As a student of the arcane arts Yared Muldove is required to spend so many hours perfecting his craft, and what better way to do this than pragmatically and for a fee. He and his fellow students have taken to visiting the village of Redstaff and hiring out their services to the tavern with the caveat that they are students, meaning that their magic sometimes doesn’t work as intended. Yared’s real secret is how successful he truly is. His wards have helped to keep numerous creeping things in the darkness at bay, tricks he’s acquired from the wandering wizards and a necromancer by the name of Hawkin Redghast. During Yared’s first days in the Wizard’s Academy, Hawkin was a mentor, teaching him the many navigable corridors and where to find Teachers who would complement his skills rather than hold him back.
As a Warder Yared learned a great many ways to protect with the power of spells, and Hawkin provided him with a multitude of practical tips for avoiding the undead and abominations that would otherwise overtake a quiet village like Redstaff. Rather than hoard these secrets like many of the students in the Academy, Yared made the village into his own proving grounds and over the years has been refining his talents and tricks to protect the denizens therein. Most in Redstaff don’t even notice the many little flowers or how the trails take a peculiar winding path, although his runic wards are noticed on almost every doorway and on the roads in and out of the village proper. Businesses in the village hire him to improve, renew, or cast wards to protect against a variety of problems, including against fire and inclusion of ghostly powers.
Yared’s parents live very far away, having pooled a sum of coins to afford him his journey and stay, now all that remained was for him to become a successful mage. His skills are ever refined and his work put to the test all too often, for while his wards usually holds the occasion comes when they do break. Although he is not from the village of Redstaff he has taken a liking to the many denizens, and when his spells fail and someone gets hurt, he takes any loss personally. It makes the long journey between the Wizard’s Tower and the village a grueling period of worry. The extent of his concern is so great that some of his teachers have seen fit to allow him the use of crystal balls usually reserved for special divination classes, allowing him to monitor his progress as a warder and allowing him to keep his eyes on the people he’s come to enjoy the company of.
Kord Rokamat is an older dwarf of one hundred and forty years who relocated from an iron mining colony in the west. The Rokamat clan has been carving out the bones of the earth for millennia but the family has never crawled out of the poverty that comes with working a mundane metal. Not content to struggle Kord left his clan at a young age and went to find his fortune in the rarest veins, chasing myths of moonsilver and artifacts of dwarven miners long since passed. He never found the moonsilver, and in chasing it he threw away every opportunity to hunt out jewels or even mine the leodite stone used in crafting the finest dwarven alloys. His time spent with masters was not unfruitful, he learned valuable skills that would have carried him so much further had he remained with any of the mining companies. He once was hired to manage a gerunite mine, but left when he caught wind of a moonsilver lode in the Ironcrest Hills through a traveler who told him of sizable chunks being sold to the open market.
When meeting with the owner of the mine, Itinany Fo, he was taunted with a large mostly formless ball of moonsilver which was said to have come fresh from the mine. It would be some time after pouring every coin he didn’t have into the fiend’s hands that he would learn the ball was a family heirloom from an ancestor who first found the mine hundreds of years ago. Throughout all of the intervening years only a hand full of ingots had ever been pulled and all of them within the first decade of occupation. The Fortune’s Rest Mine was expanded upon feverishly in the many profitless years it had failed to support the family, and now they had made from it what virtually none of the Fo family in a hundred years had accomplished: They made enough to escape. It was enough to nearly break Kord who has not since suffered a fool or a sly hand without a fierce temper to answer in the years since.
Kord was not about to chase the wily family across the realms, instead he focused on turning the Fortune’s Rest into something more than just a sinkhole, with a long trained talent he wandered forgotten tunnels and mapped his acquisition in its entirety, enjoying the slightly too large manor house with all its rotting furniture and supports when he returned from a long day of trudging. During his inspection he cleared rock falls and debris, polished rough tunnels and brought in his own supports wherever necessary, it was grueling work of months but he came across iron and copper deposits that would support expansion and crews. Soon he would have enough to trade for more than his worker’s wages and maintenance, he could even fix up his mansion with goods from Redstaff. During his few years with Fortune’s Rest he has scrimped, saved, and invested in the mine enough to see a comfortable living that affords him the peace of a tavern and a fool to entertain him. He’ll take in a show regularly when the troubadours in Redstaff gather to play.
