Legend of Grrawl

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    • Legend of Grrawl

      Grrawl lived in a small farming village outside of Lymhurst with his wife and two children. It was a peaceful village where everyone looked out for one another. Then the Avalonians came and left a path of death and destruction in Albion. Grrawl's village attempted to parlay with the invaders so the town might be spared. The village leaders said they would bend the knee and supply the Avalonians with food and materials if the village would endure. This was satisfactory to the Avalonians however, there was a mage that took a keen eye to Grrawl's wife and cast a spell on her. She took Grrawl's wife as her own and left. Sometime later the Avalonians were repelled from the land and the village was liberated. Grrawl began a quest to find his wife. He left his son and daughter in charge of the farm and instructed them to keep things going for when he returns with their mother.

      Grrawl started training in the harsh winters of the mountains around Fort Sterling. While he trained and learned how to fight, his body became hardened by the harsh weather but his heart remained warm with the compassion of his village. When he met other travelers, he was willing to help them as much as possible or feed them a meal of fish that he just caught. He learned hard lessons about not picking fights he could not win and that not all travelers were to be trusted. There were many setbacks during his quest early on and as time passed his children began to worry. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months but not a word was sent from their father. Grrawl's children, Alec and Lyn, decided to search for their father. They sold the farm so they would have the funds to travel and purchase gear. They first checked Fort Sterling but they learned that he had moved on from there.

      Alec and Lyn decided to split up and search for their father. Alec made his way to Thetford and Lyn went to Lymhurst. Both agreed to make those locations their homes so they could find each other. They also established a guild in Bridgewatch called Universal Exports, named after the front company from one of their father's favorite stories. This arrangement allowed them to have a waypoint between their cities so they could share resources and gather together if needed. Both Alec and Lyn heard occasional tales of their father passing through the various cities but had yet to see him arrive. This gave them hope he was still alive. Other travelers talked of a kind man who gave them fish or helped them slay foes. Tho his reputation was not famous, they were proud and glad to have Grrawl as their father. They looked forward to the day when they would see him again, confident it would be soon.

      * what you have read here is just the first story, scroll down for more *

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Grrawl: cleaned up the copy a bit. was very clunky. Still needs work I think. ().

    • Heya,

      This is great. I like the concept of having a story about what you are doing, it gives you more direction in a land where anything is possible and everyone has a chance to make their own story.

      I hope the Son and Daughter find their Father after all... Who knows what love for one's wife could make someone do, love can make you passionate, and driven. I know the power of siblings is very strong as well, with teamwork, perseverance, and dedication to help their Father on his journey through a vastly expanding and deadly world of Albion... Once, and if, they find him at last.

      Grrawl seems to me to be like Socrates, in a way? Maybe not exactly, but helping others with a kind heart along his journey to find the lost love that was stolen from him.

      If there's another takeaway from this, be careful being a mage willy-nilly in Albion, you may have a strong-hearted, yet passionate Grrawl right behind you. He may be a good man, but you never know what a lost love would make him think of you.

      Awesome story here, I look forward to seeing what happens in the future.
    • Alec and Grrawl reconnect in Thetford
      Alec was returning to Thetford after a hard day of gathering when suddenly a face he had longed to see appeared at the city entrance from Willowsigh Marsh. It took Alec a moment to recognize his father because Grrawl's beard was long and hair had gone grey. Grrawl was also wearing a cape made of bear hide, his armor was covered in the blood and guts of animals he had slain, and his pack was full of ore to refine. Due to the heavy load, Grrawl's focus was on driving his ox forward and trying not to trample those in front of him. Alec walked slowly towards his father and stood in his way, but Grrawl was so focused he didn't recognize his son. The noise of the city was so loud Alec had to shout to get his father's attention. Grrawl was not expecting to hear the familiar sound of the voice of his son and almost fell off his ox when he looked up and saw him. Grrawl dismounted and they embraced each other in a hug that you would expect from a father and son who were uncertain if they would meet again.

      Grrawl's first question was to ask where was Lyn. Alec informed Grrawl of what they had done and that she was in Lymhurst also keeping watch for him. Grrawl let Alec know that he joined a guild of craftspeople and has been learning the trades so he could eventually raise the funds needed to travel to the faraway lands where the Avalonians live. Grrawl had learned the hard way that the outlands were not for the faint of heart and was determined to not repeat the mistake of going there unprepared. Grrawl gave Alec the funds needed to purchase an island in Thetford so they could have a farm and home in that city as well. Grrawl also took Alec to his island home in Caerleon where he was spending most of his time. He told Alec that he had also joined a small group of archivists that are tasked with the upkeep and curation of the information about Albion and the lands and the Avalonians.

      Grrawl asked Alec to come to Caerleon as often as possible so he could help take care of his farm there. He also asked Alec to gather ore, wood, and leather in Thetford so that Grrawl would be able to craft armor and fire staffs. This would ensure he would have the equipment required to take the fight to the Avalonians when the time comes. Grrawl then deposited his materials with Alec and sent word to Lymhurst for Lyn that he was coming to see her and to wait for him there. Alec thanked his father for his help and kindness. Alec also joined the Thetford faction so he might get any news of Avalonian raiders in the area while also gaining access to the powerful Thetford cape and durable swamp salamander mount. Grrawl was proud of his son's resourcefulness and looked forward to the next time they would meet. They parted company and Grrawl set out for Lymhurst.

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Grrawl ().

    • Grrawl Departs for Lymhurst
      Grrawl made the journey from Thetford to Lymhurst many times before but this was the first time he was so conflicted. He was moved with a father's eagerness to see his daughter again and hold her in his arms, but also he also knew he must make every minute count while on a trip. With this in mind, Grrawl proceeded to collect every bit of fiber he encountered on the route. Before he left Thetford, Grrawl sent word to Lyn to expect him in a few days with a stop in Fort Sterling. By the time he arrived in Lymhurst, his ox was overflowing with fiber. His ox resembled a carnival float of absurd proportions. Grrawl entered through the Yew Wood gate and was greeted by his daughter's uproarious laughter of delight. Grrawl knew how much Lyn loved to pick flowers and to see him arrive with such a bouquet was overwhelming for her. When he dismounted, a cloud of pollen and fiber debris exploded around him. Grrawl ran to her and the cloud continued to ploom out from behind him. They embraced in the biggest hug of Lyn's young life, and the cloud moved towards them and then completely enveloped them both in pollen.

      Grrawl proceeded to purchase an island for Lyn in Lymhurst as well and asked her to also help tend his farm in Caerleon when possible. He also asked her to regularly set out to gather fiber, hide, and stone to aid him in crafting equipment. Lyn told Grrawl that her and Alec had set up a base of operations in Bridgewatch. Grrawl found himself quite impressed with the resourcefulness and determination of his children. When Grrawl departed from them at the farm in their village months prior, he was worried that some ill fate would befall them. He was confident the villagers would take care of each other so there was also some safety there. Seeing that both of his children had started to learn the warrior's ways and even managed to join armies of the cities they resided in, he no longer feared for their future. Grrawl knew at that moment, that when the time comes to enter the world of the Avaloninas to look for his wife, the mother of his children, his children would be by his side. While their numbers were just 3, the strength of their love and determination to rescue the lost member of their family was far greater.

      ** fan art supplied @greyfacedman **
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      The post was edited 2 times, last by Grrawl: added fan art ().

    • Grrawl’s Birth
      Grrawl's name is a story of tragedy and determination. Grrawls mother was a human who fell in love with a Keeper tribesman. Their love was shunned by both societies so they traveled far from home. They built a homestead in the swamps in an area that would later lie between the cities of Thetford and Caerleon. At that time, the area was sparsely populated so they were able to live unmolested. When it was time to trade with others, Grrawl's father would make his way to the neighboring keeper encampments, while his mother would look after their home and farm. They lived off the land, hunting animals and farming.

      Then came the day when they were blessed with the news. Grrawl's mother was with child. Because of the physical differences between his mother and father, the pregnancy was of great concern to them both. His mother was visibly very pregnant by the 6th month. A short time later the unthinkable happened. It was as if the swamp opened up and a small horde of Morgana sorcerers, acolytes, and soldiers swarmed through the lands. Grrawl's father saw the destruction they were leaving in their wake when returning from trading with a nearby Keeper encampment. During his ride home, there were areas where the swamp was ablaze. His heartbeat was quickened and he spurred his swamp salamander to gallop as fast as it could. He arrived to see their home on fire and his pregnant wife leaning against the great bloodoak that was in front of their farm. She had been mortally wounded but was still alive. He steeled his emotions, quickly dismounted, and ran to his beloved. She told him how 3 Morgana soldiers had come demanding all they owned but she fought against them like a warrior. She told him that while in their home she was able to fell two of the soldiers with her spear but the third had flanked her and dealt the fatal blow. Knowing her time was short, she told Grrawl's father to cut their child from her body before she died to save its life.

