The Falling Tide
A fun loving halfling, with a serious quest
I(can’t remember his name) was born and raised in a medium village1) _____________ . I lived with my mother(Mara), father(cirrus), and my older brother(Jaufrey) and sister(Anafa). My mother was a tanner, and helped in the leather factory, my father was a retired Tunnel Stalker, now tending the fields. Anafa would help around the house and in the field. Jaufrey was a high ranking Tunnel Stalker. The Tunnel Stalkers are the most famous Halfling mercenary group, and are operated out of the village 1)_________. The tunnel stalkers were known for their ability to go where the taller races couldn’t go, and to eradicate the irksome races that lived in those tunnels(mostly goblins, kobold, and the like).
I spent my youth the way most young Halflings in 1)______ did, playing and training to sometime join the elite ranks of the tunnel stalkers. My older brother would fence and wrestle with me, and my older sister would let me come around when the merchants were in town. I would watch her haggle with dwarves and gnomes over the goods in Lady Tinsilies shop, where I was able to pick up most of their languages. When I could go away in my free time, I loved to go down to the river and play around in it, or climb into the giant oak that grew over the river and sit in the branches for hours, listening to the water. Up there I would day dream about my great fights and conquests, how I would rescue maidens and become greater in legend than my father was, or my brother who was quickly ascending the ranks was sure to be.
When I was twelve, a group of angry kobolds(the oracle told us they were angry for all the tunnel raids against their kind) moved in to the nearby complex of 2_____. A town meeting was called, and all the remaining tunnel stalkers attended the meeting. A large group of the tunnel stalkers were off in a distant land fighting a swarm of troglodytes. The oracle said the kobolds were the first of many, a great calling that two rival kobold shamans, who aligned for the destruction of 1)______, put out to draw kobolds from across the lands. They has somehow gotten word that most of the tunnel stalkers were dispatched across the land, and wanted to damage them most were it hurt. She explained that the only to stop the call was to kill the 2 shamans, remove their staff, and bring it back to her for dispelling. The remaining tunnel stalkers agreed to set out immediately for 2____.
I ran up to Jaufrey as he was packing up to leave and told him I was to go with them. He laughed and rubbing my head explained that I was too young, and that my time would come. Alas that I would have listened to him, but I did not. After the Tunnel Stalkers made their way up to the caves, I stole a dagger from baker Phili, and strutted off after them, knowing that this was my moment of glory. As I approached the cave, I could tell the fighting had already begun. I slowly started to make my way through and then the sounds of battle were getting louder. I could tell that the tunnel stalkers were being driven back, so I hid in an alcove and poised to strike(ready action;). I sat there and finally a Halfling got was driven back, and then a goblin. I jumped out right at the creatures throat to make a sneak attack, and looked up in astonishment as I realized I had cut out Jaufreys jugular. I still remember the look of horror in his eyes as he looked down at me with that questioning gaze, and then closed his eyes for the last time. I picked up the magic short sword he carried “Small Might” and ran back out of the cave, killing every kobold in my way. As I exited and my blood lust came down I burst in to tears and ran off to my favorite tree. I ran down and climbed up it crying my eyes out. I clutched “small might” in my hands and continued sobbing, realizing how stupid I had been. The blade started singing to me at that point and it cheered me up slightly. At that it burst in to a brilliant blue light, and I remember nothing of the rest of that evening.
I was awoken the next morning to me getting torn out of the tree and “small might” getting torn from my still clutching hand. They tore me to the ground and an angry mob gathered around me. They tore my shirt off my back and started whipping me with a nine-tails. It stung horribly, and when I cried no tears came out. I heard them calling for a lynching or a stoning and the mob shouted out. Mayor Pidelfoot came out and screamed to the crowd “what do we with traitorous vermin kin-slayer” and the crowd responded “kill them”. At that point my mother pushed through the crowd coming to me wrapping her arms around me, stopping the whipping momentarily. She begged for my life, explaining how it must have been an accident. I remember very little of what happened next, through the fatigue, the crying and the pain I slumped over, and though conscious, I was in such a state that very little was apparent to me. I started coming around as the gathering came to an end. My mother and sister both came up to me crying and hugging me. My father was nowhere to be seen- I assume now he left with the crowd disgraced. I found out that my mother and sister had sold themselves for 40 years of indentured servitude for my life. I had been exiled as a result, and was never to return to 1)_____ on notice of death. I was also marked as a kin-slayer for life. I cried and we all hugged. Pidelfoot said “slaves, it is time to come back with me” and they started to leave. I quickly asked my mother what had happened to “small might” and she said the mayor had confiscated it. I sank to my knees and cried after all I had done. I got the heirloom that had been in my family for generations taken, my mother and sister were slaves, and I had killed my own brother. I passed out from the sheer exhaustion of it all.