Daughter of a prominent family who did a majority of the trading in the region since the beginning of the mine. While the Redstaff mine had been opened by another family the Redblaine’s were one of the first to begin the trading of the ore they carved out of the earth. With trading being in the family for so long Thorna grew up on father’s knee reading ledgers and balancing books for her homework. As a teenager she was kidnapped by a thieves guild for ransom. While captive her suggestions fell on the ears of an ambitious thief who implemented them and watched as their business became more efficient, above board, and most importantly profitable enough to entice even these thieves to agree to not only follow her advice but also release her in exchange for future advice. While the thief would go on to become a thieves’ guild regent over the region Thorna’s dealings increased threefold, especially in the absence of her father who took ill after a lifetime of indulgence.
With her father now residing in comfortable retirement Thorna took control of not only her family business but became a fierce political force whose involvement in the Merchant’s Guild brought her acclaim among her peers. With her at the helm she incorporated a number of smaller traders under her business’s flag and was able to balance the needs of the people employed and receiving the goods, as well as her bottom line. Anyone looking at her books would see an immaculate representation of her ever growing empire fueled by her meticulous and scrupulous nature, yet still the villages of the region will whisper suspicion of underhanded dealings being the real secret to her success. Thorna’s not even remotely concerned by the attention, it helps to keep some potentially troublesome individuals from attempting to move in.
Most recently Thorna was promoted within the Merchant’s Guild to Local Guildmaster, which has afforded her a greater responsibility that she has ever known. Fortunately Thorna loves the challenge and thrives in the hectic nature of her profession and birthright. By all accounts she is a glowing success with ambitions tempered by her keen awareness of her abilities. In time she means to advance in the Merchant’s Guild, and bring her business with her as she climbs the ranks. For now she enjoys the leisure time she can afford, drinking wine and playing games in the local taverns that benefit most sharply from her watchful eye. Few of the business deals Thorna has a hand in go awry, and those that do are solely by the strange happenstance that a magical world can afford. A vampire attack can be prepared for, the spontaneous opening of a ring of fire connecting to the elemental plane underneath a wagon of goods cannot be protected against. The magic required to protect cargo from troubles like that simply wasn’t available for turnips, but she did manage to up-sell a number of such protective measures to shipments of more important items like ores and magical components following the event.
Working hand in hand with a throng of traders from the realms many corners, including those like Marcus Quorio and the Banendae Sisters, has made Beltrain Hanover one of the busiest of bodies in the whole of Redstaff. His youth affords him a greater strength and speed than that of his competitors and his smart eye of a needy hand has made him a tidy sum, not that his effiency or wealth has allowed him the time to slow down. Hanover is in it alone, aside from his business associates who struggle to maintain a trailing pace, he supports himself and his business with the sheer strength of will to see the next day. It’s not his dream to pursue the task, but it fell to him one day by chance when his stall had been purchased by another merchant for the majority of their stock. Not realizing the great call for healing potions had not been as answered as they had thought in the wake of a bridge’s collapse, this merchant was forced to purchase back his stock, at three times the selling price of course.
Having no choice but to accept the poor deal the merchant called Beltrain a foul little scrounging git, which tickled Beltrain all the more. There was a heartwarming chuckle waiting at the end of every deal when he made out like a bandit, which he often did as many merchants and traders would be soon acquainted with him. Villagers would commonly pass them on to the young Hanover, preferring to deal with someone they know instead of a stranger, and Hanover soon had enough coin in his coffers to hire revenge for a sour deal and to shower his loyal customers with discounts. His masterminding is far from perfect but his judge of character and knowledge of the village keep him on top when others crumble, not too many years from now it’s not inconceivable that the Alderman would see the value in laws that forced Beltrain into every such deal.
For now, Beltrain contents himself with his break neck pace and hires the watchful eye. Those who fail him are fired and bounties are set on the heads of those who cross him. Young and occasionally ruthless, Beltrain stops just short of the dirty or bloodthirsty deed, choosing to crush his opponents with the deals and distemper that he can manage. He’s not so foolish as to cross the Mastermind, nor the Alderman, and he endeavors to keep the two of them at arms length for as long as it suits him. Keeping hands and eyes off of his stock is a real task and their cooperation has its limits, the remedy of which was bigger and better locks, magic protection, and hired muscle. Many of the people whom Beltrain pays are to ensure the safety of the goods, as their loss can mean the end of his empire before it rises.