      It is hard to understate the trauma of such a request, even for a Keeper of Albion. Grrawl's father embraced his wife one last time, drew his dagger from his belt, and proceeded to cut his child from her still-living body. Grrawl's mother learned the traditions of the Keepers from her husband and knew their techniques for childbirth. The roar she bellowed as her belly was cut open to release her child was like that of a bear's roar. It was so fierce that the swamp salamander retreated away from her. In her last breath, she saw her child lifted from her body by the man she loved. He placed their son in her arms as she expired. Grrawl's father decided since he was given a son, Grrawl's name would be the sound his wife bellowed bringing him into the world.

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Grrawl ().

    • Holy heck this is a great story - lol. I feel like I can picture the scenes as you explain them in great detail. The backstory you have here is amazing, slowly explaining how you are what you are and how your name came to be, and the purpose behind it (however tragic it may have come to be.)
      I enjoy reading these as they are produced sort of like a daily short story to continue the Legend of Grrawl himself while unraveling each piece moment by moment to come to a definite, ultimate conclusion... Really interesting to say the least.

      I look forward to the rest of the timeline... Very fun to read, it gives you a different outlook on the game - sort of like a quest that has been happening all along while we were all oblivious to it taking place; all while this was happening in the background, and we all had no idea! Lol.

      Beautifully written. *claps*
    • Seeking Aid

      While their home burned to the ground and his wife lay dead against the great bloodoak, Grrawl’s father knew they needed help. The closest help that would welcome him is the Keeper encampment a few hours away. Grrawl’s father took a few moments to gather what he could that might be worth anything to trade and looted the bodies of the 2 Morgana soldiers that his wife killed. He loaded 2 polearms, a few hundred silver coins, 4 goat sandwiches, and 2 healing potions. Grrawl’s father also found 1 goat still alive and tied a rope on it to lead it along and provide milk for his newborn son. They mounted the swamp salamander and departed for the encampment.

      As the sun begins to set, Grrawls father was encouraged to see the orange glow of a fire coming from the encampment. The closer they got, Grraw's father noticed the eerie silence all around. In times past when Grrawl’s father came to trade, there would be the sound of conversation and music while the evening meal was prepared and eaten. They entered the encampment and Grraw’s father saw why things were so quiet. All the Keepers had been slaughtered and the fire he was seeing was not a cooking fire but several huts set ablaze. Grrawl’s father spotted the chieftain's hut amidst the fire, but it was still standing though the fire was moving towards it. He knew that inside could be directions to another encampment so he ran in and searched for anything of use. Inside the hut, he found a Keeper’s cape hidden under the body of the chieftain. He brought the Keeper’s cape out and draped it over himself and his son while they sat by the fire to stay warm. He brought the goat over for some milk to feed Grrawl before they laid down for the night.

      Grraw’s Father woke at sunrise to the sight of fires that had consumed the huts and were now extinguished except for some smoldering ash. He stood up to shake off the morning dew and as he did, he discovered a map hidden in the lining of the cape. He removed the map and Grraw’s father found it will lead them to another Keeper colony hidden in the mountains of Creag Meagir. Based on their current location, Grrawl’s father estimated it would take them 4 days to travel to reach the Caverns and so they set out immediately.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Grrawl ().

    • Arrival at the Keeper’s Hidden Caverns

      The trip to the mountains of Creag Meagir was uneventful and while the sun was high in the sky, Grraw’s father was able to start to make out the outline to the entrance of the hidden caverns. The area seemed to be undisturbed and there were no signs of any Morgana soldiers in the area. They entered the cavern and were greeted with a burst of warm air, and the sight of two Knifelings standing guard. Grrawl’s father approached them, and they drew their weapons and commanded him to stop. Grrawl’s father turns his back to show the Keeper’s cape he was wearing to the Knifelings to indicate that he is a chieftain. Acknowledging his standing as a chieftain, they invited him into the caverns and escorted him to a sitting area. They brought him and Grrawl some food while someone went to fetch the leader of the colony.

      Some time passee and Grrawl’s father spent the time talking to the Keepers that brought him food. He learned that this colony was quite old and was a seat of power in the area. Suddenly a low thud sound was heard off in the distance, followed by another. The sound grew louder and the ground started to shake. A few minutes later, while the sound continued to grow and the earth continued to shake, an Earthmother came into view.

      She stood before Grrawl’s father, staring intently at him for a few moments. Then for the first time in many years, his Keeper name is spoken by another Keeper. “What brings you here, Alecitour Granitefist?” Grrawl’s father told her the tale of the last 5 days, and the destruction the Morgana soldiers left across the land. He was careful to omit that the mother of his son was a human, just allowing the implication to exist that things didn’t work out with the human he was last seen with. He also implied that he was living with the Keeper encampment that he was trading with. He told her that he was away from the encampment during the attack and showed her the cape that he was able to recover from the hut before it was consumed by fire.

      The Earthmother took the cape, thanked him for bringing it to her, and then bestowed it back on him. She gave him the job to train the Keeper defense forces in the caverns so they could be ready should any Morgana soldiers find them. Grrawl’s father thanked her for the generosity and pledged his fealty to her and the community.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Grrawl ().

    • Grrawl’s childhood growing up amongst Keeper children

      The years passed, and Grrawl grew to a young child. He was a bit smaller than most of the other Keeper children but there were a few other “runts'' that he became friends with. His strength was a near match for them and they would play together: direbear cub wrestling, throwing rocks at baby stone golems, fighting each other with various bones.

      When 12 years had gone by since their arrival, it became obvious that Grrawl was different from all the others. His height and bone structure was smaller than even the runts. In fact most Keeper children half his age were taller and stronger than him. There were two things that kept him safe: his father’s position in the Keeper defense forces as the Master of the Guard, and the fighting skills his father taught Grrawl over the years. Grrawl had a compassionate and gentle heart and that was also considered a weakness by the Keepers. Grrawl discovered that some of the Keeper children that targeted him due to his size eventually left him alone when he refused to fight back. There was no glory for them in beating down a smaller opponent, especially if he was seen as weak. Grrawl knew he could easily take them because when sparing this his towering father, he was able to strike his father with great force. Grrawl also realized that if he ever showed his strength, the other Keeper children would all want to fight him to prove their might.

      Grrawl had a studious mind though and had no desire to become a warrior. Alecitour, Grraw’s father, recognized this at an early age. While Grrawl did engage in the typical Keeper games, if invited to play, he was usually targeted by the other children and would lose quickly. When alone he would study the glowing mushrooms, talk to the Will-o-Wisps, or watch the Druids practice their skills. Alecitour made sure to give him as much education as he could from the lessons taught to him by Grrawl’s mother and some tutelage from a Druid friend of his. Alecitour knew that the limits of his ability to educate his son were nearing and that if he wanted his son to be accepted in a community, Grrawl would have to leave the Keepers.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Grrawl ().

    • Grrawl’s father’s decision to send Grrawl away to learn the ways of humans
      Within the first few years of living in the Keeper’s caverns Alecitour, Grrawl’s father, realized there was a good chance he would either have to take Grrawl and leave or send Grrawl away. Alecitour would talk to the Earthmother about the history of the Keepers in this part of Albion under the guise of just learning about the community. While that was true, the real reason was to learn if there were any human communities nearby. She told him of a land across the sea that was rumored to be the home of the humans that used to live in Albion. It was said when the humans first landed, the sun was rising behind them so any adversaries would be blinded by the sunlight.

      With this information in mind, Alecitour went on to spend time studying w/ the Druids and getting any additional information he could find. By the time 14 harvest seasons had passed, it was obvious that Grrawl would need to leave the Caves and go live with the humans. His father had a plan already in motion. Every spring they would go on an adventure together to the ocean to camp, hunt, fish, and survive in the wild. For Grrawl, it was just a game and quality time with his father. For Alecitour, it was training his son to be ready to survive alone in the wild and to prepare him for the journey across the sea. In the early years, they would make a basic raft and go out on the water to swim, fish, or paddle around so Grrawl would learn the basics of surviving at sea. Alecitour would test him with games that involved celestial navigation and how to find fresh water in the wild. Grrawl’s inquisitive mind relished the challenges his father put to him.