I awoke late in the afternoon, throat parched, eyes dry and ragged from my ordeal. I pulled myself up slowly took in the shock of everything that had happened. I looked around, thinking about what I knew. I had no idea where any other town or village was, and the only road I knew of I would have to go through 1)______ to get too. I looked around and decided to cross the river into the forest. I knew it was relatively safe and that there were a clan of elves friendly to my people living there. I didn’t see any other options at this point. Broken and bloodied I barely managed to swim the river, and make my way for the woods. I made it to the forest as the sun was descending, and then realized how hungry I was. It had been nearly a day since I ate(and not knowing anything of hunger at this time, growing up in a Halfling village with 8 meals a day) felt like I just couldn’t carry on. I slumped down against a tree in the shade and willed myself asleep.
I awoke sometime during the night, a cold chill running up my spine, and I knew I was in danger. I got up and started running when I heard the cry of a hyena. I assumed that gnolls were pursuing me, probably as a slave, or worse a meal, and I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, knowing they were stronger and faster than me, and that it was hopeless for me to continue. I ran and ran and ear shattering howling got deadly close. It was as though they were playing with me. I heard a snarl right behind me, and knew my end was at hand. I kept running and heard a thump and a cry from that area. I didn’t question it, I just kept running. The pain of fatigue shot through my body as I heard more and more creatures fall, and blades starting to clash. I didn’t question my luck, and didn’t know if my saviors were worse than pursuers, so I kept running, until someone grabbed me up in their arms. I struggled for a few seconds, and passed out from exhaustion as the adrenaline left my body.
When I came too I was in a small tree house with a young Elvin girl staring down at me, rubbing a warm cloth across my face. This was like no tree house I had seen before. It was grown from the tree, a natural extension of the oak it grew from. The girl started yelling in a language that was alien to me. Two more older(hard to tell with them folk though) elves, a male and female, came in and said something to me in Elvin, to which I shook my head, and responded in Halfling that I didn’t understand. The male said in common tongue " can you understand me now" and I responded that I could. They asked how I was feeling, and I broke down into tears and told them I was hungry. They went and returned with some hot soup for me. I ate it down and asked for more. Looking shocked they sent the little girl to get me more, still prying into me about how I had gotten there. I shrugged it off for the time and continued to eat. Later, as I was feeling stable the husband, Talathel, took me for a walk on the bridges traversing the forest top through which the village lay, and said that a dark cloud followed me, and that I must get off my chest what was bothering me. After a little back and forth, I broke down and told him the entire story, of how I was a kin-slayer now, killed my brother, got my families heirloom confiscated, and gotten my family enslaved. He looked down at me with pity and told me I would have to speak to the elder and the oracle in the morning. I was shaking, but he was kind to me. Later that night I heard Talathel and Silarian arguing in Elvin(though I don’t know why they bothered, it was obviously about me staying there) when their daughter broke in and started yelling at Silarian. I become sad that I was causing so much pain for another family, and knew I would be exiled again. The arguing quickly stopped after that.
The next morning I went to the Elders home, A grand home that went the whole length of an ancient redwood. It was beautiful inside. First Talathel lead me to the elder who then listened to my story. His look grew dour as I told the story. He immediately had Talathel lead me to the oracles room. It was a grand room, and even with no knowledge of magic I knew that it was coming from everywhere there. The oracle came out, a beautiful woman with a grace to her that was beyond words, and she lead me over to her scrying device. Talathel quickly left and the oracle probed me, and made me put a drop of blood in to a cauldron that she had cooked up. She looked in and got a look of amazement, but when I pried her she said nothing. I was lead back in front of the elder with the oracle in tow, and they spoke at length for a while, obviously arguing though it was quiet and not angry. The elder called Talathel back and spoke to him in elvish. Talathel face grew dim, but he shook his head in understanding, a look like he was sad for something that has not happened yet. The elder then asked him in the common tongue if he would take me in as part of his household. Talathel agreed and we left to my new home.
