Author Topic: Background Stories  (Read 1526 times)


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Background Stories
« on: 17:34, Monday 10 May, 2010. »
This is the background storie of Grom, the the loyal Mohenna cleric and half orc.

According to the people who brought me up, my mother gave me the name Grom. The orcish word for thunder, and a curious choice given that, what seems to be most likely, she was raped and impregnated by an orc. Maybe I am even named after him, my “father”, who knows.

I was not born in the best of times, the land was torn by war, and my mother’s tale was one shared by many women of that era. Some cleric told me once that she was a mercenary, and when I was about one year, she came to the temple and begged for guidance to execute her revenge. Apparently, her wish was granted, and Mohenna gave her the strength to seek out my father and kill him. She never came back though.

She left me at the temple, to be raised by the clerics. If that was some kind of sacrifice, or rather a way to get rid of her burden is not clear to me. She might have hoped that I would be well cared for in this way. Given the time, I probably got a better upbringing than most people; regular leftovers from the kitchen, a blanket and a place near the kitchen stove to sleep at, and a proper introduction to discipline and obedience. The cook always said that he had to beat me twice as hard when I misbehaved or was to slow on the intake, since my orcish skin was so thick that I would not feel anything otherwise. But Master Breakwater was not a bad man, and he taught me two things. To take abuse with humility and to follow orders swiftly. If you are a good worker, no one will beat you to death.

This might not seem like a valuable lesson, but it might have saved my life. In proximity of the temple lived two other halforcs; Torak and Prot, both a year older than me. And even though our characters where quite different, the common rejection we felt from the others made us bond. But when we got older the teasing would get worse, and when we were in our teens both of them would get into fights over insults regularly. I got beaten up once or twice as well, being neither that strong nor that fast. And once I got home I would get another from Master Breakwater for getting myself in a mess and not being able to work properly tomorrow. He told me that I should just walk away; there was no honour of mine that needed defending. Well, that lesson stuck, much to the disdain of Torak and Prot. After I had “betrayed” them once too often, our friendship ended. A few years later they got into a fight over a girl, and things got ugly. Torak put out the eye of a carpenter boy in a fight, and Prot was later accused of raping the girl. Their fame as local bruisers turned the whole thing into a drumhead case, and they were both send to some labour camp in the forests.

When I got into my teens I had grown to considerable size, so my helping in the kitchen had become rather unpractical. Master Breakwater replaced me with a new young orphan girl, and the temple was looking for a new task for me. I probably would have been old enough to be left to my own at that point, but since I have grown to more than six food high, one of the clerics suggested that I might be put to good work in the library. A remarkable place filled with a number of wondrous books, a lot of books, and since the place devoted to the library was in a small but very high place, they had been stacked up on boards and shelves, all the way to the ceiling. Brother Magnusson, who was in charge of the library, was getting rather old, and the tiny latter he used had slipped twice already. So it was decided that I could do the climbing in the future, it was either that, or buying a better ladder.     