      In the four seasons leading up to what would be their last trip together, Alecitour and Grrawl began work on a larger ship that could go on the ocean for days at a time. It had 3 masts and 5 sails that would allow it to move at great speed. It could easily be crewed by two people, especially due to Alecitour’s enormous size, but one could also work the ship and Alecitour made sure that Grrawl would not have any issues when that day came. Grrawl never suspected this was the plan though. He just thought it was an epic father/son project that they would work on every season.

      During the trip in the year of the 14th harvest since they arrived at the Keeper Caverns tragedy struck. Alecitour and Grrawl were working on the ship to make some final adjustments and preparations to set out to sea. The ship was offshore a little and Grrawl was on it securing the supplies. Alecitour was on the beach staring proudly at his son. Suddenly out of the woods came three direbears, freshly awoken from their hibernation. They approached with stealth and suddenly attacked Alecitour as he was standing with his back to them. He tried to grab a tool to fight back with but the bears quickly overpowered him. From the ship, Grrawl heard the sound of the bear attack, looked to the beach, and was horrified to see this father being mauled. Grrawl grabbed a knife and 3 harpoons from the deck and jumped off the ship and into the water to swim to the beach.

      By the time he arrived, he was too late to save his father but not too late to attack the bears that took his father from him. He screamed a mighty yell that was a combination of rage and sadness then hurled the first harpoon at the nearest bear. The yell caused all three of the bears to stop eating and look at Grrawl. As they did, the harpoon pierced the closest bear through the eye and into its brain. The bear fell back in pain and began to thrash around. The other two bears, having fed and seeing danger coming at them, turned and ran back into the woods. Seeing the other two turn to run, Grrawl charged towards the prone direbear and with a mighty leap, impaled it with another harpoon. The strike was true and went clean through the heart of the bear. Within seconds it ceased its thrashing and was dead. Grrawl kneeled down on its chest, his hands still on the harpoon, and began to weep bitterly. His tears flowed down the shaft of the weapon and mixed with the bear’s blood. Grrawl looked around to see that there was nothing left of his father but bits of flesh and bone. Grrawl got a shovel and dug a grave for his father near the beach where they camped the last 4 seasons. Alecitour had told Grrawl at the end of each trip, that he hated to leave this place because it was so beautiful. Every time the sun rose over the ocean it reminded him of the beauty of his long-dead wife and the gift of a son she had given to him. So that is how Grrawl positioned the grave, facing the sunrise. He gathered what remains he could and placed them lovingly in the grave.

      Grrawl then set about dealing with the dead direbear. Keeper tradition was to not let an animal's death go to waste, and in this case Grrawl was going to make sure his father’s death was not in vain. First, he skinned the bear and set the hide up for drying. Then he proceeded to break down the bear for meat. Grrawl and his father were to go out on the boat for a few days to test it and this bear was now going to be the main course. Grrawl prepared some steaks out of the meat and loaded it onto the ship, but the rest he set up in a solar oven to be turned into jerky that would last for weeks if needed. Anything that was not edible, Grrawl turned into a slurry to use as fish bait while at sea. Grrawl then cleaned the bones and collected them onto the ship.

      The next day, the jerky was ready by mid-day and the hide could be loaded onto the ship. Grrawl said goodbye to his father’s grave and loaded the rest of the gear onto the ship. Once onboard, Grrawl was at a loss for what to do next. He wanted to test the ship to finish his father’s dream of them building it, but it felt so empty to do it without his father. Grrawl was carrying the hide below deck when he found his father’s journal with a note on top of it. The note told Grrawl that it was not safe for him to stay with the Keepers any longer and he needed to leave. HIs father was going to return to the Keepers and say that Grrawl had died in an accident. The tragic irony overflowed onto Grrawl as he began to weep again, but through the tears, he continued to read. Alecitour told him of the land across the sea where humans live and that Grrawl would be able to blend in with them. He explained that in his journal are notes,a chart, and that if Grrawl sailed towards the rising sun, in a few days he would arrive in a new land. Alecitour encouraged Grrawl to be brave, remember the lessons he was taught, and that his greatest achievement was the son he raised.

      Putting the letter down, Grrawl wiped his eyes and finished preparing the ship. At sunrise, he would pull up the anchor and set sail for this new land and honor his father by living a sacrificial and virtuous life.

      ** fan art supplied @greyfacedman **
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      The post was edited 3 times, last by Grrawl: added fan art from @GreyFacedMan ().

    • Grrawl’s travel across the sea in search of a new land

      As the sun rose on the first day at sea, Grrawl set out looking towards a future that was uncertain. He was able to see a shoreline in the distance and estimated that he could make it there by sundown. Grrawl struggled through the day to man the ship alone but he was able to get a hang of managing the sails and navigate over the course of the day. By nightfall, he had arrived at the shores of a strange land shrouded in fog. He set anchor and bedded down for the night.

      Exhausted by the work of the previous day, Grrawl awoke mid-day and realized he would have to wait till near nightfall to accurately know what direction to head. Grrawl’s father had taught him the Keeper knowledge of navigating by the stars and now Grrawl would have his chance to be tested for real. With the sun sinking closer to the horizon, Grrawl set sail with the sun at his back. Sailing alone at night was a surreal experience. There was no noise except the sound of the ship cutting through the water. Grrawl discovered several things as he went into the black of night. First, the ocean was full of light, just like the stars in the sky, except the light he was seeing was from various sea creatures under the water. The second thing he noticed was that it was tranquil, but he was also overcome by an extreme sense of loneliness for the first time in his life. He began to weep again over the loss of his father and how his father would have loved to see the sea at night. Midway through the night Grrawl grew tired, collapsed the sails, and set the rudder so he would stay on course.

      The next day when Grrawl awoke, there was no wind. He spent the day fishing off the side of the boat, using bits of the bear meat to attract fish. He was able to catch quite a few, and even managed to draw the attention of a few sharks. The following day was more of the same, there was no breeze at all to speak of. Grrawl again spent the day fishing and noticed two of the same sharks came by again, and to Grrawl seemed strangely friendly. The day passed without any breeze to speak of and Grrawl took inventory of his freshwater supply and figured he had a couple of weeks' worth if rationed properly.

      At mid-day, Grrawl was awoken to a thumping on the side of the ship. Fearing he had run into something, Grrawl quickly ran topside and found himself still in the middle of the sea. He walked to the side of the ship and found the two sharks that had been visiting him, bumping into the side where Grrawl had been fishing from and feeding them. Grrawl got some of the bear meat and tossed it to the sharks and they quickly consumed it. Grrawl then had an idea. He took more of the bear meat and dropped small bits into the water slowly around the ship. The sharks followed the trail of meat. With this successful test, Grrawl had a risky idea.

      First Grrawl gave the sharks quite a bit of meat till they were full and docile. Then he made 2 bridals out of wood and rope for the sharks and tied the ends to the front of the ship. He then tossed the bridals into the water and lowered himself into the sea. The well-fed sharks swam over, and Grrawl nervously watched as they approached slowly. They allowed him to pet them and were quite friendly towards him. Grrawl had trained some with the Keeper Druids and had learned how to tame animals and even talk to them at a basic level if the animals were calm. Grrawl was able to compel the sharks to accept the bridals, and then Grrawl climbed back onto the ship. He was able to then ask the sharks to start to swim away from the setting sun, and suddenly Grrawl was on his way again.

      Grrawl and the sharks traveled this way for about a week before he was able to spot land off in the distance. As they grew closer to the land, the winds started to return. Grrawl removed the bridals from his traveling companions, gave them a farewell meal, and set the sails. The sharks followed alongside him for a ways, but as he got closer to the shore, they departed from him. With this new land in sight, and night begins to fall, Grrawl saw lights in the distance along the shoreline and further back. No matter what happens next, Grrawl knew his time of being alone at sea was coming to an end.

      ** fan art supplied @greyfacedman **
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    • Grrawl’s arrival in the foreign land

      Coming into port, Grrawl could hear people conversing in the distance in a language that was completely foreign to him. Uncertain if it would work, he chanted a spell taught to him by the Keeper Druids that allowed him to talk to the Will o Whisps in the caverns. Suddenly the noise being created by the small crowd at the docks turned into clearly understood language. Which was fortunate because one of the voices was addressing him to come into a specific dock at the port.

      Grrawl knew he could not tell these people that he came from another land that may be unknown to them, so he told the dockmaster was coming in from the southeast, he was ready to say he was from the southwestern part of the country but had gotten lost in a storm that carried him far from home. The dockmaster heard this story and had no reason to doubt Grrawl. It was not unheard of for small ships to get lost at sea and bring a stranger into port. Others at the dock were more suspicious of Grrawl and were less welcoming of this stranger. Grrawl found the nearest fishmonger and sold the three dozen fish he caught over the last two days with the help of his shark friends. He then took the silver he was paid for the fish and was able to buy a small fishing net to increase his catch while at sea.

