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The sotry of Aronthal

 
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Aronthal
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Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 172

Level: 12
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 6:30 pm    Post subject: The sotry of Aronthal Reply with quote

ooc - Well I think it is about time to kick this plot into motion. The following is from Aronthal's bio. Granted it is quite long, but I hope some will find it entertaining.

IC-

*** Excerpt from "The Kings of Del'Trethan and the Ogre Hordes" ***

Chapter 10: Aronthal, The king without a kingdom

Aronthal is the son of Aronthil "Ogre Slayer" and Raythel of the Lost Order; and true insight of this man is gained only by an understanding of who his parents were.

His father, Aronthil (chapter 9: Aronthil the third) was a renowned ranger by profession, and a king by blood. It was his belief, as it was of all of his ancestors, that a king should hold as much respect and knowledge of his land as he should of his people; and so Aronthil could as often be found roaming the forests of his kingdom, as holding audience in his great hall.

Descended from a long line of great kings, Aronthil was a fair and honorable liege, much beloved by his people and much feared by his enemies. Tragically, not long after the birth of his first son and heir, his kingdom came to a swift and brutal end.

Several large tribes of Ogres that had individually harassed the kingdom for centuries had suddenly untied and with little warning marched upon the kingdom. Never before had the tribes untied as thus, and never before in the kingdom's long history had they faced such a formidable attack. Though the people fought bravely, in the end the combined forces were too great to be reckoned with, and after a fortnight the kingdom was decimated, its remaining people fled or enslaved, and its king left dead.

It was then that Aronthal, who had just celebrated his fourteenth season, was taken by his mother, Raythel (chapter 15: The Queens), to live at the monastery of the Lost Order. Raythel was a long standing and highly respected member of this order and had only left their ranks after meeting her future husband during a pilgrimage. Although the order forbade marriage, the monks accepted the widow back into their ranks, and pledged to provide refuge for the exiled heir. Sadly, over the next several years Raythel grew very weak of mind and spirit and it was not long before she finally passed on, the grief of loosing her husband and kingdom had been more than she could endure.

Upon Raythel's tragic death the Order adopted Aronthal and raised him for the remainder of his adolescent years. He became a member of their ranks and learned much from them, although his heart yearned for the woods, and his thoughts were ever on rebuilding his father's kingdom. Upon his 100th birthday Aronthal bid farewell to the monks and set out for the lands of his ancestors.

For weeks he wandered the nearly deserted forests of his kingdom and he found to his dismay that its peoples were scattered and its wealth plundered. The great Ogre masses, however, had disbanded and fell back into their old habits of warring amongst themselves. And so they paid little heed to the kingdom they had destroyed, save to send occasional patrols into the forests to prevent any uprising of the remaining populace.

Several times Aronthal narrowly avoided these Ogre patrols, until one day he was caught unawares and found himself surrounded by the brutish creatures. Resigned to his father's fate he drew his steel and prepared for the end.

For perhaps the first time in the young man's life, however, fortune smiled upon him. The rangers who had in the past patrolled and protected the forest of the kingdom had over the last several years reassembled, and though their numbers were few they were still dedicated to protecting their land and its peoples. And so it was luck, or perhaps fate, that the rangers had been tracking the very Ogre patrol that had ambushed Aronthal.

Before he truly realized what was happening each and every Ogre lay dead before him, riddled with arrows, and in their place he was now surrounded by his kinsman. The Rangers instantly recognized the heir, for the blood bread true in this line of kings, and so they took him in and taught him the trade of his father.

Aronthal lived among the rangers for many years, and he was content that in joining their cause he was doing at least everything that fate allowed him to do in restoring his father’s kingdom. Thus he was quite taken aback one day when Felinal, the leader of this group of rangers and a very old and close friend of Aronthal's father, took him aside and spoke thus to him.

"Aronthal, son of Aronthil, take this your fathers' bow, and depart these lands. Be always true to your heritage, and above all else, do not let the line end with you. Perhaps it will be in your lifetime, and perhaps not, but be certain the hopes of this kingdom lay within your veins. But alas, are peoples are scattered, and you can do only limited good here amongst us. Go instead out into this world and seek help where you may find it, and return only when you have hope of reclaiming what is yours. Go now and do not look back."

