The Mag Mell Travelers
Grey Dwarf Fighter Ghanir of the Bitter Crag Hold: Ghanir was born into a typical Grey Dwarf family. Growing up, Ghanir learned the ways of the Grey Dwarves mining for gems and precious metals; attending the annual Gatherings; and, most importantly, raiding Orc tunnels, Dark Elf camps and Wizards Towers. It was when Ghanir reached the age of thirty that he learned of his family’s debt to the Human Earldom of Ravenfield and why their raiding trips never took them into Mag Mell. You see, after a particular daring raid on the Dark Elf camps along the Mosquito Barrens, the Dwarves of the Bitter Crag Hold ignited the fury of a united army of the Dark Elves, who took to marching upon the family Hold itself. The patriarch of the Hold sent word of distress to the Ravenfield Earldom and swore him a thousand winter debt should he send relief. Ravenfield Earldom answered the call and after a fierce stand in front of the Hold’s gates, the Dark Elves were driven back and the Hold was indebted to the Ravenfield Earldom for nights untold. Thus Ghanir was sworn to live with the humans and protect Earling Hamron of Ravenfield, Son of Helrick until his death or a grandson is born to him.
Human Sorcerer Earling Hamron III of Ravenfield Earldom; Son of Helrick: Your noble family has served the High Kings of Mag Mell and the Arch Priests of Pelor for generations. The Earldom of Ravenfield is located in the southwestern corner of Mag Mell, a dangerous spot as it abuts both the Mosquito Barrens5 and the Silve Mountains.
You were raised into a warrior tradition, expected to serve as a High King’s Knight, dispense justice and guidance in the Earldom’s dozen villages and, in times of war, to lead the Earldom’s men-at-arms into battle. However, you’ve long kept a secret that would lose you the respect of your peers, your birthright and perhaps your life. People of the Book are forbidden in Mag Mell and by order of the Priests of Pelor must be banished to the Mosquito Barrens or killed, whichever they choose.
Obviously, you guarded your secret well, even from your Blood Guardian the Grey Dwarf Ghanir. Then one day, while traveling with your father, a goblin ambush and an unthinking reaction exposed you as a Sorcerer. Ghanir’s intervention was all that saved your life and the two of you were commanded to disappear into the Mosquito Barrens… never to return.
Hearts heavy, Ghanir and Hamron turn their horses due South and make their way as best they can into the Mosquito Barrens. Ghanir maintains his focus on his ward’s well-being while Hamron hopes to find a Wizard’s Tower where he can learn to control this magical curse… little knowing that he will soon become much more familiar with the subject of curses.
The silence of the endless pines and the fetid pools that send up legions of biting insects leave both Dwarf and Man feeling unsettled. Thankfully, after a few long days Hamron’s Raven Aspen reports a Tower up ahead and the pair pick up their pace.
The trail ends in a wide dirt clearing and Hamron’s eyes turn upward, trying to guess the height of the massive silver column jutting into the sky.
Ghanir’s attention, meanwhile, is marking the bustle in the city of tents surrounding the tower. Armed men and horses are bustling everywhere, the Grey Dwarf knows the signs of an army preparing to set forth and he feels his battle lust stir.
Before either Man or Dwarf can do more than stare, a middle-aged man in flowing blue robes gallops up on a speckled mare, he carries a scroll and quill in his left hand (a rare sight in Mag Mell)…
The scribe rides off leaving Ghanir and Hamron surprised at their fate. It seems they’ve arrived at Mage Meath’s Tower as the Wizard was gathering mercenary forces to wage a battle. The scribe assumed they’d come to join up.
Hamron has been assigned to a group of novice spellcasters and Ghanir joins the band of fighters who will ensure the enemy doesn’t approach too close. Hamron gazes at his new banner, a silver tower on a blue background… would he ever follow the raven flag again?
Unfortunately for the weary new recruits, Meath’s force is setting out the following morning. No time for anything but a quick meal, a restless sleep and then the coming battle.
For further reading see the Battle of the Silve Slope.