      The next day Grrawl set sail again from the coast towards the southeast with the sun at his back. A few miles off the coast, he encountered his shark friends again who were waiting near the area Grrawl had left them the day before. Grrawl treated them with the remains of the bear meat and they proceeded to fish together. The sharks found a school of fish and drove them towards Grrawl’s ship and near the surface of the water. Once the fish were in range Grrawl tossed the fishing net into the water and enveloped a large quantity of the fish in the net. Being part Keeper, Grrawl’s strength is exceptional compared to a normal man’s. Pulling in 50 fish in a net would be impossible for someone alone at sea, but for Grrawl as just a hard day’s work. The weight of the fish almost caused his ship to capsize as he pulled the catch onto the deck. Once the fish were out of the sea, the sharks began to feast on the rest of the school. Grrawl secured his catch and returned to port, grateful for the help.

      After a few months of fishing like this and regularly returning with a large catch, Grrawl managed to not only earn a decent living, but also a reputation as an exceptional fisherman. It was not long before he had young men coming to him asking to apprentice under him to learn his trade. Grrawl refused them all not wanting to reveal the secret help he was getting by the sharks. One day as Grrawl was coming into port with an exceptionally large catch of fish, the local Lord was inspecting the docks and waiting for Grrawl to arrive. This Lord had heard of this stranger in town that could catch two to five times the number of fish in a day as any one man in the town. Grrawl tied off his ship and instructed the local fishmongers who were waiting eagerly for him, to unload the fish and pay him for his catch. The Lord called Grrawl over to him, and even tho Grrawl did not know this man, Grrawl could tell by the clothes that this man was important.

      The Lord asked Grrawl about his life and what Grrawl wanted for his future. Grrawl said that he was not sure and while he enjoyed fishing, he was taught many other things and would one day like to resume his studies after saving up enough to go to an academy. The Lord informed Grrawl that, if he was willing to permit him, the Lord could get Grrawl admitted to the regional Academy of Science. Grrawl eagerly accepted the offer and asked what the Lord wanted in return. The Lord informed Grrawl that he wanted nothing other than for Grrawl to take the knowledge he gained to make the world a better place. The Academy was several days' ride away and Grrawl knew he would not be returning for a long while to this area. He made an agreement with the dockmaster to allow his ship to be rented out and used, and Grrawl would allow the dockmaster to keep all the proceeds if he took care of the ship. This was more than satisfactory to the dockmaster. The next day, Grrawl set out to sea for what would be the last time for a while. He met up with the sharks and communicated a goodbye to them. They fished together one last time and feasted on much of the catch. Grrawl returned to the port with a both a heavy heart saying farewell to friends, while also being excited for the future and the start of a new adventure.
    • Grrawl’s meeting his wife and their life together before coming back to Albion

      Grrawl’s first season at the Academy of Science was full of new experiences. Though he was learning the local language slowly, he still relied on the spell to understand it fully. Grrawl knew that having to use the spell all day would be too much of a drain on him, so one of the classes he enrolled in was the teaching of the language to children. There, he became friends with a female student whose focus was on languages and their interpretation. Grrawl was fascinated by her and they spent their evenings together studying and getting to know each other. Grrawl was just glad to have a good friend and didn’t realize that she was attracted to him as more than a friend. It was nearing the end of Grrawl’s first year at the Academy and they were just hanging out and playing a card game. As the night got late and Grrawl got up to leave, she leaned in and kissed him. Grrawl was a bit caught off guard by this but responded in kind to her advance. It was then that the deep love of friendship he had for her bloomed into a romantic love as well.

      Grrawl invited her to the sea for some of the time off from their studies. He took her out on his ship to go fishing and they spent several days at sea. The first day was rough for her because she had never been to sea before and was made quite sick from the rocking of the ship. Grrawl took care of her and helped her get her sea legs and overcome the sickness using the skills taught to him by his father and the Keepers. She was amazed at his talents to alleviate her sickness. They spend the nights talking and Grraw starts to tell her stories of his childhood, but he is vague about them enough to where she thinks he is just making up these fantastic tales of giants, caves, and such. This endears him even more to her and at the end of the stories each night she falls asleep in his arms.

      After returning to port, Grrawl insists that he gets to see where she is from next. They travel several days inland to her town and Grrawl gets to meet her parents, Throgdor and Lyndale. Grrawl is warmly received by her parents and they spend a few days there so Grrawl could experience the culture and traditions of her family and town. One night, Grrawl was able to ask Throgdor if he would permit Grrawl to marry his daughter. Throgdor asked some very pointed questions about what Grrawl imagined their future would be like. Grrawl explained that while they are getting an excellent education, the future is not known but he is confident that together they can face any trials that would come their way. Throgdor asked about Grrawl’s parents and if he could meet them. Grrawl told him that his mother died after giving birth to him, and his father had passed away a couple years ago, leaving the details vague as to the cause. Throgdor told Grrawl that he would be honored to have a son-in-law such as Grrawl and would look forward to the wedding day. In his excitement, Grrawl then went to her and immediately asked if she would marry him. She knew Grrawl was up to something when he went away to have a conversation with her father, but was still overcome by emotion at the proposal and was barely able to say “yes”. She squealed so loud it shocked her parents who were watching in the distance but were not prepared for that noise. They all celebrated the occasion and agreed to set the wedding for the next summer.

      Aside from the wedding the following year, their time at the Academy passed quickly. Grrawl worked hard to complete his studies in the building and design of tools, machines, weapons, and armor. He also studied the creation of magical objects as he was quite adept at it from his time studying with the Keeper Druids as a child. She finished her studies as a language interpreter and was prepared to start work for the regional High Lord when she discovered she was pregnant. Grrawl realized that he would have to be providing for his wife and children soon, but having just graduated from the Academy, the best work he would get is as an apprentice and that would not be enough income to provide for them. Grrawl reached out to the Lord who had sponsored his admittance to the Academy and asked if any opportunities might pay better. Grrawl was informed that a select group of willing adventurers would be paid by the King to travel to a new land to the south east that was just discovered. The Lord told Grrawl that it was several days' travel and it was rumored to have an abundance of riches if someone was willing to go there. Grrawl sent a reply to the Lord that he would be more than willing to go and any help to get him approved would be most appreciated. Grrawl told the Lord that if he returned, he would share any riches he was able to bring back with the Lord as an expression of gratitude. Ten days later, Grrawl received a letter from the King granting Grrawl rights to travel to this new land as a representative of the King. There was also a crude map drawn by the explorers who had just returned from this new land called Albion to help guide Grrawl across the sea. There was also a large bag of silver to fund the trip.

      Upon getting the confirmation of this job and the payment for it, Grrawl excitedly shared the news with his wife that he managed to get a good paying job to provide for them but they would have to move far away. At first she was confused and upset by this news. The thought of leaving her parents behind, especially with a child on the way, was very traumatic for her. Then Grrawl started to share with her where they were going and shared a secret he kept from her till now since it had not been relevant before. Grrawl told her that he was from this land and would be returning home for him. She asked if his parents were really dead and if anything he told her was true. Grrawl asked her if she remembered the stories he told her the first time they went fishing on his ship. She said those stories were her favorite, so how could she forget them. Grrawl told her that they are all true and are from his childhood. Her eyes grew wide with awe and excitement. She only asked that they send a letter to her parents telling them about this journey and to give her parents a chance to see them off. Grrawl agreed that they could give some time since it would take a few days to travel to the docks where his ship is berthed and then a few more days to arrange provisions for the trip. They sent a letter and instructed her parents to meet at Grrawls ship in 4 days.

      When Grrawl and his wife arrived at the docks, they could see a few new ships were in port, also getting prepared for travel. These ships were large prison transports, and seeing one was not unusual but to see so many in port at once was cause for concern. Grrawl approached the dock master to ask how his ship was and what was the story with the prison transports. The dock master replied that Grrawls ship was in good shape and would be ready to sail in a couple days due to the abundance of supplies that were in town for the prison transports. This brought Grrawl to his second question, why were all these ships here. The dock master informed Grrawl that the King was sending the worst of the worst criminals or those serving long sentences to some other land that was just discovered. Grrawl’s face turned white at this news. Grrawl knew things would be hard for him and his wife just due to the wild animals of his homeland, and now they would also have to compete with these criminals too.