And so Aronthal, seeing the truth of his elder’s words, left his kingdom behind and spent many years traveling the lands, until he came to this island, and somehow he knew that if hope were to be found, it would be found here ...
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Aronthal
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkness slowly descended on the eastern forest as the sun concluded its journey across a cloudy sky. And with the passing day, the sounds of the forest began to change; the melodic whispers of the birds and the foraging rustling of squirrels and deer replaced by the occasional howl of a wolf or the chirp of a cricket.

To the trained ear, other sounds could be heard as well. Like the gentle sound of water trickling softly over time worn rocks in a nearby stream, or the faint whisper of an owls wings as he darted from branch to branch seeking prey.

For those who knew what to listen for, the evening forest was alive with sounds, and to the exceptionally observant the sound of footsteps could be heard softly rustling through the forest floor, each step practiced and deliberate as to blend into and be lost amongst the other subtle sounds.

A lone man, a hooded cloak shadowing his features, walked seemingly aimlessly amongst the leaf litter. His form blending into the shadows as he slowly made his way along an abandoned path long since overgrown and all but reclaimed by nature.

He had walked amongst the trees of many forests like this one, though this one reminded him more than any other of the home he had left behind so many years ago. The trees were different, and the animals similar but not quite the same, yet this forest just seemed like home.

His mind drifted away from the present and his thoughts took him back to the land that his heart yearned for. In the distance he could see the shapes of small dwellings perched into the boughs of ancient trees, and he could hear the sounds of his people singing and celebrating the coming of the night. He quickened his pace, knowing that his parents would be disappointed if he did not make it home in time for the evening feast.

The harsh sound of a branch breaking brought him back to his senses. Instinctively he froze in his steps, peering through the dense underbrush, seeking the source of the noise. Looking down he saw the broken branch beneath his foot, and he silently cursed himself for being so careless.

For several minutes he remained motionless, listening to see if his recklessness had brought unwanted attention upon himself, but he heard nothing other than the normal sounds of the forest returning after the brief respite his misplaced footstep had caused.

Then suddenly he heard what he least wanted to hear. The deep guttural sounds of voices nearby and the heedless sound of several large bodies that could only be ogres on the hunt moving heavily through the underbrush.

They were not particularly near, but they would soon spot him if he did not do something to distract them. So he kneeled down to better conceal himself in the shadows and to pick up several small stones. The voices were drawing closer and a small breeze brought the stench of their sweat soaked hides to him.

Pivoting on his knees, he took aim back down the path he had come from and tossed the stones one after the other, less than a heartbeat separating each one. He could hear the stones softly thudding to the ground followed by the sound of something crashing through the underbrush, leading away from him.

He waited for a reaction. The sounds of the stones falling, with any luck, would appear to be the quickened footsteps of a man fleeing from the hunters, the unexpected added sounds of what was probably a deer startled by the noise should only add to the illusion that the prey was swiftly fleeing.

The man held his breath, as the forest again grew silent. Slowly, silently, he removed the bow that was slung over his shoulder and notched an arrow. His keen eyes peered in the shadowy surroundings looking for any signs of movement.

At first he saw nothing, heard nothing, save the sound of his own heart beating. And then the guttural voices returned, closer, too close.

His gaze shifted to the direction of the voices, and he could see several shadowy masses no more than a hundred yards away. Moonlight glistened off of their thick sweaty hides, and he could make out at least a dozen different bodies.

One of the brutes, darker than the rest, pointed insistently in his direction, the moonlight reflected off of his yellow eyes.

The man drew back his bowstring, and slowly brought up his bow. He took cautious aim, knowing that if they should start moving towards him again, the darker ogre, a mage, must be dealt with swiftly.

The mage started moving in his direction, but had only taken a step when one of the paler ogres, larger than the rest, barked an order and pointed in the direction of the distraction. The mage turned slightly towards the speaker, shook his head, and pointed again towards the direction of the man.

The larger ogre roared his dissatisfaction and pointed to his chest. Something metallic, moonlight glinting off of it, hung from his neck. Again he pointed in the direction of the distraction, and the man could tell that the other ogres were growing tense at the confrontation.

The mage paused for a moment, glaring intently at the object, which apparently marked the larger ogre as some sort of leader.

Slowly the man let out his held breath, his body tensed, but his arms grew steady. He took aim at the mages throat, one more step in his direction and he would let the arrow fly; silencing the mage permanently.

Once more, the larger ogre pointed to the object around his neck, and barked an order. Dejectedly the mage lowered his head and started walking slowly in the direction that the leader had indicated. The other ogres swiftly ran past him, following their leader, eager to be back on the hunt. After a few moments all but the mage were out of sight, the sounds and shadows of the others blending into the night.

