Tears of the King
I am the vessel of my family's rage, my blade the instrument of their retribution.
Raethrekr Hrafnason, level 3 Human, Paladin Build: Virtuous Paladin Background: Human - Ancestral Holdings (+2 to Diplomacy) FINAL ABILITY SCORES Str 11, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 18. STARTING ABILITY SCORES Str 11, Con 13, Dex 10, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 16. AC: 21 Fort: 14 Reflex: 15 Will: 17 HP: 40 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 10 TRAINED SKILLS Endurance +5, Religion +5, Diplomacy +12, Intimidate +10, Insight +9 UNTRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics -3, Arcana, Bluff +5, Dungeoneering +4, Heal +4, History, Nature +4, Perception +4, Stealth -3, Streetwise +5, Thievery -3, Athletics -3 FEATS Human: Virtuous Recovery Level 1: Power of Winter Level 2: Focused Expertise (Longsword) POWERS Bonus At-Will Power: Virtuous Strike Lay on Hands: Virtue's Touch Paladin at-will 1: Enfeebling Strike Paladin at-will 1: Ardent Strike Paladin encounter 1: Valorous Smite Paladin daily 1: Frost of Letherna Paladin utility 2: Call of Challenge Paladin encounter 3: Fortune Spurned Smite ITEMS Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing), Longsword, Heavy Shield, Plate Armor
From the moment of his birth, Raethrekr, son of Hrafna, Raven-lord of the House of Saeleifr, was different. His golden hair and clear blue eyes marked him so, marked him as one of an order thought long-lost – he was a Paladin, able to channel the righteous fury of the Gods themselves. His powers manifested as he aged, gifting him with the ability to heal at a thought, to strike out at his enemies with tremendous power, to mark those who opposed him with the furious rebuke of his Gods. But without training, his strength was uncontrolled, random. No Paladin yet lived who could teach him to understand and control the energies that flowed through him – all Raethrekr had was his family’s ancient weapons-master, Hafr, his guardian and mentor, who taught him the arts of war, to be one with his weapon, to inspire the hearts of those who would follow him. Under his tutelage, Raethrekr grew into a strong leader and a fearsome warrior, though his powers sometimes had unfortunate and unpredictable effects in battle. After an errant burst of power during a sparring match resulted in a fire, the men began to call him Raethrekr Helgi-eldr – Raethrekr Holy-Fire.
Alas, Raethrekr’s idyllic childhood was not to last, for House Saeleifr was powerful and prosperous, and Raethrekr’s father, Hrafna, had many enemies. One night in Raethrekr’s nineteenth summer, Hrafna’s rivals came for House Saeleifr. The family’s stronghold was surrounded, and the keep put to the torch. Hrafna fell at the gate, attempting to hold back the tide; Raethrekr’s mother and sisters were captured and enslaved; his brothers were killed as they tried to escape. Only Raethrekr, lead through an ancient and long-forgotten gate in the keep’s outer wall by Hafr, managed to escape. Their armor forgotten in the mad rush from the keep, Hafr fell to an archer’s arrow when they were spotted on the roads leading away from his home. With his last breath, he gave Raethrekr his father’s sword, Áslákr, the ancestral weapon of his House. Orphaned and penniless, Raethrekr wanders the land, seeking another of his order, that he might learn to control his power and bring vengeance to those who murdered and enslaved his family. Though he wanders alone, Raethrekr does not believe himself abandoned, for when he gazes into a mirror, it is not himself he sees staring back, but his ancient mentor, Hafr, protecting him even from beyond the grave.
Who were your parents?
My father was Hrafna, Raven Lord of the House of Saeleifr, loyal son of Odin. My mother was Astrid, of the House of Sleipnir.
Were both of them heroes? Just One? Neither?
Neither were what anyone would call a hero, though my father was a warrior.
My father was a mystery to me for much of my boyhood. My memories of him are of a decent, stern man, larger than life, forever clad in the black-tipped armor of the House guard. I did not see much of him until after I became a man.
My mother was gentle and kind, a ray of golden light in the dark chambers of our keep. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever known. I weep to think of what was done to her.
Do you have brothers or sisters?