      From behind Grrawl suddenly came a loud shouting. “You who are going to sea are puppets of the King!” “These ships are filled with those who spoke the truth!” “This town and all others give half their revenue and resources to the King!” “That same King then funnels that silver and resources to Merlyn!” “You there!”, he points to Grrawl, “When did you wake up and decide to be a puppet of the King?” Grrawl began to explain that he was no one’s puppet but a man with a family to care for and was trying to do so. Having tried to debate fanatics in school, Grrawl quickly recognized there were no words he could say that would satisfy this person. As Grrawl walked away to prepare his ship, he heard these last words: “Does karma spare the ignorant?”

      Grrawl and his wife spent the rest of the day checking the ship for damage and wear to ensure it was ready for the long trip. Her parents arrived in town that evening and they spent the next two days both preparing for travel and celebrating one last time. Her parents were sad for them to leave, but understood Grrawl and their daughter needed to find their own way. Grrawl told them that if it was possible to return or visit, they would come back when they could to see them. The next morning at sunrise, the two families embraced and said their goodbyes, then Grrawl and his wife set to sea. The prison ships were still on port or anchored off the coast, so Grrawl was hopeful that he could get his family to Albion before the prison ships.
    • Grrawl and his wife arrive in Albion in time for her to give birth to the twins

      After 5 days at sea, with strong winds pushing them towards their new adventure, Grrawl and his very pregnant wife spotted the shores of Albion in the distance. The light reflecting brightly from the snow-covered ground acting like a beacon to guide them in. The next day, they reached the coastline and Grrawl recognized they were close to where he had set out from a few years prior. An hour later, Grrawl sees the grave marker he left for his father and anchors the ship just off the shore. They take the dingy and Grrawl rows them ashore with a few provisions to be able to travel in-land to the Keeper Caverns that he lived in as a child.

      They spend the night on the shore and wake early in the day to begin the hike inland. Due to how pregnant Grrawl’s wife is, the travel is slower than normal and so they arrive outside of the Caverns as night begins to fall. When Grrawl and his wife start to enter the Cavern entrance, several Keeper knifelings and bonethrowers jump out from hiding and command Grrawl and his wife to halt and state their names. Grrawl and his wife are shaken by the sudden confrontation, but Grrawl recognizes one of the voices as a friend from childhood. Grrawl says his name and that he has returned from a long journey and is seeking shelter and aid for him and his wife that is due to give birth any day. Grrawl’s friend steps into the light and brings a torch up to illuminate Grrawl’s face and recognizing his long-lost friend, gives him a hearty hug. They are brought into the Caverns by his friend and the rest return to their posts.

      Grrawl and his wife are given a place to sleep for the night and some food. Grrawl asks if the Earthmother still lives and is told she does. Grrawl tells his friend that he needs to speak to her immediately in the morning because he has important information for her. The next day Grrawl and his wife are taken to see the Earthmother. It was helpful that Grrawl told his wife the stories of his childhood and then made sure she understood these stories were true because the sight of the Earthmother was still frightening to her. So much so, that she immediately went into labor. The Earthmother, having been alive for more centuries than she can count, immediately took action to assist in the birth. She ordered commands to the druids to aid in the delivery and a couple of hours later Grrawl and his wife were able to meet their daughter, and shortly thereafter, their son. As the Earthmother hands the children to Grrawl’s wife to hold them, she places a giant finger on each of their tiny heads and says a prayer of blessing on them for good health. The children start to glow with a slight greenish-golden shimmer for a few seconds and then it fades away.

      While Grrawl’s wife nurses the children and is cared for by the Keeper midwives, Grrawl and the Earthmother have a long talk over the next couple of days. Grrawl starts by telling her about where he has been and that humans are coming in a few days from the same land Grrawl just came from. The humans being sent are some of the worst of the worst and enemies of the king there. Grrawl shows her the map where they are expected to land. The Earthmother recognizes it to be the highland and swamp region which is several days' travel from the Caverns, but there are Keeper encampments out there that will be at risk. She immediately calls for a group of swiftclaw riders to mount up and go out to warn every Keeper encampment they find that humans are coming back to Albion and to greet them peacefully but be ready to defend their camps if needed. The Earthmother thanks Grrawl for this warning and tells him that he may have saved many lives. The Earthmother calls up for another group of messengers, one for each of the biomes of albion, to head to the main Keeper Cavern in each one and let the Earthmothers there know that in two day’s time, they will need to cast the ritual of life at sundown. While the messengers depart Grrawl asks the Earthmother what this ritual is. She tells Grrawl that it is ancient magic that when cast by the five tribes will cause every being that lives in Albion to no longer die when killed but their bodies will instead vanish and after a short time, re-corporate at their home.

      Two days pass and Grrawl’s wife has recovered her strength. Grrawl is given a snow sled driven by a small team of goats to aid in their travel back to the coast. What took almost a full day the first time, only took a few hours with the sled. Grrawl and his wife arrived back at the shore with plenty of time to get back aboard the ship. As the sun sets below the horizon, Grrawl and his wife look to the sky to see rainbows of light moving across the sky like a ribbon in a stream. After an hour the lights faded away apart from the occasional flicker of light.

      The next morning, Grrawl pulls up the anchor and they set sail for the forest region opposite of the highlands that the humans are expected to land. They easily arrive in a half day's time to that side of Albion. Grrawl sails for a while till a cove is found where they can anchor the ship safely and be close to shore. The next day Grrawl, his children, and his wife go ashore with their goats and other provisions to set up a camp on the shore. The next day Grrawl goes on a scouting run to the woods to find the nearest Keeper tribe to let them know he and his family are in their lands and mean no harm. Grrawl is first greeted with caution due to the warning of the Earthmother from Inis Mon. Grrawl proves to them that despite his size, he is from a Keeper family too and afterward they welcome him and offer assistance to his family. Grrawl returns to his wife and children at the end of the day with 5 Keepers ready to help build their home. Because the Keepers are so large, it takes them less than a day to cut, move and prepare the logs needed for Grrawl to build a small house for his family on the clifts overlooking the cove of the area the Keepers call Oakcopse. After three days, the house is assembled under Grrawl’s guidance and a feast is prepared using one of the goats given to Grrawl by the Earthmother before the Keepers depart for their home.

      In the stillness of their first night in their new home, Grrawl’s wife leans back into him, holding their children, and asks Grrawl if it is time to name their kids. Grrawl agrees that it is long past time and his wife says that their son should be named after Grrawl’s father that managed to raise a man that could be caring and compassionate, yet strong and hardy in this land. Grrawl agrees to it and in turn says that their daughter should be named Lyn after his wife’s mother who instilled a heart in his wife that is looking out for the needs of others and willing to give generously to strangers in need. She is touched by this and agrees. Grrawl then knowing that he has no surname, and yet they were common in the land of his wife’s birth, decides to create one for his children that will aid them as they get older. He gives his son the surname of Grrawlson, and his daughter the surname for Grrawlsdauter. This is so anyone that encounters them who knows Grrawl will offer them the same grace and treatment they would offer Grrawl if he were there.

      ** fan art supplied @greyfacedman **
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      The post was edited 1 time, last by Grrawl: added fan art ().

    • The childhood of Lyn

      In the early years of Lyn’s childhood, it was clear to her parents that she was the dominant personality between her and her brother Alec. Whether this was because she was first born technically or just her nature is not known. What is known is that she almost seemed to relish bossing around her brother. In spite of this, her and Alec were best friends.

      Once Lyn turned five, she showed a keen interest in the care of the farm and livestock. Lyn would get up at sunrise and gather water from the well for the crops and the livestock. She would then gather any crops ready to harvest. Any that were damaged by bugs or animals were given to the livestock. She had a natural gift for caring for the animals and under her watchful eye, they grew strong and their young were more likely to survive and grow up. To help protect the farm, Lyn started using a bow. Her shots were mostly used to scare off predators due to her low strength at first, but her accuracy became increasingly good. One of the games she and Alec would play was Alec would toss something in the air and Lyn would try to hit it with an arrow.

      Grrawl also trained Lyn in how to kill the animals she hunted and the livestock they would eat as painlessly as possible. This was a technique Grrawl was also taught when he was a child and lived with the Keepers. This skill also ensured that the meat would not get tainted by the kill and most of the animals would be used to eat. Before the kill, Grrawl would offer a prayer of thanks to the animal’s spirit for their sacrifice to feed his family. Grrawl stressed to Lyn that this was the critical first step before the kill. Lyn also learned the favorite meals of her mother and father. She became quite the cook by the time she was ten. By this point, she was also a skilled hunter and could kill a wild boar with her bow with just five shots, but the first one would typically cripple the animal so it could not run.