That first year I spent a lot of time away from my new home. Talathel was a ranger, and would take me with him on all of his journeys, watching me very closely as if he was studying me, and judging my merit. He taught me how to build traps in the woods to catch small game, and for some of the nastier beasts of the wild. I had a natural knack for this and picked it up easily. I practiced with bows he would warp from wood and slings. After a while he made me a practice short sword and we would spar with those. He tried to tech me survival skills, saying that I had a long journey coming up, but I couldn’t seem to get them very well. I came to love the woods and creatures in it more, and while Talathel could speak to nature, I could never pick it up. I did manage to pick up elvish rather quickly, though I kept that a secret for a while longer. I would play with the Talathels daughter Marian when I was back in the village. She was the only child in the village, and we soon came to call each other siblings, though it seemed to make her mother cringe, she never cared.
When I was about 14 Talathel rescued a few remaining dwarves when they were close by from a pack of gnolls that had wandered to close again. The remaining dwarves started to tell him that they had heard of the prowess of Talathels people warp wood and (moon) metal, and that they had come to speak of trade. Talathel couldn’t understand them but I did, none of the remaining dwarves knew a language outside of common. I started to translate and we went to take the request to the elder. He was very skeptical and, in elvish, started telling Talathel about how a Halfling shouldn’t be telling them about trade. I burst out into full elvish, to the surprise of themselves explaining the benefit that I thought it could bring to the tribe, and how we would gather herbs, spices, weapons, and material from all across the world in 1)______ that was unavailable elsewhere. The elder burst into laughter and decided to give the head dwarf an audience. We spoke for some time, me translating for the two as they came to a trade arrangement, that I set up and arranged, and would cost me so much later on.
After this I was accepted more freely among the elves, and got to know them. Eldirlin, a sword song, took a particular affinity to me. He bade the blacksmith to forge me weapons for me of many shapes and styles, so I could train in the ways of the world. I practiced with a large assortment of weapons, but never stuck with one for too long, though I grew fond of the kukri for its unique style. I opened up to Eldirin and told him about my past. He started to tell me stories of the sword songs, and how they could make any blade sing, but with a magical blade in hand they were a force to be reckoned with. He consoled to me how I must have had a bond with “small might” as it had sung to me so freely and with so little time. It made me feel better and mad all at the same time, and he said it made me fight like a cornered chipmunk. We would spar, and I was going out less with Talathel as the village was getting used to me. When we did he would teach me the ways of stepping without breaking leaves, and sticking to the shadows so we could sneak up on small game and sling them.
The elder started taking me for walks, or in his home, and was telling me stories of great heroes of the world. It was more Elvin heroes, but he would throw in the other races as much as he could recount their tales, and how they shaped the world for the better. I never understood why, until sometime during my 15th year, the oracle took me in to her room and started asking me about legend. I told her I wanted greatness and fame. She showed me through her see stones and explained how I was born under the rare sign of “light through darkness” crossed between “world changer”. She told me that very few are destined to be great heroes or villains, but that I had the capacity for greatness in the world, for I could cut through the darkness to bring the light, or I could be consumed by the darkness around me, and either way I could make drastic changes to the face of Cairn. I was excited as I had always wanted to be a hero, but she also told me of the grave responsibility on me, because I could be consumed by the darkness, and that regardless darkness would come from me in the form of death, sometimes to those most deserving of life, but that I must always press on to correct my mistakes. She explained that they had taken me in to show me kindness, so that I could repay it to the world, but by taking me in I would bring them great victory, after tragic sorrow. I was scared, but much more cautious at the same time.
The first caravan of dwarves came in shortly after my 16th birthday, and the elder left me in charge of negotiations. I was very excited and haggled for hours of the quality and worth of trade goods. I asked about the outside world and what news there was from afar. I started to learn about other cultures, then I heard news that rocked my world. 1)_________ had been sacked. I couldn’t believe my ears. The village still stood, as the tunnel stalkers made it back in time to save part of the village. They just couldn’t hold off the onslaught without Jaufrey leading with “small might” as it wouldn’t allow another to bear its power. I was at joy at least to hear that Pidelfoot’s manor had remained protected, as I knew my family were his slaves. I spent a few evenings on the ground drinking and chatting with the dwarves and they had to get going, letting me know they would be back next year. I couldn’t wait….
So the next year my life continued as normal, the elves training me in combat, stealth, the ways of the world, righteousness and honor. I swore an oath that year that made me kinsman, and bonded me to them and the forest in spirit. I grew to respect Eldirin even more, and we became close friends as he took me deeper under his wing, teaching me to move with grace and skill as I fought. I also grew much closer to Marian, even though I quickly out grew her in maturity, I loved her more and more deeply.
