A tale from the Lands of Ferrond...one man's account of his struggle against the forces of the Old One.
Omnipotent View - The History of Border Watch
By Richard Di Ioia (aka Longetalos) (email@example.com)
Used with Permission. Do not repost without first obtaining prior permission from the author.
William the Bard sat by the cheery fire with a mug of fine ale imported all the way from Caronis. Lounging indolently on the couches around him were the newest members of the Border Watch mercenary company. From inside the manor the sounds of an autumn storm could faintly be heard through the stone walls.
With a loud belch and a wide grin, William raised his voice and with the abilities born of telling numerous tales began to speak. "Today, my new friends, I have a special treat for you. I will recount to you the great history of this mercenary company. Maybe by teaching you the history of the company it might entice you to put a little more effort in your training. I've been noticing that you've been getting lazy the last few days."
With that last sentence still in the air, Mann Marzoon grunted and glared at William with his one good eye.
"Come now Mann, had you ducked like I taught, your other eye would not be swollen shut." Said Pentiblur with a straight face.
"If that is the limit of the harm that your companions cause you while you are a member of this company, you should count yourself lucky." William said with a loud laugh. "Maybe once you learn the history of this company you'll come to appreciate how little a black eye really means."
"It all started back in the year 585, the Great War had commenced. The forces of the Old One had started to move down in the Shield Lands, crushing all those that opposed them. The Lord of Selecia had heard rumors of the size of the invading army and knew that his keep could not withstand the hordes. Therefore, he sent to the south all those within the keep unable to fight - including his wife, daughter and youngest son. The Lord felt that his keep could withstand a prolonged siege if he had fewer mouths to feed and his honor prevented him from deserting his lands. Lady Perian was the daughter of this noble and she …."
"What happened to the keep and the Lord?" Asked Alister.
"Alister, I do not have the life span of a dwarf to explain every detail of every story. Grab another mug of ale and enjoy the story. Maybe if the storm continues I'll go into more details tomorrow.
So, Lady Perian arrived in Furyondy in the company of her mother, younger brother and a few family retainers. Lady Perian quickly realized that people could not continue to flee from the forces of the Old One, lest they eventually overtake the whole of the noble lands. Over the next few months she learned the art of combat and hired out as a caravan guard to perfect her skills. Then one day she met a young druid by the name of Izzygul. They became fast friends and decide to work as a team on future available contracts.
One day they were hired by a merchant named Jasmalus to guard a caravan supplying the garrison keeps along the Veng river. After many trials and tribulations they succeeded in their mission and their fame grew. At a suggestion from a friend they decided to form a mercenary company so that their fame would have a name attached to it. They figured that it would be easier for potential employers to find them by a company standard than by searching for two individuals. At the same time they recruited an enigmatic rogue by the name of Brogan to complete the company. Thus on the 15th of Sunsebb 585 was born the mercenary company of Border Watch.
In those days the company name was very representative of their tasks. Over the next few months Border Watch was frequently used by the Count to strike deep into the Old Ones lands to the north. As a reward in the month of Coldeven the Count granted to Border Watch the deeds to the village of Hollow Haven. Included in the deed was the right to this manor you currently sleep in. At the time, the manor was haunted by undead. Some say that all the undead living here have not been eliminated yet…."
"What !!!!" Exclaimed Edwin with a loud shriek.
"I do believe he is joking with us Ed. You can relax and release your wizard staff." Pentiblur said in a calm voice.
With a swig of ale William continued his story. "This is where the story gets interesting. A few months later a Perrenlander, by the name of Atok, approached the three members of Border Watch. As should be obvious by now, no mercenary company can have enough fighters. One look at Atok's massif size and Izzygul quickly realized that having Atok between him and a foe would certainly be an advantage. So on the 11th of Flocktime, 586, Atok joined Border Watch thus bringing the total members to four.
The company stayed with only four members for several years, until the 16th of Patchwall, 588. That was the date at which I joined Border Watch and that's the end of the story. "
"William, you just brushed over three years without saying anything!" Exclaimed Alister.
"My mug of ale is empty and my throat tires. Of course, for a refill, I'll tell you about my first adventure with Border Watch…."
"It had been a month or so that I had joined Border Watch and Perian had decided to disrupt the Old One's plans for one of his keeps in Northern Furyondy. This particular keep was critical to the Old One's plans as it had an extensive herb garden as well as some experience herbalists stationed there. As you know, priests of the Old One don't have access to healing prayers and are thus made reliant on mundane means of healing wounds. This made this keep very important to the Old One's forces as it produced a large portion of the healing poultices used by the army. Perian decided that a quick foray into the keep with the purpose of eliminating the herbalists and setting fire to the garden would be a devastating blow to the enemy.
Seeing as this was looking to be an incredible adventure I decided to join in. The peasants of Furyondy had little to rejoice in at the time. The war had adversely affected each family either by destroying their homes or by the loss of a loved one fighting in the north. I knew that a rousing tale of valor as told by a great bard such as myself would do wonders for the morale of the country. I knew that this adventure would be the perfect opportunity to create an epic tale that would be the envy of bards everywhere. But I could not just recount the tale - I had to be part of it. To produce a tale of such proportions would require that I risk life and limb for my craft. I needed to feel the anticipation, the fear, the excitement in the air to put into words what was to occur. I wanted my name included in the list of those that performed such a heroic deed. Then, when I recounted the tale the peasants listening would have their spirits lifted! The maidens would be inflamed with passion and fervor such as only the tongue of a true bard could deliver!
So on the 13th of Readyreat, 588 we worked our way towards the fallen keep. Once past the Flare line we needed to move carefully to avoid the infrequent patrols along the bone road. We fought a few minor combats on the way towards the keep against the creatures of the night that always infest the lands devastated by war. But we were in a shock when we arrived at the keep for it had already been destroyed. The walls were in ruins and the gate was broken open like from a battering ram. As we approached the gate we must have crossed an invisible boundary for the illusion hiding the status of the keep was lifted. The keep was whole and defended! Crossbowmen on the parapets rained down quarrels on us as we fled. Only our luck and skill at defending ourselves allowed us to survive that ambush.
A few months later we returned to the keep to try again, but this time we were better prepared. We were able to eliminate the herbalists as well as set fire to the herb garden. Under the cover of this confusion, we stealthily worked our way through the keep and down a stairway that led into some underground chambers. In the dungeons below the keep we were able to free Elijah Morrow who you met a few days ago. He helped us to locate the hidden chamber where the ruler of the keep was situated. It turned out that Border Watch had fought against the ruler before, a conniving mercenary by the name of Cern Igarn. But Cern was an experienced foe and arranged to have a squad of his mercenaries, led by a Lord Erik, intercept us while he fled. Perian defeated Lord Erik, a shieldlander noble turned rogue, in a duel and in exchange for his life guaranteed us safe passage through the rest of the mercenary company above ground.
Although not a complete success, Border Watch had achieved its mission. I still remember that tale with fondness and hope that your first contract is as satisfactory. A few months later the Great Northern Crusade started and the lack of healing herbs hindered the forces of the Old One in the war. The adventures that Border Watch participated in during the Crusade are best left for another evening…"