I did, once. I was the second son of my father, destined not to rule our House but to lead its armies in glorious battle. My brother was Stifr, forgiving, just, and brave. He was a better man than I will ever be.
He died with my father at the gates of our home.
My sisters… they were beautiful, like my mother.
I do not know what happened to them. In truth, I am afraid to ask. The knowledge that they suffered as my mother suffered would be too much to bear. In my heart, they are dead.
Are they heroes as well? Some? None?
I believe they could have been. The world suffered a terrible loss, the night their lives were extinguished. In their name, I will ensure that those who betrayed us will suffer as much.
What socioeconomic status does/did your family enjoy?
Once, House Saeleifr ruled over vast estates. Today, our ancestral holdings are held by a number of other houses, and I am penniless.
Did your family keep servants?
We had many dozens of servants, and twice again as many slaves. Of all of them, only one was of any importance to me – my family’s weapons master, Hafr. That is not his name, of course, but when he refused to tell us his given name – he always was a prideful one – my father named him Hafr, or “billygoat”. I can only hope his real name, whatever it was, befitted his personality as well.
It sits well with my conscience that Hafr did not die a slave – I freed him from his forced servitude on my 17th birthday, as a gift from my father.
Do you remember any battles?
Yes – just one. I woke to the sounds of clashing swords and the screams of the wounded. I could hear my father shouting even from my room. I met Hafr in the hall, and he delivered the terrible news – our House was betrayed, and the enemy was at our gates. I would have joined my father in the keep’s defense, but Hafr would not allow it. There were men already inside the Keep, he told me. Our House was falling, and it was my father’s wish that I escape, if I could.
So I ran. I left my family, my home, all that I held dear, and I ran. May all the Gods forgive me.
If so, did you know someone who was wounded? Mortally?
Too many fell that day. My entire family, all of our servants, even old Hafr, who stayed behind to cover my retreat when we were found out as we passed the curtain wall of the keep.
Was religion a large component of your upbringing?
I am a Paladin. Do you know what that means? Religion was more than a mere component of my upbringing. It is the air I breathe, the blood in my veins. Do you know what it is, to channel the power of the Gods? To me, Hel is no mere idol, no image to worship in silence. Her cold fury fills my body, her voice echoes in my mind. To be a Paladin is to become the hands of a God – she is me. I am her. You cannot imagine it.
If so, what is your family’s patron deity?
For thousands of years, my family has venerated Odin. To honor him, we adopted the Raven as our sigil. Today, I walk another path – one of darkness, of cold, of death. Hel is my mistress, and I am her ready servant. Together we feed her thirst for the souls of the damned.
What is your fondest memory from childhood?
Though my fond memories of childhood are few now, and tainted by the sadness that followed, I count the day that I discovered my abilities as a Paladin as the moment of my greatest happiness.
Are you still close with your family?
That would be difficult, as they have all been dead for years.
Would they quarter you during a crisis?
I very much doubt it.
When was your coming-of-age?
I faced the trials of my house during my 16th summer.
What was required of you during the rites of passage?
To become a man in the House of the Raven is to face death – and triumph.
On the morning of my 16th birthday, my brother came came to my bedchamber, ordered me to dress, as though for battle, and led me to a massive chamber in the heart of the keep. Arranged there was the Obsidian Council – my father’s most trusted advisors, as well as my father himself. He explained what was to come – that I would be tested on all that I had learned, that I must prove myself to the assembled members of my House, both as a man, and as my father’s son.
For 5 days, my mettle was tested, and always I understood the consequence of failure – death, upon the edge of my father’s sword. My skill with the blade was tested, yes, but the son of a noble house is more than just a sword. My knowledge of history, poetry, the rituals of my faith – all of these were questioned, and for all, the same price of failure.
I survived – not without scars, but I survived.
What was the most challenging part?
I did not fear the challenges – not really. What I feared was failure. To fail was to disappoint my father, to disgrace our lineage, to mock the long line of my ancestors, who had passed this test before I was born. Had but a single one of them failed, our line would have faltered and died, but they did not fail. In over a thousand years, no member of my family had failed to pass the test the rites of passage. I promised myself, before the trials began, that I would not be the first. By the fifth day, my promise was all that kept me going.
