Hoard of the Dragon Queen
The Fiend Blade
A large man with a commanding chin. His back is always straight, his military training is driven into his bones. Short with his words, and to the point, he relies on his pure physical presence to carry the weight of his words. Polite without being formal, he’s a person well aquainted to a strict hierarchy.
A strange man, no doubt, with a mysterious heritage. Slightly pointed ears that might just hint of elven heritage. No one has ever heard of his family, in fact, no one has ever heard much of his personal life. Seldom talking about himself, he’s a quiet one.
Always looking out of the corner of his eyes, like there’s something only he can see. Often with a tilt to his head, like he’s listening for something. Sometimes a grim smile plays on his lips, like that of a man resigned to his fate.
As a young boy, he was the son of a tavern wench. His mother had shared the bed of an elven adventurer, and as most of these stories go, a child was born. Unwanted by his mother, he was sent to his grandparents to work on their farm. With the repetitive and boring work on the farm, he couldn’t help but feel he had a higher destiny. An adventurer’s life, that’s the good life. So he saved up whatever money he could beg, borrow and steal, took upon him the name Darkbane (after his father) and travelled to Baldur’s Gate.
Now the legend of Eli Darkbane would be written! Or so he thought. Real life could unfortunately not live up to his daydreams. People weren’t keen to sign up an unexperienced country bumpkin. So he needed experience and training. WIthout money, he wasn’t in any position to pick and choose trainers. Swordmasters and private fencing tutors was something that wasn’t even going to happen in his dreams! With no other option clear to him, he could only decide on one course: Enlist! So he enlisted with the Flaming Fist in Baldur’s Gate, completed his basic training there and then started his service. Now things would be turning around for this young man!
Except they didn’t. Service in the Flaming Fist was much like working on the farm; repetitive task after repetitive task.Things weren’t better that he always got the short-end of the stick. Constant graveyard shifts, dock duty, babysitting trainees. Things had changed for him, just not for the better. Still he could feel his destiny calling, if only he had the power to cast of the chains holding him in place!! “And what if you had?” Was it a whisper? A subconscious thought borne of his dreams? A manifestation of his deepest dreams? He knew not. But his dreams would be filled by people praising his glory. Songs were sung. Women would throw themselves at him. “This could become your reality!”
How? How could this become his reality? Was it even possible? “For me, impossible is nothing. I could grant you the power you so shamelessly crave. The price… Insignificant.” He could feel a sense of mirth behind that last word. This was by far the strangest dream yet. By the end of it, a mysterious man had offered him a contract which he signed. A dark-haired figure standing just over seven feet tall. He could pass for human if it weren’t for the small horns protruding from his brow and his glowing red eyes. Dressed in regal finery, he carried a long rod capped with a macelike head. Awakening from his vivid dream, he couldn’t shake of how real it had all seemed. Nor could he ignore the smell of iron and brimstone that permeated through the room.
As the days went by, he couldn’t help but notice the changes. He slowly became stronger, faster and tougher than the rest. His skill with arms overtook, and surpassed, the others, He took a special liking to the halberd in this period. The ability to strike from distance, with either a careful stab or an overpowering swing, suited his tastes. When he spoke, people around would stop what they were doing to listen to his words. It was as his words themselves were infused with power. Dreams of him spellcasting would come. “You’ve had a taste of what I have to offer. Would you also like the ability to cast spells? The cost would only be a small increase to the already insignificant fee that I have asked for. A token fee.” A parchment would float in front of his eyes, along with a quill and ink bottle. Power was all he could read, power was all he could comprehend, power was his obsession. Dreams are not real, what possible harm could this do? So he signed unquestioning. If only he knew what powers he were dealing with…
Sure enough, the day after, he found he had some spells at his command. Now was his time. He was gonna be a captain within a month. Two years went by, nothing happened. He was passed up on promotion after promotion. Watching people with connections getting favoured over him, time after time. All he accomplished was being made a drill-sergeant for fresh recruits. Hell, most recruits were older than him! And you didn’t have to be He of the Unsleeping Eyes to know that most of them couldn’t keep watch over a cow in a barn!
Heart sinking, reality setting in, he couldn’t help but wonder about the whispers. The strange dreams. He could recall the image of each contract, like they were burned in his memory. But he could not read one word. Some quick, and discreet, research in the deepest parts of the library, revealed a bitter truth. The language on those contracts was undoubtedly Infernal. A feeling of dread filled him, panic gripped tightly around his heart. Months he spent in the library to master the language, to understand the contracts. The reading proved to be… unpleasant. Unwittingly, he’d made a pact with Dispater, Archduke & Lord of Dis, Lord of the Second, Father of Strife. A pact with UNSPECIFIED terms no less. At the moment of realisation, a great laugh boomed through his head. “A pleasure to make your aquaintance, Eli DARKBANE!” Thoughts racing through his head, questions blossomnig. He tried to convey everything in one go, but nothing would come out. “All in good time, young master DARKBANE! Relax, and just enjoy yourself. For now… Muahahahahahahahahhaha!!!”
What followed was a week’s worth of denial. A glorious week filled with the pleasures of brothels, alcohol and whatever escapes from reality he could make. Fearing he had become a liability for his fellow guards, he left the Flaming Fists. By The Vigilant One, he would not betray the Watch! But then, the dreams started. Every five nights, he had a strange sequence of apycalyptic dreams.. The world is destroyed by cold, choking fumes, lightniing storms, waves of acid, and horrible fires. Each time, the dream ended with ten evil eyes glaring at him from the darkness. He felt a strange compulsion to travel to Greenest. Perhaps the riddle of his dreams awaits him there.
So he quit his position in the Flaming Fists, took on hire as a caravan guard for a small merchants caravan travelling through Greenest. Fate would have him captured by raiders. In his capture though, he met some formidable allies. They would proceed to escape capture, and start on a journey together. But that’s a tale told elsewhere…