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Bastards & Broadswords Origen's D&D 5E campaign.

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Old 11-09-2013, 10:25 PM
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Origen Origen is offline
Eatin' ain't cheatin'!
 
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Default Prologue: Gronk

Your first memory is one of beauty, warmth and love. The word in Ogrish for mother is ach-ma. As everyone knows, ogre maidens are sometimes born figures of extraordinary loveliness. Your mother was one of these. You've never known who your father was. It must have been someone of power and influence, because your mother fled far into the north escaping his wealth and the assassins that followed after her. You were, and are, hideous - like most males of your race. You are strong like a storm giant. Though you have torn out the throats of your opponents with your fangs, and spit their hot blood into the screaming crowd as coins changed hands, your first memories have always been of her voice singing.

She knew songs in the Common tongue, and Elvish. Her voice was warm and flowed like a delicious summer breeze through the rooms of the small hovel in a fishing village where she finally found refuge. She made pennies through weaving. Sometimes she sang down at the tavern. She never allowed you to come, and an older woman always looked after you. When your mother returned in the morning, there was always fresh bread and hot roasted meat with potatoes.

You fished, wandered in the woods and speared a wild boar before your eleventh summer. Those memories remain among your best, and there has been many a night in the gladitorial pits when you pulled your arms around yourself, and went back to those days, and finally slept.

The assassins came with their trackers in the winter of your sixteenth summer. Returning from a hunt one evening, a deer thrown over one shoulder, you smelled their stinking tracks. Leaning into the mud, you scented death, rot, and a sickly-sweet smell like a perfume.

Leaving the deer behind, you ran like you'd never run before. The first sentry took your spear in the chest. The haft broke off and you continued past, drawing a hatchet and your great hammer. You left the hatchet behind in another sentry's face, as he choked and tried to breathe. Four more guards died with crushed skulls as you fought your way home, the battle rage seething through your veins. Your mother lay bleeding on the floor. It took only a glance to know you had moments to save her, so you scooped up her frame - so light - in your arms and ran through the woods you knew like the back of your hand. You heard the twip of arrows fired blindly in the dark and the baying dogs, and the calls of men trying to find you fell far behind the measured thud of your strong legs.

You lay her body on the top of a hill, binding her wounds and knowing it wasn't enough. No cleric of the gods came to heal her. Your prayers to Gruumsh and all the lords of battle went unheard. You built a fire to keep her warm. The wound took her in the throat, and she remained unable to speak in her last hours. But she removed a platinum amulet from her throat and tried to put the leather thong around your bullish neck. When it wouldn't fit, she almost laughed and winced and pressed the amulet into your thick, grubby fist. She was gone before morning. You burned her corpse and scattered the ashes before returning at night to the hovel where she was struck down.

Your face painted with charcoal and mud, you found the corpses of the men you slew where their bodies had fallen, their flesh rended by wolves and birds. The tracks had grown cold. But there, pinned to the door with a dart, you found the letter.

At least, that's what it appeared to be. You've seen the strange marks on thin sheets of parchment or finely shaven lamb's skin. But despite your mother's best attempts, you've never understood them. It's just another kind of magic to you. Something you don't understand.

The home of the hedge wizard was three days of hard running to the south. He took the single silver coin and the handful of coppers, and leaned over the paper which smelled of sickly perfume with his reading crystal, and read these words:

"May all who harbor fugitives of my Master, the Emperor Excelsior Dragor, likewise meet their doom. Vengeance is mine, and the bounty of the hunt continues."

The letter is signed with three characters in a language the hedge wizard didn't recognize. He shook his head, squinting, and thrust the paper back into your hand.

"It's probably a name," he said. "Now leave me. You've paid for my wine for many days to come."

[NOTE: There will technically be two Gronks.]
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"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." - Chaucer

“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” - John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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Last edited by Origen; 11-09-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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