Have you fought in any battles?
My life since the fall of my House has been defined by battle. Battles against those who betrayed us. Battles against those who would pray on the weak, and foolishly counted me among that wretched number. Battles against the fury that burned in my soul. Most of all, battles against the guilt I bear for running from my family when I could have fought for their survival.
Were you wounded? Physically? Psychologically?
I have been wounded more times than I care to count, but it is not my flesh that bears the scars of my past – it is my heart, my mind, my soul. I pray those wounds may never heal, lest my thirst for revenge wane. My father’s spirit calls out to me, and Hafr’s, demanding vengeance. I am the vessel of their rage, my blade the instrument of their retribution.
Have you ever fallen in love?
My life since the fall of my house has been consumed by a single desire – revenge. She is my cold mistress, my one true love. What earthly woman could match her charms?
Do you have children?
None that I am aware of.
What would you say regarding your schooling?
It was extensive, and wide ranging, but was cut short before it could be completed.
Have you extensively studied History? Arcana? Religion?
History, yes. Religion, yes. These are things expected, as the son of a noble House. Arcana? Those eldritch arts are beyond my ken.
Have you received formal training in any vocation?
I was tutored in many subjects, but the one in which I was most extensively trained was the art of war, of leading men in battle, of blade and shield and banner.
What makes you happy?
Happiness is not an emotion to which I aspire any more. I long for vengeance for my family, and for more training for my Paladin gifts. When I am seeking these things, I am content. Such is the best I might hope for, while my quests remain unfinished.
What do you wish you could have more of: combat, gold, lovers, knowledge?
Knowledge. My training as a Paladin was woefully incomplete.
When you received the Prince’s invitation to the games, what was the first thought that crossed your mind? (See the first post in the adventure log if you’re confused)
That perhaps here, in the midst of so many people, was a way to further my quests. At the very least, I could test my skills and hope to earn a soft bed and a warm meal, though I hate myself for hoping so. How low have I sunk, that I would come at the beckoning of a spoiled princeling, just for food and lodgings?
Do you plan on competing? In what?
Yes. My varied education presents me with a number of possibilities, but I find that I am at my best when reciting the epic stories of my ancestors.
Do you have any scars, tattoos, birthmarks?
None that are visible.
What is your hair color?
Golden blonde, like my mother.
What is your hair style?
Long and partially braided.
What is your eye color?
Blue, like the northern skies in high summer.
What is your body style and build?
I am naturally fit and well built, as befits one who spend most of his early years training for battle.
Do you exercise often?
I can afford neither bed nor food. I find that walking everywhere while not eating helps maintain a trim build.
What types of clothes do you wear?
Anything I can find that fits well and holds back the cold.
Do you favor a color?
Yes. The colors of my house were black, white, and gold, and I favor those above the others, though of late my options have been somewhat… limited when it comes to my wardrobe.
What is your greatest pet peeve?
I cannot say. I strive to be just and understanding, like my brother.
How would you react if you were forced to take the life of an innocent?
Who among us is truly innocent? None. From the moment of our birth, we are tainted by the dark world in which we move, and by the black depths of our own spirit. I take life when necessary, and tarry not on questions of innocence. My family was decent and happy, and they were not spared. Why should anyone else deserve more justice than was received by my House?
Would you rather sleep on the ground or on a soiled bed?
Once, I would not sleep on anything less than freshly laundered linens. Now… now, I will take the bed, and damn the dirt. I am growing sick of sleeping under the uncaring stars.
Would you steal food if you were starving?
Even now, I will not steal. If I cannot find food lawfully, then I will not eat. I have not yet fallen that far.
Would you steal food for another if they were starving?
I am a son of a noble house, dirty though I may be. If I will not steal to feed myself, why would I steal to feed a lesser man?
If you see two people fighting, do you intervene?
Their business is their own. I would not interfere, and I would expect the same courtesy from them, were our situations reversed.
If one pulls a weapon?
Death is a fact of life. Those who find themselves unable to face the end of their lives alone are the least deserving of mercy.
Do you drink alcohol?