Harvile Clynen once lived in the realm’s city capitol of Orynn, where a wild youth saw him in stockades and prison more than once. Without family, having left them behind to find himself, he had no anchor to keep him grounded and he flew free. His days were spent languishing with beautiful people who would keep him for his jovial manner and youthful exuberance. To make coin he would perform feats, back-flips onto tables, scaling buildings in record time and leaping from them to land neatly. But as time went on he was paid to do more than simple tricks, soon he was engaging others, from simple rudeness to violence in record time as well. It was when he assaulted a young man on the request of his noble friends that turned out to be a cousin of the King himself that he was imprisoned for a serious investment of time. Harvile turned to his noble friends, who denied their connections with him entirely and walked out of his life forever.
So abandoned, the Captain of the Guard who was a man of normal stature but imposing bearings took pity on him. When Harvile confessed to the crime wholeheartedly with courage he was sentenced with hard labor at the Captain’s discretion. This took the form of a post as a guard at the Gate. Harvile was blessed with a great many privileges and taught to defend himself against the terrors that would devour a green soldier such as himself. Only a few harvest seasons would pass before he was a free man, having saved his fellow guards time and time again through valor and showing an enthusiastic embrace of the concepts of duty, honor, and self-worth. Harvile could not stay in Orynn though, his previous employers pestered him for favors that his new found honor could not stand or survive. Turning them down became dangerous as nobles in Orynn are not often denied their desires and have not yet learned to live with rejection, especially when that can mean jail time for them as well. Returning home had never been an option before, not without having made something of himself, he feared he could only hope to insult his family with what he saw as his crawling return. The parting had been sudden and much had been said and not meant, but he needed them and it turned out that they needed him too.
With little more than his sword and a single change of clothes he was barely accomplished, yet when he returned home to Redstaff his family whole and well Harvile received a warm welcome. Bandits had raided them to poverty and the final blow came when they could not afford the food needed to survive. His father had gone out to hunt and wolves had him tried for days before he had killed enough of them to return, laden with their carcasses but crippled from their initial attack. The wolves fed and clothed them and put a little coin in their purses for a little while. His mother Clement and brother Illvix had managed to keep enough going to save the home but soon they would have nothing. He found a job in defending the town against the rampant bandit problem that has earned him the respect of the region and enough coin to restore the Clynen family with a little left over to allow for the comforts of a tavern.
Frandreselle Oakenbridge is a milk maiden on her family ranch, located on a generous portion of gently rolling hillsides and sparse copses of trees near the Ironcrest Hills. Her family’s land supports a healthy number of shaggy cattle who shower her with a great amount of affection. While other farms have cattle, few have the number necessary to supply more than themselves; the Oakenbridge ranch, however, has more than enough and it is also responsible for some of the finest cheeses in the region. Her mother Mary-Luelin brought the recipe with her from her home in the far north-western mountains where snow and shaggy goats were the most common sight. With a little alteration to her ancient recipe to accommodate the cow flavor, she churns out an impressive amount of cheese with a great portion of the milking barn dedicated to storage and aging of their cheeses. Frandreselle, or Fran to her friends, passes out free samples to those walking in the streets and in the establishments she serves with a genuine generosity of spirit.
While not rich they are not poor and the Oakenbridge family works tirelessly, hiring a great many of the villagers for a variety of tasks including apple picking and wrangling the great beasts out to and back from the fields. But it is Fran who oversees everything to do with the milk; from collection and storage to distribution it is Fran and her word is law. Those few who are still new enough to not know are quickly exposed to the raw power that handling cattle her whole life granted her. Fran has been known to lift a churlish man who was a head taller than herself like he was a child. When the cows become ornery it is Fran who wrestles their heads down into submission, and when someone takes advantage of her kind nature it’s often Fran who bends them in half in ways they were not designed to go. The great fortune of Redstaff is that Fran doesn’t throw her strength around, allowing fragile egos from across the realms to wander through never guessing her coy smile could break them as bad as any monster.
The modesty and strength are traits natural to the Oakenbridge family who hail from other lands a few generations before, now forgotten. Her father Engleton is gentle and strong like her mother, the two work tirelessly and shower their family with praise and those in their employ with the same generosity as Fran, with a single exception. The thieves, thugs, and rogues who wander through thinking they’ll take more than they’ve earned or been gifted, those who think the family or cattle are easy marks quickly learn that generosity hides a fierce response to such roguish intentions. For those Engleton has a disastrous temper, on one occasion even burning down a shed with thieves in it having welcomed them into his home for a sob story only to overhear their blunt disgust for his kindness as they were robbing him. Drink calms his temper, so many times he and his daughter can be found in the village proper, or more appropriately in any village tavern, and such visits are now becoming more frequent in the face of a rising tide of crime.