Then it came, the doom(although unknowingly) into place a few years before. The dwarves came pulling their wagons fast, and the forest was shaking. We knew there was trouble approaching and prepared as quickly as we could, then saw it, a hoard of trolls chasing the wagons. The beasts had followed the dwarves and lead them right to us. All hell quickly broke loose. Dwarves and Elves were standing side by side fighting against the brute ferocity of a shared enemy. I was told to stay put, and this time I almost listened. I did listen, I just slung stones down when I had an opening, until I saw Marian on the ground, a troll rushing her. Knowing no fear I quickly changed to the kukri and readied(sound familiar) myself to take down the troll. As I lunged I missed, and fell forward, driving my blade through Marians heart. My whole world stopped again. This time I went into a fury, and fought the foes to end my life at this new travesty I had caused. I almost died but Eldirin and Talathel protected me, even as I had taken the villages only child. We fought and won, but many were hurt or killed and Eldirin was killed in an epic battle. I somehow lived and hung my head in shame as Talathel came to me. He was broken, but gentle(as much so as possible) as he led me to the elder.
The elder and oracle spoke to me and told me that I must leave now, as I had killed one of my clansmen, but explained that I was not an exile this time. I was being sent on a quest. The elves had lost 4)(______ fill in any info, a relic or something of some kind) and that is why there were no new children to the elves. They had lost it centuries ago and Talathel avoided the curse by being gone when it had taken affect, when he returned he was immediately put under the clan curse as well. They told me(as much info as you want about last known location, etc) and I was given some supplies. The oracle gave me a necklace that would grow bright at will so I would remember to always “cut the darkness”.
The next day Talathel lead me through the forest, crying some, consoling or chastising me at other times. He explained how I had to succeed, because the oracle said I was the prophesized one that could bring light to their world, but to bring I would have to take away their last glimmer of hope, and that he had always assumed it would be his daughter. He told me that he considered me a son, and how he lived among the short lived for a long time, and how hard it is to outlive everyone you love, whether disease, famine, war or old age. I felt very close to Talathel as he led me to the edge of the forest and pointed me in the direction of 5)__________ the first major city I would visit. He gave me a small bag of platinum coins and I left on my way, hugging my adoptive father tightly for the last time.
As I made my way through the days journeys I had several obstacles, both physical and mental. I came across a hill giant and had to trick him into a trap to get away, and convince a clan goblins that I was a powerful mage, and that they should leave me alone. Mentally I planned out my goals. I would start by finding information on 4)_________, and my first quest would be to return it, as I knew I had to redeem myself there. I also vowed to free my family from the clutches of Pidelfoot, most likely in the form of gold, lots of it I knew, and to retrieve my family heirlooms. I would probably have to escort them somewhere safe as well as the village would not take them in. During these travels I would inquire about the “light through darkness” and “world changer” to see what my fate was too be. Then I would work to weave a pattern of good and kindness into the soul of the realms went through. The foolish thoughts of an optimistic young adult.
Most that went out the window as I approached 5)__________. It was a giant bustling port city, and there was more going on there from several miles away than I had seen in my life. The walls were giant and beautiful, and I knew instantly that the city was my home and my friend. From bribing the guards at the gate with a silver to let in another beggar child, to the bards weaving tales, the circus, the trade I was completely taken in.
What I hadn’t realized is that the “small purse” of platinum was a fortune, more than most those people would see in their lives. I could have bought a nice house and settled down nicely in one of the slightly more slummy parts of town, but I didn’t do this. I stayed at taverns, luxurious and scummy, saw shows, bought trinkets and whores, drank till all hours at the night, escaped from thugs who at certain points realized I had a small fortune and I didn’t know what to do with it. I lived a wonderful, high life, the life of a noble brat for about 6 months, and then- I was flat broke. I was screwed I didn’t know what to do. I started to steal for food, and if got caught, I played it off as a hungry beggar “child”, and they would let me go with a warning and a slap on my rear. I sold trinkets I had purchased earlier in the year to get by when I wasn’t clever enough to think of other ways to get by. I would do some minor burglaries, stealing food and a few coins here and there to get by.