One last time the mage looked over his shoulder and peered in the man’s direction, the moonlight again reflected in his narrowed eyes, he sniffed the air and shook his head again, and then suddenly he turned and lunged into the forest after the others.

To be continued…..
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Aronthal
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Breathing a sigh of relief, the man stood back up and casually slung his bow back over his shoulder. It was a confrontation that he probably could have weathered, but he would not have come out unscathed.

With the immediate threat gone he was suddenly aware that his hands were trembling, but not from fear, rather it was intense anger and hatred that had him in their grasp. He took a couple more breaths to re-center himself. Just the sight of the ogres had set his blood to near boiling; indeed his loathing of the beasts ran deep. But anger makes you do things you shouldn’t, makes you act before thinking, and that is the sort of thing that can get you killed.

He knew that he should start moving again, but in his state of agitation he worried about making another foolish mistake. And this forest was alive with predators, even things more deadly than a pack of ogres, a mistake could prove fatal.

Taking a couple of moments to regain control was the smart thing to do and so he quietly moved a few steps into the surrounding foliage. The brush would not hide him from preying eyes, but it would shelter him from casual observation, and with his training he would only need a few minutes to focus his thoughts.

He knelt down into the leaf strewn forest floor, upper legs resting on lower legs, hands placed on knees, eyes closed. His breathing slowed, his senses heightened. He could feel the moistness of the forest floor though his robes, a subtle almost non-existent breeze brushed against his exposed skin. His breath slowed further, the anger melted away, replaced by a sense of serenity. The sound of the nearby stream, barely perceptible before, now roared in his ears. He became intensely aware of his surroundings. He became his surroundings.

And then silence.

His breathing stopped completely, his heart no longer beating; he was more dead than alive. It was the ultimate control of mind over body, thought over instinct. He was still aware of himself, but nothing else mattered, nothing could penetrate this shell of serenity.

The temptation came, as it always does. To let go of that last spark of life, to give into the tranquility and let it wash over you. The urge to give in was intensely strong, but he knew it for what it was, had been trained to recognize it. The body and mind had been without air for several minutes; the mind most affected by this depravation. Focused thought became impossible, visions that he barely recognized filled his mind.

The battle of mind over body had been won, but now the battle of will over mind had begun. The visions skirted around his consciousness, coming and going, fleeting, ungraspable. But always, in every vision, was something subtly placed that he could focus on, something he could wrap his will around. Slowly his heart started beating again; his breath returned, shallow and quick. The visions faded, but the peacefulness remained. His senses returned, briefly remaining in their heightened state, and his body came more alive at each sensation. His breathing became more regular, and he opened his eyes. His hands were steady, the anger not really gone, but it was at least under control, manageable. He could continue now.

He stood and peered at the sky, the moon was mostly hidden by the forest canopy, but he could judge its position enough to know that he needed to get moving. Cautiously he glanced around again at his surroundings, looking for anything out of place, ears straining for any sign that the ogres had decided to return. Satisfied that it was safe, he returned to the trail, still moving guardedly but at a quickened pace.

It was not long before he reached his destination; a small grassy clearing in the forest, a tiny stream, narrow enough to be able to step over it, cut across the northwest corner. The moon, still partially obscured by clouds, but now unhindered by the forest canopy spilt its light over the area.

The man headed towards the stream, and reached it in a few strides. The moonlight glittered faintly off of the water, and the shadow of gently rustling leaves played wistfully across it surface. The clearing was otherwise empty save for a large boulder mostly buried deep into the ground but with a couple of feet of stone exposed on the surface.

Casually the man seated himself on the boulder and stared aimlessly into the sky. He was aware of another presence in the clearing, or rather in the trees surrounding it, but he said nothing. He knew the other presence was observing him, sizing him up, but he gave no indication that he was aware of the others existence.

To be continued ….
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Tae
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*Whispers in the wind*

Aronthal,
My goodness, what a wonderful story. I look forward to hearing more.

((I think the DM's should reward you with a little XP for all of this detail and hard work -- this is an example of character development, that deserves some recognition. Maybe not a ton of XP, but just something to recognize this work. Wouldn't it be nice, if each DM that read this and enjoyed it gave you 25 exp, as a token gesture? Also, that would help encourage other players to flesh out their characters too. I think Fooz or someone else was also binding books with character bios and you might want to contact him about putting yours up too)).