      In the years between Lyn’s 7th and 10th birthday, new people started to arrive in their area from across the great sea. Grrawl was suspicious at first thinking the King had sent more prisoners over, but these proved to be more civilized and reasonable, even if fully armed. Slowly a small village was set up near Grrawl’s farm and a basic wall was erected around it. This greatly reduced the danger of predators to the family farm. These new neighbors also created lots of opportunities for Grrawl and his family to earn even more from their farm and hunting skills. While Grrawl and his family were trusted by the Keepers in the area, the new families that came were not trusted. Grrawl attempted to parlay between the Keepers and the humans, but the greed of the humans was too much and eventually, animosity grew between them. Grrawl tried to convince the humans to live at peace with the Keepers and that together they would be stronger, but the humans considered Albion theirs to conquer. Grrawl was eventually able to negotiate a truce between the Keepers and the humans so they would stop fighting and not encroach in the lands occupied by each other.

      On her 12th birthday, Grrawl presented her with a marvelous gift. In the days prior to her birthday, Grrawl traveled to Inis Mon for a special trading trip. He returned with a Keeper artifact that was blessed by the Earthmother herself, a carved bone from a Direbear. Grrawl with the help of the druids there crafted this bone into a Bow of Badon for Lyn. This bow greatly improved her hunting ability, though she was warned to not shoot her brother with it no matter how funny Alec looked getting electrocuted the one time she did do it. For the next 3 years, Lyn was invited by the nearby Keepers to the first big hunt of the season after winter left. Lyn would usually come home with at least 1 moose for the family but stories of all the other animals she was able to help bring down with the other Keeper hunters.

      It is on returning from this last hunt that the Avalonians came to the village. The village leaders struck their agreement to supply the Avalonians with food so long as they were spared. Lyn entered the gates with her kill from the Keeper hunt as the Avalonians were departing. A couple of the monks grabbed the Moose she had brought down and was bringing in with the help of her brother Alec. Grrawl was already nearby because he was still trying to plead with the Avalonian mage to release his wife from the spell when he saw this happen. With the speed of a lightning bolt, Grrawl rushed to his children to restrain them from fighting back. He quickly told them to let it go and to say goodbye to their mother, even though she could not respond to them because of the spell she was under. The days that followed were dark ones for Grrawl. He was wrought with sorrow and grief for the loss of his beloved wife. Lyn stepped up to care for him and continued to work the farm for those days and it was partly because of her unwillingness to give up that helped break Grrawl from the bonds of his sorrow. Lyn never took the time to grieve the loss of her mother. Whether it was the need to care for her father, or the belief that her mother would return, Lyn did not feel sadness. She only felt the desire to be in good health and honor her mother with how she would live her life.
    • The childhood of Alec

      Alec was born with a full head of bushy hair and was nearly impossible to hold because of how much he would thrash and wiggle. While Alec was still under the care of the Keeper midwives for the few days after his birth, Grrawl and his wife rested in the HIdden Caverns of Creag Meagir. The midwives said that Alec had the spirit of a direbear in him and would grow to be a fearsome warrior. This message worried Alec’s mother and didn’t bring any comfort to Grrawl, but they accepted it.

      As Alec grew older, he showed a mischievous spirit and took great pleasure in tormenting his sister. He would hide her toys, and trick her into looking away while eating and then steal a few bites of her food. Alec learned quickly that harmless pranks were fine, but to hurt his sister or anyone else was not okay. It was his mother that was able to get through to him best. She was able to make him understand that damaging people or things that were not his was not okay. The only time Alec would be still was when he would sit in his mother’s lap, watching the sunset, listening to stories from her homeland. She would tell him of the great sailing ships she saw in port when she and Grrawl left for Albion. She told him about the village she grew up in and about her parents. She also made up stories of fantastic beasts and adventures of a brave young warrior. Alec was certain he was the warrior and would envision himself as such.

      When Alec turned five, Grrawl started to teach him some basic self-defense and melee weapon techniques so he could defend Lyn while she used her bow to scare off predators. Grrawl gave Alec two axehandles to use as clubs or noisemakers to help scare off any wolves, boars, or even bears. Alec enjoyed practicing with them, especially the making noise part, and would run and dance around the farm clapping the handles together for what seemed to be hours to the rest of the family. He would also sneak up behind Lyn, Grrawl, or his mother and suddenly bang the axehandles together and get a jump out of them. Lyn eventually got very good at tracking her brother so he was not able to surprise her as easily, but he still found new ways of getting a fright out of her. He would hide around corners and then as she passed by, jump out at her, or Alec hide under Lyn’s bed and grab her ankles. Her shriek of terror followed by Alec’s uproarious laughter told Grrawl and his wife that everything was okay.

      On Alec’s 8th birthday, Grrawl took him to the Keepers at Inis Mon to begin combat training with them and the other Keeper children. Alec was only ¼ Keeper so his size and strength was much less than the full-blooded Keeper children. The advantage Alec had was that he was very agile and quick, which made him very hard to grapple or hit. It was these abilities that first caught the eye of one of the teachers, a Bonecrusher Axemaden named Margovia. She started giving Alec additional training using small axes. When she discovered he already had basic training using the axehandles, she was even more impressed. Alec advanced quickly in his lessons as an axe wielder. Alec would stay with the Keepers for six months and then Grrawl would fetch him to return home to help with the farm for the growing and harvest seasons. While home with his family, Alec would be educated by his mother. He was very bright but his education was not as advanced as Lyn’s since she was getting taught year-round by both Grrawl and her mother.

      During the spring of his 10th year Alec was humbled by nature. He was on watch with his sister in the early evening. Alec and Lyn could hear predators hungry from a long winter as they prowled in the forest near the farm. Lyn had her bow at the ready with an arrow knocked. Alec had his two small handaxes and was in a defensive stance. In the light of dusk, Alec saw the glint in the eyes of something staring at him from the woods. They both knew to not approach the woods but let the predator make its move into the open. Alec and Lyn stood their ground, watching and waiting. After a while, Alec started to get bored, so he clapped his axeheads together to create a loud bang but this only startled the creature for a moment. The creature continued to stand in place, coldly staring at the children. Alec could see that the creature was not running off, so he took a couple of quick steps towards it and let out a mighty yell. The creature retreated into the woods a little but continued to stare at Alec, almost daring him to give chase. Alec was only a few feet away from Lyn when she reminded him not to get too near the woods. If there was one thing Alec hated, it was getting told what to do by his sister. The only thing he hated more is when she told him something he already knew. This triggered his wild and rebellious spirit. He turned to face his sister and while backing up slowly and with a look of defiance he shrugged his shoulders as if to say “What, like this?”. Each step he took towards the forest Lyn protested and he continued to taunt her. Lyn raised her bow and fired her arrow into the woods where the creature was standing. In a flash, the creature vanished into the darkness of the trees. As a reaction to an arrow going by him, Alec turned to face the woods and saw the area where the arrow landed just into the forest. While Lyn was knocking a second arrow, Alec told her he would go grab her arrow and be right back. Alec approached the arrow holding his two handaxes in one hand and bent over to pull the arrow out from the ground. He never saw the second creature, a wolf, crouching in the shadows to his left just waiting for him. In the blink of an eye, it had pounced on him, knocking him down to his back, and began to tear into his shoulder with its teeth. Lyn looked up just in time to hear the sound of the attack immediately followed by her brother’s cry in agony. She took aim and put her arrow through the heart of the beast. It collapsed on top of Alec who was bleeding heavily from his wounds. From inside the house, Grrawl came running out at the sound of his son screaming in pain. Lyn was already running to get Alec when her father caught up to her and they both carried Alec out of the woods.

