Role Playing Games
 

Campaign Journal
Dramatis Personae

The Orbaal Campaign
or
What Happened in the North

 

The Tale of the Dove

Cornelius of Shoah was born the fourth eldest son of an eccentric toymaker in the Dark City of Golotha, located in the delta of the Thard River as it empties into the northern seas. He was strong, agile, and highly curious, but being the fourth eldest, he was ignored (or sometimes worse) by his father and three older brothers. He spent about equal time dreaming in the rafters and attics of the old house on the canal, and on the dark and dangerous streets of the city itself. When he would return home he would be fed (sometimes) and whipped (more often).

By the age of 12 Cornelius had learned much of the dark metropolis and had more than a few near death encounters. He took to begging and thieving and sitting in on Lia- Kavar meetings. Occasionally, he would return home and live up in the attic, teaching himself to read by candlelight from an old alchemical text he had found. As he returned less often, the beatings grew worse and he finally left the old house and started living on the docks. For about a year, he lived precariously, learning the ins and outs of the streets and he learned how to defend himself quickly. Shuriken, Nunchakas and fighting claws had become a fad among the Lia-Kavar and Cornelius learned to use these and other, more conventional weapons. Yet, Cornelius had seen many strange things in the mists and murk of the Thard and his curiosity drew him from the streets to the sewers, to the canals, and to the slate rooftops of the dark temples. Below the docks in the process of robbing a barge, he was caught by an old woman. Cornelius drew his dagger to stab her when he received a horrible vision. He came to much later, his hair as white as snow. The old woman had taught Cornelius his first serious lesson in magic.

Like many encounters in Golotha, things took an unexpected turn. The old woman who had hexed him helped him up and asked him his name. When he answered, "Cornelius," she cackled and said,"Now your name is Dove." She took the Dove under her tutelage and introduced him to witchcraft- those powers dormant inside many folk. For many months, the Dove lived below the docks, learning much from Sarah, the old boat-witch. He learned to heal afflictions and how to perceive magic in the world around him, and if it was dangerous, to negate it. He learned about the stars and about his sunsign, Tai, and about the tarot, and runestones. He learned about edible plants and marsh reeds and potions. He learned about the gods, and spirits. In return, he helped her survive and brought her food, and kept her entertained with stories about the abovedocks. Then one day he returned to the boat after getting some food at the market (stealing it, that is) and she was gone. For several days he waited, tending the boat and her pets and then he left, setting all the animals free, and taking some of her things as well as the tarot deck she had helped him paint and draw. He returned to the streets and among the circles of scum and cutpurses he was called the Dove. He became a second story man and spent as much time perched up on the gargoyles staring down at the grey city.

One night he intervened in a mugging, something he was not normally apt to do. The person whom he had rescued was an odd looking fellow who often carried books under his arm to his stone tower, which sat silently crumbling on a damp back street. After helping the old man he learned his name was Balfor the Seer. He was a rigid stuffy old man who claimed to have served many great kings, thank you very much.

Amused and intrigued by the old man, the Dove proceeded to flatter himself into the old man's trust and not long after the dove was launched into the study of sorcery, "A much more orthodox and proper way of getting things done." For three years the Dove lived with Balfor and learned Savyoran magic of the spirit and divination. While the Dove and Balfor were opposites in most ways, the old man was heartened by the Dove's enthusiasm for learning and he was no longer alone as well. The old man came to a violent end at the hands of the Dove's old Lia-Kavar "friends" and the Dove was left for dead himself in a back alley. With the help of witchcraft and a strong will the Dove survived, but the time to leave had come and, at the age of 19, the Dove left the city of Dark Rising behind.

His travels took him first to the Hefosia Highlands and among the bandits and the rugged kom hills, and into dark and ancient shrines. After a year in the hills, he wandered down to Tharda. Here in Coranan the City of Thieves, he came into almost immediate conflict with the heavy handed guild of thieves. In a year of street battles and thieving, The Dove met many companions- Pug the Mug, Catspaw, Chopper the Black, Prather Longarm, Gazak Crukitspeed, Crazy Kerwin and a host of others. These were all led by Hirkane, a veteran thief whose hatred of the church of Naveh and the guild of thieves was matched only by his daring and skill.

The group of idealistic young thieves was finally smashed by a combined effort of many forces. Many were killed and others fled and died in lonely places in the wilds. Hirkane was hung and on the tree the epitaph was carved by the dove:

I see his shadow near

On brittle dying leaves.

I see his dancing feet

Kicking in the wind.

I hear gallow songs

Sung in baritone

Rattle.

The Dove and Prather Longarm fled to Shiran (The City of Sins) to find help with Erithrian and Marolar Nightshade, two companions of the group. They were caught on a street corner by hired toughs and prather was mortally wounded. The Dove dragged Prather three blocks through muddy streets, but Prather died in his arms before the arrival of a physician and the Dove's witchcraft had failed him.

"When he'd begun to rattle deep down in his throat, I asked him,'What are you thinking about?' I always like to know what a dying man is thinking about, and he said,'I'm still listening to the rain.' It gave me gooseflesh. 'I'm still listening to the rain.' That's what he said."

Not soon after Prather's death, the Dove was caught. The authorities enslaved him and branded a pentagram on his forehead- the mark of a witch. They then sold him, not to the Pamesani Games, but to the temple of Morgath- the Lord of Chaos. The Dove expected to be tortured and sacrificed, for the screams from the Morgathian temple in Golotha had imprinted themselves on his mind. The Morgathians did not do the unexpected. They poisoned him and then gave him enough antidote to last him about three months before a horrible death ensued. The priests then made him a proposition. One of their order, a dark being named Nadiri had caused them many problems, he had effectively gone renegade. The priests they had sent to deal with him had all failed because the nature of their powers gave Nadiri a workable knowledge of them. Thus the Dove would be a wild card, an unexpected assassin indeed.

With his equipment and antidote, the Dove set off from Telen, down to Moleryn and onto the Salt Route. He had been blackmailed to become an assassin. He was to bring them Nadiri's heart. Many adventures ensued. In the Teb marshes, he learned about ancient cults and other dark things. He arrived at the Trobridge Inn and explored its environs and finally having caught Nadiri's scent, he traveled up, past the Lake of Voices and the Lake of Mists and arrived near Anisha. Here he was thrown together with an old companion- Pug the Mug and a group of travellers. It seemed that Nadiri was far from human and only a group could slay the undead beast. After many close call sand the arrival at Nadiri's glacier keep, things became deadly. Nadiri was destroyed and the Dove took Nadiri's heart- a black gem. The survivors then left the brooding Felshas behind. At the Trobridge, the Dove met a new companion, a gargu-khanu named Ghul. He and the gargun left the travellers and started the laborious return down the Salt Route. The Dove and Ghul returned with two weeks to spare. The Dove was wracked with pain and was a much grimmer figure as he returned to the City of Thieves with the black gem.

Ghosts of War

(Slayer South of Heaven)

Fate silent warriors sleeping souls will rise

Once forgotten soldiers come to life

Fallen mercenary, dormancy is done

Not content with wars we've never won

Memories can't ignore

Anguish of before

Satisfy the scorn

Rise ghosts of war

Target assassinate, time of your life has expired

Hatred victimize, gaze into their eyes as they die

Violence inflicting of pain, savage mortician denies

Drive the salt in the wound, arouse the subconscious to lie

I deal in pain

All life I drain

I dominate

I seal your fate

I deal in pain

All life I drain

Memories can't ignore

Rise ghosts of war.