Tae icon_razz.gif
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Aronthal
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 18%
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minutes passed silently before the man finally lowered the hood of his cloak and shifted slightly on the cold stone, adjusting his position just enough to look in the direction of the other occupant of the shadowy clearing. His eyes saw nothing, no movement or break in the shadows, but his other senses told him without doubt that someone was concealed behind the tree line.

“Have you been waiting long?” he asked the darkness wryly.

A muffled laugh was the first response, and then a cloaked figure, hood pulled loosely over his head, obscuring his features, stepped into view. He was clad in black, a small sword sheathed at his waist, and a dagger tucked into his belt.

“My, but you do have very keen senses,” the stranger responded with another small chuckle.

“You weren’t exactly trying to remain hidden”, the man responded pointedly. “A man of your obvious talents would not be so careless to leave clues, however subtle, of his presence.”

The stranger nodded. “Perhaps you are right, or perhaps I am just not as skilled as you might think.”

“You wouldn’t be here if that were the case”, the man responded, shaking his head slightly.

“Well I suppose there is truth in that. As for your question, I have not been waiting long, in fact I arrived only moments before you did; though as much as I have been paid, a little waiting is nothing to complain about.”

The man nodded. “I had a near run in with an ogre hunting party that delayed me; so be careful when you depart, I managed to evade them, but they will no doubt be scouring this forest for me; ogres do not easily give up the hunt once they have caught scent of their prey.”

“Aye, well fortunately ogres do not possess your keen awareness, but I will heed your advice none the less.” The stranger stepped further into the clearing as he reached for something under his cloak.

The man peered intently at the strangers hand as it disappeared behind the black fabric, his own hand moving unconsciously to a dagger at his hip. The stranger halted his stride for a moment, and then very slowly drew out a piece of rolled parchment, holding it in front of him so that it could be clearly seen.

“Shall we move on to business?” the stranger asked, “I must confess to looking forward to a tankard of ale, or two, and a warm hearth to take the chill out of the bone. I have been on the road for a very long time.”

The man smiled in response and shifted his hand away from his dagger, instead loosening a wineskin from his belt. “The journey from Del’Trethan is a long one indeed. In fact I am almost surprised to see you here; you must have pressed very hard to make it in so little time.” He tossed the flask to the stranger.

The stranger caught the wineskin, removed the stopper, and sniffed at the contents. “Fine elven spiced wine,” he said, a hint of longing in his voice, “very strong from the smell of it.”

The man nodded, “I remember what it is like to spend many nights on the road, and that friend,” he gestured at the flask, “will most definitely take the chill out of your bones, and a little of the wits out of your head if you don’t drink it sparingly.”

The stranger replaced the stopper, “Well there will be time enough for that later, besides it can’t hurt to be a little overcautious in my line of work.” He tossed the flagon back.

“What exactly is you line of work, sir …,” he asked, returning the flask to his belt.

“Perinev, and none of that sir business,” he answered lightly. “That’s not my real name of course, but as I said it pays to be cautious. As for my line of work, I dabble in all sorts of trades, mostly getting into places others can’t, or acquiring goods that the former owners were reluctant to part with.”

“An unusual set of credentials for becoming an errand boy,” the man responded bluntly.

Perinev chuckled, “Indeed; however I had other matters to attend to that would have brought me to Dysotopia eventually, if not as swiftly. And your associate, Felinal, was quite persuasive,” he hefted a coin pouch at his belt, “in asking me to speed up my schedule a bit.”

“Aye, Felinal can be quite persuasive when he has need, and if that parchment contains what I think it does, then he indeed had urgent need.”

“Which brings us back to the matter at hand,” Perinev responded, gesturing slightly with the parchment he held, “no pun intended of course. You, I hope, from the description I was given, are the intended recipient of this parchment, else I was drastically overpaid.”

The man nodded, and rolled up his right sleeve, making visible a small tattoo. “Aye, I am Aronthal, I assume the tattoo is the proof of identity you were told to ask for.”

Perinev peered at the exposed arm for a moment and then nodded and handed the parchment to the other man, who inspected the wax seal intently. The wax bore the mark of the kings of Del’Trethan, the mark of his father.

A deluge of memories assailed him upon seeing that seal, of a home and family he had lost, a kingdom destroyed, its peoples scattered. Aronthal closed his eyes to block out the memories, but it was of no use.