      Grrawl surveyed the scene and saw the eyes staring at him from the darkness that his children had spotted earlier. Grrawl spoke some words in ancient Keeper, gestured with his hands and a green glow started to emanate from the eyes of the creature. Grrawl then commanded the creature to come to him, and out from the shadow stood a large, black direwolf. Grrawl told Lyn to look after her mother and the farm for a few days then scooped up Alec and mounted the back of the direwolf. In a flash, he was off towards Inis Mon. Alec was in and out of consciousness for the ride and Grrawl had to focus on both guiding the direwolf and keeping his son awake. Normally the ride to Inis Mon would take Grrawl a couple of days, but the speed of the direwolf allowed them to arrive before the first watch of the night had finished. The torchlight from the Keeper guards illuminated Grrawl’s face as he lept from the direwolf with Alec in his arms. One of the guards was quite familiar with Grrawl and Alec, and seeing the blood-soaked clothing, quickly ushered them inside. The guard called for a Druid to come up quickly and while Grrawl set his son down on the first bearskin bed he could find, the Druid arrived. The Druid immediately cast Generous Heal which stabilized Alec. Grrawl expressed his gratitude to the Druid who told Grrawl he was glad to be of service to someone that has been a friend to the Keepers. The Druid told Grrawl that more healing magic would be needed to allow Alec to keep his arm and that this magic takes time. Grrawl asked if it was possible to teach him this magic since he studied with the Keepers of Creag Meagir. The Druid informed Grrawl that he could teach him the spells over the next two days if they studied constantly and it would also allow other Keeper Druids to do intensive healing magic on Alec to speed his recovery for travel. When two days had passed, Grrawl and Alec were given some provisions and a Keeper horse to ride back home on. Two days after leaving the Keepers of Inis Mon, Grrawl and Alec arrived home after being gone for almost a week. Alec’s mother and Lyn rushed out of the house upon hearing the sound of the horse approaching. Both embraced Alec with a hug, and even tho he was still in pain, Alec didn’t pull away from it.

      For Alec’s 12th birthday, Grrawl got a special present for him just as he had done for Lyn. This present however was delivered by Alec’s handaxe teacher, Margovia. It was a fearsome pair of handaxes called Bear Paws crafted by the Keepers. They were made using leg bones from a direbear that were then blessed by the Earthmother at Inis Mon. This weapon was closely guarded by the Keepers, and they were never sold or given to outsiders of the tribe. Alec’s skills with the axes were well known by the Tribe and Grrawl’s reputation as a trusted friend to the Keepers allowed Margovia to get an exception for this gift.

      In his 15th year, Alec went with Lyn on the annual Keeper hunt. In years past, Alec was in training with the Keepers, but he completed his lessons the year prior and was able to join her. Returning from the hunt, Alec and Lyn entered their village, with eyes full of pride, dragging their kills behind them on a sled. Upon entering the village square they were approached by a procession of strangely dressed people in white robes. Two of them armed with staffs came directly to Alec and Lyn and grabbed the ropes out of their hands that were tied to the sled and began to drag it towards the exit of the village. Tho he was grossly outnumbered Alec began to grab his Bear Paws from his belt when he saw his mother walking in the procession. Alec’s face turned pale and ran to her crying out her name and trying to get her attention. She did not look down at him once due to the spell that was cast on her. At the same time that Alec was able to wrap his arms around his mother’s waist, Grrawl arrived to try to restrain his son and daughter. Grrawl was able to whisper to them to say goodbye for now to their mother before there was the thundering crack of a staff against Grrawl’s side, fracturing several of his ribs. Alec and Lyn then supported the weight of their father with one of his arms over each of their shoulders as they walked home. In the privacy of their home, Grrawl was able to use the healing magic he learned years ago on himself to repair the ribs. While Lyn took charge to care for the family during the time Grrawl was grieving the loss of his wife, Alec's personality almost completely vanished. The wild and free spirit had shown brightly in him, was replaced with a quiet and lonely heart. He no longer looked to the sunset at night like he did with his mother but instead looked towards the front gate of the village to see if she had returned home. Lyn tried all she could to get a reaction out of him, but it was no use. He only wanted to sit, watch, and wait for her return. Several months passed with Alec just sitting and waiting. By this time Grrawl had broken out of his grief and started to look after his children and farm again. At the end of every day, both Lyn and Grrawl would sit with Alec looking towards the gate. One day after sitting with him for a while, Alec got up and said to Lyn and Grrawl that they would find her. They walked back inside as a family and began to talk about what would be required for such a quest.
    • Grrawl meets Nesnes - the guardian of the swamp
      In the months that followed after the departure of Grrawl’s wife with the Avalonians, the crops and livestock were taken as a tribute to them for the assurance the village would not be destroyed by the Avalonians. All the families of the village were suffering trying to meet the requirements of the Avalonians. Several of the village leaders departed to Caerleon upon hearing rumors of plans to expel the Avalonians from the land. Grrawl’s priority was his children though, so he started to make trips to the surrounding woods to hunt, but was not able to find any animals to kill to bring home for hide and meat. He put Lyn and Alec in charge of keeping the farm running and started to prepare for a longer hunt. Grrawl was not sure how far he would have to go to find food, but he was determined to return home with something. Grrawl gathered a few provisions, a satchel, and his tombhammer. He kissed the heads of his children and set out into the forest.

      Several days later, Grrawl arrived in the swamplands. At first, the animals were scarce, but as Grrawl journeyed deeper into the swamp he started to see more of them, mostly small frogs. He dismounted his horse and proceeded to hammer all the frogs he could find and put them in his satchel. While he was picking up his latest kill, he heard a female voice shout from behind him, “You Monster!”. Grrawl started to turn around with a frog in one hand and his hammer in the other only to be slapped in the face by a giant wet tongue that knocked him to the ground. He opened his eyes to see looming over him a gigantic toad with a woman in a white and black robe on its back.

      The woman pointed her glowing staff in Grrawl’s direction followed by a flash of white light blinding Grrawl for a second. Once the flash faded, Grrawl’s satchel started to pulse and writhe, and suddenly the sound of 20 frogs croaking emanated from within it. Then the frogs burst out the top of the satchel, and the one in his hand wriggled away. As Grrawl saw the frogs escaping him, his heart sank and he was wondering how he would feed his children. The woman dismounted and walked over to Grrawl with her hand extended as an offer to help him to his feet. She introduced herself as Nesnes, the guardian of the swamp and proceeded to pull him up from the wet earth. Grrawl told her his name and explained why he was hunting the frogs.

      Nesnes tells Grrawl that she understands his plight and has heard of many that are suffering under the boots of the Avalonians. Upon hearing that Grrawl just lost his wife and has 2 children at home to feed, she offers to take him to her home to give him some food if he wants it. Grrawl was not accustomed to taking handouts, but in his desperation, he accepted her offer. Nesnes leaped back onto her toad and started to hop away. Grrawl mounted his horse and followed after her. After a few hours, they arrived at her home. Nesnes prepared some cabbage soup for him to eat and more to take back home with him. She also gave him several bags of cabbages and a strange teal liquid in a glass bottle. Grrawl asked what the liquid was and Nesnes tells him it's a potion that would transform his horse into a glowing, skeletal bonehorse that makes passing through the hordes of undead easier. Grrawl immediately fed the potion to his horse and there was a bright green flash, and his horse transformed into the ghastly green glowing steed.

      Grrawl thanked Nesnes for her hospitality and offered her some silver as payment that she promptly refused. She gave him a route to follow to get him back home quickly then Grrawl departed. The route he was given took him through the Dusktree Swamp, Camlann, and then to Caerleon. Once Grrawl arrived in Caerleon, he sold the cabbages he was given for a nice profit so he was able to purchase more food for his children. While standing in the market he saw a golden artifact in the shape of a fist. He asked the merchant what it was, and he was told that it’s the severed hand of an Avalonian monk. He is then told that it was then dipped in gold and enchanted so it could be made into a weapon aptly named the Hand of Justice. Hearing the story, Grrawl purchased one to make into such a hammer once he returned home. Grrawl then searched out the leaders of his village that were already in Caerleon and learned of the plans by all the citizens of the city and surrounding areas to expel the Avalonians from the lands. Grrawl tells them he will help once he gets back to his children with the food.

      A couple of days later, he arrived back at the farm and was greeted by his hungry children. He went inside the house and started to heat a large pot of cabbage soup for them to feast on. Grrawl told his children of his adventures and over the next couple of days, they are able to rest as a family in preparation for the next hunt. Grrawl was not able to get the thoughts out of his mind on how a single potion could make his horse look undead and wondered if such magic exists for people too. He was also troubled by the looming conflict and what impact that may have on his children, the village, and the Keeper tribes in the area.
    • Grrawl learns how to look like the undead and heads to Caerleon for battle

      Still troubled by the looming conflict, Grrawl talked to his children and put them in charge of the farm. He commissioned the local blacksmith to take the golden fist he acquired in Caerleon and make it into a combat hammer. Grrawl wrote several letters that instructed the person who received it that the children are the owners of the farm and to give them any help they requested. Grrawl told Alec and Lyn that he was returning to Caerleon to aid in the fight against the Avalonians and to hopefully find their mother. On the morning of the next day, he gave Alec and Lyn a heartfelt goodbye, not knowing if he would see them again. Grrawl stopped at the blacksmith on his way out and collected his hammer. Thinking of how he would use it against the Avalonians, the Hand of Justice seemed like an appropriate name. Grrawl made his way to Inis Mon to inform the Earthmother of the humans’ plans to try and repel the Avalonians. She appreciated the news and warned him that the Avalonians were a very old race, and very powerful. She did not know if the spell cast over Albion would protect those slain by Avalonian weapons. She saw his bonehorse and asked if he would like to be able to look like the undead himself. Grrawl told her that he would and wondered if it was possible. The Earthmother told him that she heard rumors that if you took the arcane essence from a specter and imbued it into his clothes, the clothes would make him look undead when worn. Grrawl made one request of the Earthmother, that if Alec or Lyn came looking for some aid of any kind, that she would offer them any help she can provide. The Earthmohter told him that his children were always welcome, whether in need or not. Grrawl thanked her as a tear ran down his face, almost as if a great weight of worry had been lifted from him.

