healing regiment. It went south from there. I saw Poswi again. The line between friends and enemies blurs far too quickly. His glimmering blade is stained red with blood I’ll never forget.

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BACKSTORY - Sydienne Terragon
By Melora's Mercy

My mother was an elf and my father was human. Needless to say, problems arose as a result of this situation. Not immediately of course. But they came with time. You see, my father was neither a very tolerant man, nor a very tolerable one. He was, however, well respected and even admired for his work in his trade. He was a captain of the seas and his name was Marrok Terragon. My mother, on the other hand, was a gentle soul, a tender of the earth. Her name was Lilitha Sylvanor. She was beautiful – or had been. Something in her was broken, a consequence of the past. Back then, she wore her long willowy hair with silver streaks and her skin, sallow. ‘Twas that time in our lives when she reminded me of a wilting flower… From her I learned the secrets of the earth – singing to the growing things, correct form and control of a scythe, how to weave flower crowns and baskets of palm leaves. Because of her I wanted to learn more. Worship was not a part of my upbringing – both my parents fell out of their religions – so I went out in search of a deity I could properly serve. I found my faith in the goddess Melora. Just as my new beliefs reached a moment of truth, I discovered my father’s alcoholism and piracy, as well as my mother’s forced union with him. The next morning he was gone. For a few years my mother grieved, more out of internal conflict than love, but she became truly happy again with time; I, however, could not comprehend the actions of my father. Leaving my home, as well as my goddess, I went out in search of myself. At some point, my pace slowed. It was in the heart of the Upperdark where I quit. I just sat and stared for nigh on a decade before a traveler found me, frozen in external and internal darkness. He hefted me onto his steed and swiftly presented me to the light of the sun. It was like I was born anew. The sun, such a great spectacle: a virgin drop of honey, a pure golden coin. This time I stared in wonder, but when the man asked me about food I responded prolifically, We sat by a fire during the night; I sang to thank the earth for providing for us, and provided for it in return. The man hummed to catch my attention. I looked at him, still grinning when he told me the news. About a year or two ago, my father died in a prison. Slowly my face fell, but I made no sound or reply. Slipping a hand out of his breast pocket, the man revealed a letter my father had written me before his death. The contents I will not tell, but upon its receipt, I now know my duty. I, Sydienne Terragon, half-elf druid, wanderer and devout follower of Melora, carry my father’s letter by my heart to this day.

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Farewell Convention
Backstory: Phalanx Fearstone

Phalanx returned to the citadel of Zarathustra. He approached the doors and walked into the main yard, full of bounty hunters and crooks. They all stared at him, sizing him up – who was this fellow? Why is he here? Is he Phalanx?

One of the brigands blew a horn. Gilkaad walked into the yard, dragging Perth with him.

“Phalanx, you have come after all.”

“It would be ridiculous if I did not come to save my wife.”

“Considering that you have ruined my business and fun, that will be the least of your concerns.” sprayed Gilkaad.

“Madness. That is your reason for this charade?”

“No. It is for the sake of those whose ruins and curses I obtained.”

“What? What do you mean!?”

“You would not understand. I don’t expect you to. Farewell, paladin.” He then ordered two hunters, “Hold Phalanx down. Kill his wife. Then him.”

He began to bellow – rumors have it that it could be heard from across the citadel. Phalanx pushed away the two hunters – his blood boiled. Two more lept towards Perth as Gilkaad stood there shocked as did 10 other hunters. The plated Dragonborn breathed in and let loose a surge of acid at the two men charging her, they melted into dust – Perth quickly began to work her way out of chains at this point. Phalanx drew his sword and readied his shield. The men charged at him, he smashed three with his shield and lopped of two men’s heads. A thrown shield from the dragon, a broken neck of one unfortunate fool. A primed javelin in his now-empty offhand. Their charge was broken, it was Phalanx’s turn. He let loose another wave of acid, followed by a flurry of spear thrusts and sword swings. A shower of blood and gore now graced the field.

It was now that Gilkaad had managed to snap back to reality and began to curse Perth. She had now broken free and was in the process of reducing some of the hunters to piles of ash in a grand conflagration. He saw it happening, bellowed louder, and hastened the assault. Phalanx drove three men together and impaled them all through their throats. The shower of blood blossomed into a storm as the Dragonborn began to throw javelins at the leftover poor fools. Ten consecutively fall to the blade swings while another four fell to thrown javelins. His sword slipped away from him somewhere in the fray – Fists were just as lethal at this point… he wanted all of them to die. He wanted them away from Perth.
Gilkaad had successfully manipulate Perth with curses. Phalanx saw this. No mercy left for Gilkaad. Phalanx charged at him with no knowledge of what was to happen next.
Perth leapt in front of him, blocking his strike. Phalanx’s hand pierced through her body.
Phalanx snapped back to reality, pulled his arm out and cradled Perth.
She was dying, Phalanx killed Perth. She smiled at him, saying:

“It was not your fault…”

That face… As much as he would love to believe that face…he knew that he was the center of this conflict.
The cursed, controlling runes faded from her as did her life. Gilkaad charged at the, as he thought, broken dragon with his mace.
Phalanx grabbed his neck, bellowing louder than imaginable. Travelers made mention of how they heard the roar of a dragon across the mountain range. Phalanx, broken? Hardly. There was no time for sorrow in his mind. He had two jobs to do: protect the path of righteousness, and, at this moment, kill the bastard who shattered his normal life waiting for his return from exile.