Offline Aunib

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  • Put your arms around my soul and take it dancing
Re: Background Stories - Sabine
« Reply #1 on: 00:38, Thursday 27 May, 2010. »
Stephanie Zauberei was born in the spring of 1271, the third child of Ralla, chief Magi to the house of Vermögen.  That single piece of luck meant she was raised in the idyllic surrounds of the Vermögen family estates.  Technically not of noble blood, her father’s position and standing, then latterly her good looks and charm gave her access to a life style almost all would envy.  Playing with princes through vast stately homes, riding with knights across landscaped estates, sauntering across manicured lawns with Viscountess, feasting with the rich and powerful as the Vermögen family cemented their position as a faction on the rise with Fürst Vermögen’s marriage to the King’s cousin.
   OK there was the work side to her life.  It had become apparent at a very young age that Stephanie was the most magically inclined of Ralla’s 5 children.  Initially she just attended basic tuition with other girls of a similar age, but was soon studying with the boys and then one on one with personal tutors paid to gave her the grounding her father though appropriate for someone who could follow in his footsteps.
   Many a night she studied late into the night as her father pushed her life further and further down an arcane route.  In some ways she resented it, but mostly she just loved gaining the knowledge and the power that it brought.  Others might be learning to sew or dance or swing a sword, whatever.  She was learning how to alter reality.  And time could always be found for the riding and the sauntering and the intrigue.  Oh the intrigue.  Who had smiled at whom, who had slighted whom, who had commented about who having smiled at whom thereby slighting whom else.  And of course who had met whom at the pavilion down by the glade where the two steams meet. 
   Oh that, that was Stephanie who was sneaking away down to the glade and his name was Hugo.  He wasn’t the most handsome of the men who courted her or the most charming, but he was kind and pleasant and sort of shy.  She felt like more than just another conquest when she was with him, she felt she mattered and she felt happy.
   Neither family was initially happy with the match.  Marriage would detract from Stephanie’s study and her continuing arcane progression in the eyes of her father, and marriage to a commoner (no matter how powerful and connected her father) wasn’t what the Gottlieb family had planned for Hugo.  It took much time and perseverance to persuade both parties that this match up was beneficial, but Zauberei nobility and a link to both arcane power and the Vermögen house eventually led to wedding chants.
   I can picture it even now.  After everything that’s happened since, I can still picture, with crystal clarity, the blue of the sky and the splashes of colour from the newly blossomed flowers that lay all around their spring wedding.  It was a beautiful day and Hugo had never looked more handsome then when he escorted Stephanie through the garlanded arch, while the ritual chants echoed around the forest.  Such a wonderful day, I felt like I’d been enchanted, I felt like I’d been blessed.
Hugo and Stephanie settled down into wedded bliss.  While incomparable to the Vermögen estates of her youth (which were only a day’s ride way), the Gottlieb holdings were still extensive and they had an out-building/mansion/hovel (depending on your perspective) to themselves (themselves still including several servants of course).  Life drifted.  Estates were managed, sort of, studies went un-studied, and parties were attended.  They loved each other and things were idyllic……Happiness.      

Invasion………..Such a simple word, but how it changed everything.  They’d not been paying attention to the current politics, the threats, the demands, the intrigue, but it impacted anyway.  Troops were summoned, armies raised as XXXX marched into our country.  Hugo led a unit of locally raised militia and marched off to support the main army.  He was gone for nearly 2 months as the army had been brought together, then marched and counter marched before clashing with XXXX’s army near to the crescent valley forks.
Hugo returned.  Our army had been broken, the right wing collapsed, his unit surrounded, slaughtered.  He’d managed to cut his way free and escape before riding for home, that’s what he told Stephanie anyway.  She had her doubts, it didn’t matter.  They were together again and life almost returned to normal.  Almost normal, aside from the slight tension in the house, a nervousness of what the future would hold, which hadn’t been there before.  That and of course the fact that everyone in the local village was mourning, but it was easy to ignore that in Stephanie’s pretend happy idyllic isolated bubble.
News started to filter through of those killed in the battle, the flower of the nobility had perished in one battle, the king toppled, his sons perished.  Surely that would be enough.  XXXX would rule, there would be a price to pay, but things would return to normal now surely?  Stephanie and Hugo clung to this hope, even as more news filtered through of massacres.  Whole villages burnt to the ground, 1 in 10 killed.  1 in 10, those were the figures that kept being mentioned again and again. 
They knew they’d be visited, they could have fled.  But why flee, they’d done nothing wrong.  They’d be taxes, they’d be recompense, but they’d be ok.  The rumours had to be exaggerations didn’t they, no one would decimate an entire population.  Why lay waste indiscriminately?  XXXX would want things managed, estates controlled, taxes paid, how would chaos aid them?  Then THEY visited, some 5 weeks after the battle.  Arras’s 2nd Lancers. 20 men under the command of Jean Lefebvre and his sergeants.  She welcomed them all into their home.  Wined them, fed them, tried to make small talk and enquire about XXXX, but every conversation was twisted away from the neutral territory she craved.  They wanted to know where the heir was.  They called Hugo a coward, said that he had fled from the battle, how he had left his men and how his men had died beneath their lances.  Jean kept mentioning how he remembered Stephanie from some feast 4 years before, but she couldn’t remember him at the time and now we can’t forget him.
It was near to the darkest hour when violence flared.  1, then 2 then 20 drunk men drawing weapons.  Tables overturned, ornaments smashed, servants killed, Hugo held.  He looked so pitiful, pleading for his life and Stephanie felt so helpless watching him do so.  She’d fought and hurt two of them badly, but there were far too many and she was knocked senseless before being tied and gagged.  The standard way to neutralise arcane spell casters.