It was during a proposed burglary that I found my home for the next couple of years. At the top of this roof, I noticed in the slums, a giant slum building and was drawn there. I went off immediately forgetting my target altogether. The slums were falling down and dilapidated, although some stragglers still lived in the building, but my target was higher than that. I scaled to the top, and realized I had hit the jackpot. It was only slightly falling down up here, the whole infrastructure being reinforced by stone, and I had fast access to and from three areas of the city from this roof. It was fool proof, no one could get to me here. I could set up the perfect traps at each layer, stopping any who tried, or at least give me time to get safely away. I started to build and furnish a little home up there.
Some weeks later I was getting ready to do a burglar run on a rather nasty noble, that I had seen beat three different women, raping two of them and decided he was a prime target, as the poor had little money, and my stealing from them was financially bankrupting them. When down in an alley I heard a few men, and a lady screaming, and recognized one of the men as the said target. I want and distracted them by flinging stones with my slings, and when two of the three men came streaming out the alley I slunk down and they flew past me. I approached the young noble, who had just punched the young crying girl in the face and torn her blouse away. I ran up to him out of my mind with rage and slit his throat. I quickly looted his body, noting that the girl was also quick on the grab, and drug her though the streets quickly back to my hideaway. I could tell she was a street urchin as we approached, because she could safely climb and jump the roof tops, and even noticed one of my carefully planted traps. When we got back and I looked in her face I fell in love and awe all at one. The girl was almost the spitting image of Marian. As we got to talking and I prepared the meal I also learned her name was marigold, and I was just floored. I knew I had to have her. I told her I would sell some of the trinkets at the market tomorrow so we could eat better. She called me a fool, and told me they were too hot to sell. I didn’t understand, and Marigold started my schooling in the way of a city rogue.
Marigold taught me about fences, the thieves guild, that there were areas NOT to do business as we weren’t affiliates, low target thefts. I taught her about the world outside, the elves, dwarves, Halflings, exotic and strange creatures. I spent every waking moment courting marigold, until a few months later I bed her. After that we become very close, and she confided to me that I was the first person not to take her by force. We loved and stole together. Every now and then I would get a nagging on my conscious like there was something else I was to be doing, but I brushed it off and enjoyed the time around us. I showed marigold a life she could never dream of, because even though she had been around longer, she was not as daring as me, and I got to start showing her the finer things in life and protecting her as close as I could.
Then it happened, I had the set-up for a big score. I pulled it off too, stealing a tiara and a scepter from one of the most well protected nobles houses in the city. Even through the fence, I would make a fortune off of this one. When I was returning to my home, I noticed bodies spread out in my traps going down the building. I snuck up and heard a few men and marigold screaming. I snuck up and heard them taunting her. They were asking about me, and who we thought we were to be stealing from the nobles and so blatantly. I readied myself to pop out for an attack, when I looked around the corner and just froze. They were all surrounding her, and I couldn’t move. I slunk back and hid as Marian and Jaufreys dying looks filled my head. I was in shock, and after some hours the thugs looked around again at which time I readjusted, and tried to strike again but couldn’t. They said something about the fact that I would come for her and to leave a note. When they left I went out and the note said they were holding Marigold 6)_______ and that I must return the scepter and tiara for her safe return. I sunk down, defeated, my life rolling back on me like a tidal wave. Everything that had happened, and how I had forgot myself came to me. Then, without my will the stone of light started glowing, and I took it out and looked at it. I entered a deep meditation, remembering what the elves taught me about reverie.
Hours passed by me as the light glowed, and all of a sudden like a divine spark the light grew blindingly bright and destroyed the trinket- just at the moment that all became clear to me. This wasn’t who I was, I was a hero, and was to be a legend. I needed to sow the seeds of my destiny and make good for myself. I had things today, a family to rescue, a legacy to regain, and a people to save. This was my journey, and just the beginning of a journey that would span through the ages in myth and legend. I was to save Marigold first, and leave her, because love was not a part of my future- destiny could not be denied and I left to start my life.
Goals:(don’t have to be in this order, but this is what I’m working towards)
1) Rescue Marigold
2) Find Elvin relic 4)_____ and return it to the elves.
3) Rescue my family, retrieve “small might” and restore family honor(if possible)
Fears that must be overcome
1) Has an innate fear to attack(ruining flanking and sneak attacking for a while) around anyone he cares about. This will obviously limit my usefulness to null in combat until he can overcome it.
2) Lethargy and laziness.
3) Failure to family and friends.
1) Bring light to the world and shred the darkness.
2) Create a legendary tale the bards will sing of for centuries.