To be an Archmage is to have spent the equivalent of a life time studying the magical arts and their intricate designs. The Wonder of the Archmage to be able to not only understand, but to be able to execute effortlessly the tricks of the trade that require the full power of a younger man, to bend the laws of reality and surpass them entirely. The power that an Archmage exudes is palpable and every word said can be as sacred as from a prophecy. And so it is the same with U’han Por, Archmage. He is a household name on the road to the Wizard’s Academy, many a village knows his passing as surely as the students who earnestly study for decades the material he had written when he was no older than they. U’han Por is no Wizard, not born to the skill like so many others, but he had a knack for it, for all things magical. And a wise grandmother saw that he got the training he needed from an early age.
With the aid of a great many individuals, now many of whom are dead, U’han was able to crack the mystery of the Giant’s Throne, to unlock the centuries old Targa Box, and to journey across the Realms of Destiny, of the Dead, the Elemental planes of Five Guardians, the Sunlit Grove, and the Zak’Ral Mirror World. It is no wonder then, that so famous a mortal man would choose to avoid the throngs, travelling only the more secret routes and less observed lengths of forest. The village of Redstaff was even smaller when he first passed through, his patronage brought tiny empires into being among them and the village prospered as a throng of magic users would invariably follow shortly after, close on his heels for the chance to observe some secret or trick, or maybe even to test themselves. Although Archmage Por has been gone for more than ten years now the people of Redstaff know what he likes, and make way to accommodate him and his followers, his return is the start of another boom for the area.
His love of the simple people and seclusion make this a regular stop for him, but the thing sets a tavern apart by his estimation is comfortable seating and elven wine. U’han Por acquired a great fondness for the exquisite wine during a long stay among the elven high courts. Although he had gone to learn of the nature of the faeries who were more involved with the elves than most of the other species available, the discovery of elven wine and the bold move to adjust the nature temple complex within was enough to kick him out. Since the adjustments caused the Faeries to leave the court for a term of fifty years the Archmage is no longer welcome to return the high court, so any place where he can find a taste of that fond memory secures his return, which in turn secures the return of others eager for a word with him. It is fortunate that U’han Por has time for the common mortal magic user on a rare occasion, and the barkeep fortunate enough to secure him can count on his intervention. “For what is power if you do not occasionally wield it.”
Celemony Agranor is the adopted daughter of the orc Urtz Malgma and human Burgru Agranor the infertile couple of the Malgma clan who had been instrumental in the growth of the Redstaff mines in days long gone. The Malgma family has since moved on, leaving Urtz and Burgru in frustration until Celemony was discovered in the wild grass fields where their animals normally graze. The couple, desperate to nurture, welcomed her into their life. Celemony took the name Agranor after her father and the two of them were quick to notice the unusual strength of magic their daughter possessed. Celemony grew fast and wild in the woods around her home, feeling some kinship out in those parts. No one returned for her in fourteen years and in that time her parents encouraged her growth by practical application. Her talents were varied and her skill was wild but when she meant it, when scared or hurt, when determined the magic within her manifested in precise and powerful fashion.
It was the night she tried to save their oxen by setting raiders on fire from the inside out, in which she was a rousing success, only to begin to uncontrollably burn everything she laid her eyes on including Burgru, that Urtz and Burgru sent their daughter to the Academy for her apprenticeship. After three long years Celemony has at last mastered herself and now travels abroad, following in the footsteps of Archmages as she is passed from scholar to scholar in an attempt to find her limits. Thus far she has none beyond her own initiate skills, the teachers watching her grew concerned during some of her endurance tests, when asked to create water as long as possible she needed to be contained by expert mages and wizards lest the whole of the island become flooded. The experience has been rough and the lessons hard on Celemony’s carefree and ever increasingly rebellious spirit and she has since run off to Redstaff for a vacation.
Here at home for a brief period her magical gifts are restoring her ranch and protecting her family. Heartfelt confessions of fear for her life and their own were laid out in great detail when pressed as to why her parents would inflict such a punishment as to send her away, as well as the honest conviction that she would be able to do amazing things thanks to these hard times. Although angry, Celemony silently agrees. To ease the contradicting emotional turmoil that her ever changing life was forcing on her, in her own words, she sought out the taverns which she had been denied all the many years of her youth. Being an apprentice was not particularly well paying but she had performed extraordinary tasks that had earned her both coin and time off and she spends most of both drinking the mead she had come to love while training alongside a warrior mage and watching entertainers in taverns. Lars had insisted and Celemony agreed that there is no point drinking if nothing entertaining is happening.