Gilkaad’s pathetic screaming and begging for life hollowly resounded in Phalanx’s ears. The screaming intensified. as Phalanx began tearing the sad excuse for a man in half.
Then there was silence as Phalanx stumbled away slowly, carrying Perth, draped in his white cloak, now stained crimson with the blood of his foes and wife.

*The 21st Day – The Time of Harvests – The 3rd Week of Exile
I’ve buried my wife. My children will know soon – I’ve sent a message to the high elder.
I’m sorry.

*The 1st Day – The Time of Cool Winds – The 3rd Week of Exile
Aye, I’m still alive. I have not given up yet. I’ve been retraining my breath where I could, it feels much easier than the past few days. I’ll be moving through the mountains by Bern shortly. I need to refocus to my previous destination – Fallcrest. I can at least begin my path to redemption there. I passed a trader coming from Bern. He recognized me and thanked me for quelling the riotous mercenaries – they actually did not sack his stand as I interrupted Riyil’s shenanigans right as he arrived at the trader’s stall. I feel slightly better now, something good among this darkness. He understood my position in Bern, and gave me some of the finest ale from the Scorching Spirit, the finest of Dragonborn ale brewers, as a small token of appreciation and consolation – freshly made by Jikal.

To the life I have known and continue to cherish. (A single drop of ale can be seen dried on this page)
I’ll save as much of this as I can.
Loyalties
Phalanx

*The 5th Day – The Time of Cool Winds – The Third Week of Exile
I’ve been traveling with the merchant as he makes his way north to Fallcrest. I’ve taken refuge with the merchant in a nearby cave. Believe it or not, I ran into others on this lonesome path through the mountains. A Tiefling was sprawled over the ground. I saw a Halfling crawling on the rocks above, reaching for the Tiefling’s rucksack. For some reason, the guards at Zarathustra gave me a horseshoe – I found a use for it today.
Thwap. I managed to hit the Halfling in the temple – he will not be standing up for a few hours. Stealing from others in a rather obviously bad way and getting hit – sounds like my younger brother.
Loyalties
Phalanx

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The Exiled
Backstory: Phalanx Fearstone

Phalanx, an officer in the army, walked through his home, the home of the Dragonborn, Bern while snapping his fingers.

It was the last day of the second week during the time of Gragrothnir, the festival to honor the dragons past who have solved issues things non-violently.

The Dragonborn were hosting many different visitors, including Tieflings, Halflings, and Elves of all kinds. It is custom during this time for the Dragonborn to adopt non-violence for two out of the three weeks out of honor, mercenaries would be hired during this time to compensate for the lack of normal guards. To enforce these rules, there would be a council held by the elders to determine an “Honor Guard,” consisting of a third of the original guard – the mercenaries would be replacing the other two-thirds of the guard..They would enforce the law if necessary. Otherwise they would bring offenders to the elders for judgement.
It may seem hypocritical, but for the most part, it worked. There were no issues with the Honor Guard at all, and in fact, many of the Dragonborn liked the idea.

While walking through Bern, Phalanx, even though he is not the best at it, noticed that a group of the hired mercenaries were becoming rowdy. They became aggressive towards other patrons at the shops and taverns they passed through – stealing goods, vandalism, harassment, you name it. The mercenaries eventually started a small riot. Some mercenaries joined the charade, others tried (and failed) to calm down their comrades, while others slinked into the shadows in shame through association.
Phalanx was becoming tired of all of this crude behavior in his hometown. He did not want the atmosphere nor the mood of his Riiae and other guests to be ruined by a bunch of hooligans. He approached them.

“Good sirs, you are guests in our hometown. I ask you to please be respectful to us and our land,” Phalanx politely asked.

“HAH! This may be your hometown, but we are only the hired grunts, and the pay is not cutting it anymore!” yelled one of them.

“How is our payment not generous enough? We pay each of you 200 gold pieces for your service for only two weeks!” Phalanx retorted.

“How could we not take part in these festivities to the fullest when they are right here?! This festival is just too good to pass up!” yelled another mercenary.

“We hired you for a rather important task, but we did not say that you cannot enjoy the festivities – you just have to remember that you have an overall obligation to protect, not to party.”

“Yerrright!” slurred one drunkenly. “We willll do whattt weeee waaaaaaant!”

“Fine. If that’s what you want, I will not ask anymore. I am ordering you to know your place, soldiers – get back to work!” bellowed Phalanx.

“Hah, this lizard thinks he can order us, the Hraltin Blades, around!” yelled Rilyil, the leader of this pack of hooligan mercenaries.