“I can assure you the seal has not been tampered with.” Perinev said, misreading the look on the other man’s face.

Aronthal focused his thoughts, pushed away the pain. “No, it’s not that,” he said opening his eyes. “The seal is obviously in tact, I appreciate your discretion.”

“I can’t say that I wasn’t curious,” Perinev answered solemnly. “A message from Del’Trethan’s warden, to its exiled king contains more than simple pleasantries I would imagine.”

Aronthal stared at the stranger, concern clearly crossing his brow.

“Worry not; your secret is as safe with me as was the parchment.”

“My identity is not exactly a secret; I am just surprised that Felinal chose to be so open with you regarding the matter.”

“He wasn’t, in fact he seemed reluctant to depart any information at all. I wasn’t even given your name; rather I was simply instructed to ask to see the tattoo as proof of your identity.”

“I am an observant man however,” he continued, “and you are most certainly your father’s son, the resemblance is uncanny.”

Perinev paused, as if considering something, then sighed and lowered the hood of his cloak revealing a sharp face accented by golden hair, and pointed ears. “I met him once, your father, though that was a very long time ago. We met under less than cordial circumstances; regarding some property in my possession that he was rather insistent belonged to him.”

Aronthal’s eyes widened in recognition, “Dargen”, was all that he said.

“Aye, you have a good memory lad. You were just a boy then, but no doubt my rather flamboyant escape made me the talk of the court for quite some time.”

“Yes, well that and the fact that you managed to re-steal …”

“Reacquire,” Dargen interjected.

“… Reacquire those objects you mentioned before you vanished.”

Dargen smiled, “Well I had a reputation I was trying to build, and my employer at the time was not a very forgiving man. I hope you don’t feel obligated to carry out your father’s sentence.”

“Well, what you stole, if I recall correctly, was quite valuable and quite irreplaceable; but your service to your kingdom today has earned you a pardon, for what that is worth, besides I do not have a guillotine handy,” Aronthal responded lightly.

Dargen laughed, “Your farther was a just ruler, and I believe the sentence was only life in prison.”

“You would have been freed in a few months, though I doubt a life in service to the king’s guard would have suited you very well.”

“Aye, I’ve never been one for cleaning boots, or grooming horses.”

Aronthal smiled and nodded. “I have a feeling I will come to regret that pardon some day,” he said as he broke the seal on the parchment.

He glanced over the contents briefly, but the dark ink was hard to make out in the dim light of the moon. He skipped over the words quickly, not really reading them, until he reached the words

… this scoundrel, the sum of 1000 gold pieces as the rest of his payment upon delivery of this letter.

At this he rolled the parchment back up and tucked it beneath his cloak. Then he hefted a small coin purse at his belt, removed it, and tossed it to the other man. “The rest of your payment, one hundred gold, give or take a coin or two, and a couple gems you should be able to easily sell for the rest.”

Dargen tied the purse to his belt without inspecting the contents. “It was a pleasure doing business with you.” He smiled. “I don’t suppose you would let me have a peak …”

Aronthal smiled slightly and shook his head.

“No? Well I suppose not”, he laughed. “Well since or business is concluded, I think I will go find an inn and inquire about that ale and hearth.” He pulled his hood back over his face and turned to leave.

“I will likely have a return message to be delivered, if you are interested in earning a few more coins.” Aronthal said to the departing man.

Dargen continued towards the trees. “As I said I have other business to attend to in dysotopia. If I am ready to depart when you have your response prepared I would be happy to deliver it, but for more than a few coins I’m afraid.”

“I’m sure you can track me down when you are ready, just remember to ask for Perinev” he finished as he disappeared again into the trees.

To be continued….
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Aronthal
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tae wrote:
*Whispers in the wind*

Aronthal,
My goodness, what a wonderful story. I look forward to hearing more.

((I think the DM's should reward you with a little XP for all of this detail and hard work


I'm glad you are enjoying it Tae. I hope others are as well, and that I'm not just wasting forum space. icon_smile.gif

As far as the XP goes, thanks for the thought but it is not needed. (not to say I would turn it down if I got it icon_rolleyes.gif ). I used to write quite a bit, but it has been a few years since I did any serious writing (which should be evident from the quality so far icon_lol.gif ). I want to get back into writing so I am using this as a writing exercise, and a chance to flex my litterary muscles and get some of my skill back. hehe
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