Quintessa Olivia DuMont is a ruthless senator in the City Gates. Snobbish to a fault and downright vile to her opponents on any field of contest, she is a force to be reckoned with and truly has intentions of making the kingdom a prosperous one. Although young for a senator, she is fierce enough to fight on equal grounds with any of her ‘superiors’. The laws and regulations she concerns herself with are those which dictate the lives of the people, and unlike her fellow senators Quintessa has an eye for detail, for revisions and clarifications. She is often abroad, discovering from the people themselves what it is they suffer from and struggle with first hand. She was a bitter pill that the people assigned their dignitaries to consort with on their behalf, so that few would feel the lash of her tongue or have their secrets scrutinized. On her many circuits through the towns and villages of the kingdom she has seen to security and fairness of her people but her iron will has left an impact on the fouler forces.
The DuMont are descended from the earliest settlers of the region, noble even then among the tribal rabble by the virtue of their leadership. The most famous of examples of which were of the family organizing the people against Dragon attacks. Their guidance held the land together and kept people safe against forces they could not overcome as individuals. The DuMont are similarly famous for having a plan, a legacy which Quintessa holds dear especially after the many attempts on her life. Those nefarious creatures that would strike her down are anticipated at almost every turn, and for those that are not she has a team of mercenaries that travel up and down the country lanes scouring for any hint of violence. Their loyalty is legendary but their identities rarely publicly known and their pledge is only for the DuMont, or more appropriately only Quintessa herself as the rest of the family has been absent from their usual frivolities.
As an accomplished highborn Lady of the region Quintessa is learned in more than just her favored politics, but also in the many available styles of self-defense and it is rumored even a little magic. Her instructors came from the many corners of the Northern Realms, and their skills were not wasted on the young woman; as she matured so did her her mastery of them, and any other thing she has bothered to learn. From the peasants she has learned much of farming and though change is slow she has made progress in areas that previously struggled. All her accomplishments by themselves would not be a means to catching the King’s attention, but her fearless capability matched with her genuine will to secure the people in her charge made her irresistible. Her time spent with the King is in actuality terribly boring for the gossips of the court so the rumor mill churns out endless affair stories and saucy tales, dogging her every move as she travels through the countryside, enticing the constant barrage of the weak minded or weak willed who mistake her for some damsel and not a DuMont.
Thieves are an understood byproduct of success in any honest habitation but Murkin Tradewind has become something of a notorious one in the village of Redstaff. Known foremost for his truly terrible skill at his chosen profession, Murkin, while awful, usually manages to knick little things such as wallets and purses. It’s ill-fated luck that his ambition far outstrips his talent. Frequently he aims for the higher marks in town, the Alderman, the nobles, and even guards, and frequently he is punished or reprimanded. Yet somehow Murkin always ends up on the streets again. There is plenty to suggest that Redstaff is beset by the selfish and cruel, but Murkin’s continuous freedom in the face of ever increasing severity of charges suggests that the village is home to more than a few ruffians but perhaps a full blown thieves’ guild.
The whole of the village knows he is a part of it, but no one dares to question the young thief about the underworld boss behind it. In Redstaff the thieves aren’t supposed to target the villagers only the adventurers who pass through. Only Murkin pokes around in his own backyard and secretly does so for the ruling echelon of the village. His frequent failures allows the village to play ignorant to the thieves guild, acting as a victim as well when serious headhunters pass through looking to punish. While those headhunters stay in the village their coin fills everyone’s purse, part of a scheme that feeds the village. For this Murkin takes phenomenal abuse and temporary incarceration and the village treats him like a favored, spoiled son. Murkin was not born in Redstaff but claims to have family among the villagers, none claim him today but all continue to welcome him in their own ‘unseeing’ way.
Being the village whipping boy is a lucrative business, not just monetarily in those little unseen ways. Murkin, when not doing an impressively bad job at sleight of hand tricks, is often recovering from wounds or rough treatment following a failure or two in a tavern or pub. Most of the tavern allow him, but only because Murkin discovered that if he spent every coin he palmed in the tavern he palmed it there would be no complaints. Small and wiry but tough and charismatic Murkin also enjoys a fair bit of attention from the rebellious young farm girls who know his bad streak is definitely criminal and distasteful, but also that he will only go so far. After the incident with the noble’s daughter Murkin learned where to draw a line, and he did so without the pinky and ring-finger of his left hand. Rather than lament the loss of his digits the intrepid thief learned that his maimed hand fits into tighter places more stealthily, and now he’s had a rare taste of forbidden fruit and lived to tell the tale.