Several hours later as the first light of dawn started to colour the horizon they rode away, leaving her for dead. 
And in some respects they were right.  I mean physically she survived and crawled on bloodied hands and knees to her husband’s broken body, but Stephanie’s life was over.  She did die that day and I was born.  It was me who buried Hugo’s body, me who buried Al, me who screamed with the pain of broken bones, pain of thirst, pain of what they’d done, as I pulled myself to the well.
The transition wasn’t instant.  It took at least a year before I was fully Sabine, completely myself.  It was in that first year that I still had hopes of returning to the life I once had.  A life of blue skies and happy smiles, Stephanie’s life, but that couldn’t happen, no matter what I did.  Too much had changed, too many people killed, there was nothing left of what once was.  House Vermögen and House Zauberei were no more.  My father dead, my brothers presumed so too.  Nobility meant nothing anymore, all that mattered was the money you carried and the power you commanded.
And so 15 years on, I live my life.  Power; be it arcane, financial or physical is everything.  Don’t assume things will be OK, they won’t.  Don’t expect positive things to happen, they only will if you make them happen.  If something gets in the way of what you want, make it move out of the way, it doesn’t matter how.   Our country is broken, everyone can see that and we need to drive these invaders out.  But I can’t do that without resources, without power, without command. 
My power base is growing.  My current group numbers 14.  Not many, but all of them are very professional.  There’s no room for amateurs in this game, XXXX’s enforcement is too good for that.  And despite the rumours, the ‘western forest raiders’ don’t live in the forest, in a magically protected cave.  There aren’t 140 of us and we aren’t led by the one true king.  I mean really, who’d want to live in a cave, with 139 sweaty killers and some stuck-up king wannabe?  We live in the towns and villages; we live apart and spread out.  We only come together to raid, to kill and to collect, and then we disburse again.  We do what we can for the rebellion and we all do very well out of it.

Revenge.  That’s an interesting idea.  Those who did what they did deserve to pay, but I can’t let that be my driving force.  How’s it going to help me if I just spend my time tracking them down?  How does it help our country?  But I know their faces, I see them every night, and now I have scrying.  I know what they’re all doing, I know where they all are** and if an opportunity arises…….

Why work for the Temple to Vengeance?  Good question.  While I understand and almost did join that fraternity in the early years of my life, that’s not my goal as I mentioned earlier.  I can’t let it be my goal, but their Western district temple aids our cause.  Their head cleric has certain rebellious sympathies, though I’m sure he has warding up to prevent that becoming common knowledge.  He provides a member of his clergy as clerical support to our operation, and much appreciated it is too, but in return he asks for certain donations and also that annually I provide assistance to his church.  A task I do willingly, for it is minor recompense for the clandestine support they give us.

**5 are in the ground already, and I can only claim responsibility for one of those.  Soldiering really is a dangerous business.  Of the other 15, Jean Lefebvre is doing very well for himself and leads a brigade now.  Sergeant Alaire Laurent is a drunk living with a whore in New Hampton, Sergeant Geron Fournier still just leads a platoon for the 2nd Lancers, Patrice Doubois…..well I’m not going to list them all.