“I think I can considering that Bern has HIRED YOUR ASSES TO DO WORK FOR US, Rilyil.”

“No waaay in Helllll are we doing anything else!” the same drunkard bellowed.

“Alright boys,” the leader of the group of hoodlums yelled, “raid this place and have a good time! We are no longer employed by these stinkin’ lizards!”

“First off, is lizard really the best you could do? Second, you are a fool for turning your weapons against us. This decision is against your favor. If you continue through with your plan, I will personally ‘fire’ you from this position.” Phalanx snarkily replied.

“Your custom of non-violence is definitely in our favor tonight! We know how wealthy this city is and how much the festivities have to offer! That was the only reason why most of us took this job! On top of that because we are your defenses, we can do whatever we want and you can’t do shit about it.”

“Have you no sense of honor?!” Yelled a mercenary that sided with Phalanx. “We may work for money and the festivities, but at the same time many of us appreciate how the mighty Dragonborn ask us for help. They may be strong, but that shows how much trust they wish to put in us. when they hire us!

“I thank you for your support, friend. But please do not dirty your hands with this matter. Allow me.” Phalanx said.

A voice suddenly boomed from behind him: It was one of the honor guard, Sit’Fur.
“You must not do that, Phalanx! You know the ramifications of breaking the non-violence oath during Gragrothnir!”

“I do know, Sit’Fur.”

Phalanx began charging at the group of mercenaries. They were not expecting one of the Dragonborn to actually break the oath. Other mercenaries and Honor Guard tried to support Phalanx, but he pushed them back, saying:

“No! Your names have not been sullied! Do not waste your time with these fools who are nothing more than mere brigands!”

An hour passed. Phalanx had managed to quell the riot by himself. He was taken into custody by the Honor Guard after the dust had settled.

“Phalanx,” the voice of one of the elders boomed, “you have broken our honored oath. WHAT SAY YOU?”

“I was protecting the oath of others and the honor of those who did not side with those hooligans.”

“I can see that, Phalanx, and it is admirable that you care for others in that way, To live and die for others is the way of the Paladin, and we have taught you well However, you know the consequences.”

“I do.”

“This is the one tradition we cannot break Phalanx. My deepest apologies – you have done nothing wrong.”

‘I recognize this, and you do not need to apologize, elder, I understand.” He spoke bitterly.

The next day, Phalanx was given armor, weapons, and basic supplies, and was exiled from Bern.. Three weeks later, he was seen carrying an unconscious Halfling and a drunk Tiefling away from the direction of Bern – the smell of Dragonborn ale lingered around them, as the rumors say.

*The 10th day – The Time of Harvests – The First Week of Exile
I’ve barely made it about halfway through Bern. Zarathustra is to the East, but I cannot go there. There are rumors of headhunters spearheading an expedition for an exile, namely me, there. I may not have an official bounty on my head, but there are a few who would prefer if it were on a pike. I best keep moving after this break if I want to pass the group before the week ends.
I will see if I can make it to the base of the mountain range without issue. If I can, I’ll move to Fallcrest, in the far southwest. I can blend in with the crowd and start over, yet I have my honor as paladin – I’ll probably be best suited for cathedral guard at best. Aye, but who knows? Life is always unpredictable.

Loyalties
Phalanx

*The 4th Day – The Time of Harvests – The 1st Week of Exile
There was a change of plans. I must make my way to Zarathustra. The hunting party has shifted to the North. I cannot escape that way for now – I must hide in plain sight. There are plenty of my Riiae that pass through. Some even go there for training – I could probably make the excuse that I am an instructor.

Loyalties
Phalanx

*The 14th Day – The Time of Harvests – The 2nd Week of Exile
I’ve managed to scrape by living on the bare essentials. My coin runs low, and I cannot find a job. I best be readying to move North towards Fallcrest. The whisperings of the street tell me that the bounty hunters are heading towards Bern now. Some other whisperings have me uneasy, I hope they are only rumors.

Loyalties
Phalanx

*The 18th Day – The Time of Harvests – The Second Week of Exile
I’ve made camp in a small cave on the outskirts of Zarathustra. I hoped that those rumors were false, and I was sorely disappointed. The bounty hunters sent a small squad to Bern – they have taken my wife hostage; she had managed to get our children to the safety of the elders before they caught her. As they left, they threw a message for me: “Gilkaad.” A messenger from Bern tracked me down and told me this as soon as this happened – such expediency for my sake, an exile.
I have to return to the main citadel of Zarathustra, where “Ser” Gilkaad awaits. I use Ser loosely here – only in title alone is he a Ser.
The only enemy I have ever made, Gilkaad used to deal in trafficking of all people to satisfy his desire for arcane runes and curses to test out on those he considered lesser (which was almost everyone). A squad of my Riiae and I dismantled that operation very publicly, to put it nicely. Yet, with his status and wealth, he walked away scot-free. Now here he is again, trying to move people around for his benefit. He won’t harm Perth, unless he has a death wish.
Loyalties
Phalanx

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