      The next day Grrawl set out for Filimmerair Steppe with the directions given to him by the Earthmother. This was where a Sepulcher of Magic which was home to the specters he sought. After a full day’s ride, he arrived at dusk and began his hunt. The sheer number of specters was almost overwhelming, but his Hand of Justice was a mighty weapon that spun him around, pulling several specters in and then slamming a heavy blow upon them. They were dispatched quickly and a pile of arcane essence was left behind. Grrawl collected many handfuls of the essence and set up a camp for the night near a tunnel to the northwest of the sepulcher. He began the imbuing process on his clothes with the essence. After a short time, the power from the essence started to glow from within the clothing. Grrawl put the outfit on and could feel the power flowing over him. He could see his hands and feet looked skeletal. He found a small puddle of standing water and looked at his reflection and almost jumped when he saw a green glowing skull staring back at him. Pleased with how he looked, and hoping it might give him an edge in the coming battle, Grrawl sat back down at his camp.

      The night grew darker, and Grrawl was staring up into the starry night thinking of his father and remembering all the times they camped outside looking into the same sky. Suddenly, three beams of bright white light swept across the sky, briefly blinding him. He sat up and turned his head to follow where the beams came from. To his horror, Grrawl saw more of these beams of light shooting out of the Caerleon in all directions. He leapt to his feet, gathered his camp, and as he got on his horse. He could see a faint red glow of fire emanating from the city, the beams of light partly obscured by the plumes of thick black smoke from the fire. Grrawl began to ride as fast as he could towards the tunnel. He was not more than a few steps into the tunnel when there was an earth-shaking, thunderous boom that caused some bits of rock to fall from the ceiling. He was worried the tunnel might cave in, so he turned his horse around to exit it. Immediately a scorching hot and blinding bright wave of red energy blasted past the entrance. Grrawl again turned his horse around and started to quickly ride through the tunnel, hoping he could make it out before it collapsed. The only thought in Grrawl’s mind was the worry that he would be buried in this tunnel and never see his children again.

      Grrawl reached the other end of the tunnel and as he exited he could see small fires burning everywhere. He started to ride towards the Caerleon Underway entrance that he was told about the last time he was in there. As he rode, he saw burning shrubs of the flowering plants, piles of smoldering remains belonging to the various beasts that roam the steppe, and molten pools of metal ore. All of these sights warned Grrawl that there was a tremendous release of energy, and he wondered if anyone was still alive. Grrawl arrived at the Underway entrance, found it intact, and proceeded to make his way to the city. He crossed the Underway only to find the exit barely functional. He quickly rode through the exit into the city and saw a traveler on horseback heading towards him. Grrawl asked the stranger his name and what happened in Caerleon. The traveler identified himself as Evas and that there was a terrible battle that was fought in the city. Evas informed Grrawl that he was in a hurry and not able to tell Grrawl all that happened but to look for the warrior Gugusteh who was part of the battle and was in the city somewhere.

      Grrawl began to ride around the ruins of the city searching for this warrior. There were piles of silver everywhere and survivors scavenging it as fast as they were able. Grrawl was relieved to not see bodies strewn about. This told him that the magic that keeps people from permanently dying did indeed work against Avalonian weapons. He found a warrior walking around the city and asked his name, hoping he found Gugusteh. The warrior said his name was Worros. Grrawl asks if Worros would tell him what happened in the city. Worros said that it was a horrible disaster. Greedy citizens of the city raided the chests full of gear provided by the Baron of Caerleon. Because of this, many who came for battle were ill-equipped. Eventually, there were so many that came for the fight there was no room to freely move or be able to prepare for the enemy. Many left before the fight began due to how overcrowded it was. Worros then walked off muttering that so many fell and lost their equipment to scavengers.

      Grrawl continued to search for Gugusteh till finally Grrawl found him in the city center telling of the horrors he witnessed. Gugusteh’s storytelling was so visceral, Grrawl could almost envision it. Gugusteh confirmed that there was equipment provided by the Baron of Caerleon, but the Baron didn’t put out the good stuff. He gave out basic gear in hopes that enough people would come to slow or stop the Avalonians with just a sea of bodies. The first few waves of defenders went through the Caerleon realmgate to fight the Avalonians in the Outlands. This proved to be a fatal mistake for many due to the lawless nature of the Outlands. Instead of fighting the Avalonian monks and archers that were besieging the gate, many turned on each other to murder and loot. Grrawl was appalled to hear that some of those who came to defend Albion from this threat were so petty and selfish.

      Gugusteh continued to tell the crowd that a few minutes later, the remaining defenders retreated and regrouped at the realmgate in Caerleon to try and bottle-neck the invaders. Returning to the city also put a stop to the looting and attacking of each other. Regrouping proved to be futile because the Avaloninas sent some of their most powerful magicians through the gate, the Spellweavers. They would fire three beams of focused energy in a sweeping motion and cut down hundreds of people at once. Many defenders that were killed, would resurrect and return with their equipment still on them to try and fight back. Then a great, monstrous metallic machine walked through the portal. The size of it was so large, it barely could fit through. The Avalonians simply called it a Construct and it had a singular purpose: to find the Baron and take him back to the Avalonian realm as a prisoner. As the Construct marched forward, it flattened anyone who tried to stand in its way.

      In a final move of desperation, the Baron sent several volunteers with bombs to the realmgate using the secret tunnels in the city to get behind the Avalonian forces safely. While the city burned and the Baron took cover in a remote structure in the city, the bombs were detonated and the massive release of energy burned through the city. Everything in the path of the wave, including the Construct, was incinerated. A few seconds later, the Baron emerged from what was now just a hole to see the city in flames and ruined. Shortly after that, people started to be resurrected in the city and all could see the destruction that was wrought by the Avaloninans and the demolition of the realmgate.

      ** fan art supplied @greyfacedman **
      • greyfacedman_large_medieval_city_being_destroyed_sm.png

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      The post was edited 1 time, last by Grrawl: added fan art ().

    • Grrawl meets Veralle, the woman of 100 names
      After seeing the destruction that was wrought on Caerleon, Grrawl decided to buy his island there and help with the rebuilding of the once-great city. Over time Grrawl set up a farm, a pasture, a kennel, and herb gardens on his island to supply the citizens of Caerleon with a variety of resources. He got to know some of the frequent visitors that came to trade and Grrawl started to export food and potions from the city and import refined materials and crafted goods. Grrawl quickly learned that his initial trips to Caerleon were uneventful due to the Avalonians roaming the lands. With them gone, there became an opportunity for bandits to roam the areas surrounding Caerleon.

      On one of his export trips to Lymhurst, Grrawl was waylaid by a small group and woke up in Lymhurst wearing only his tunic. He was embarrassed to be in such a state, but also grateful for his daughter’s island and was able to go there to get additional clothes, gear, a new mount, and more goods to import to Caerleon. Upon reentering Lymhurst from the island, Grrawl accidentally bumped into a woman who was preparing to depart from the city. He excused himself and asked the woman where she was heading. She said that she was a traveling merchant and visited all the cities. Grrawl was caught off guard with her vague answer but asked if she had any suggestions on how to not get killed while importing and exporting goods from Caerleon. The woman gave Grrawl some suggestions, with the first being to never use an ox on those runs unless he could afford to lose everything he was carrying. Grrawl laughed at the irony of that statement since that was exactly what just happened to him and informed her that he just learned that lesson the hard way. The woman laughed with him, though Grrawl was certain it was at him. She then introduced herself as Veralle and proceeded to give Grrawl other suggestions for how to travel with less risk of loss.

      After a few hours had passed, Grrawl was filled with information about how to come and go to Caerleon, and he thanked Veralle for her time. Grrawl then set out for Caerleon with his load of gear and produce to sell in the Black Market and use to make food for the citizens of the city. Using the information Veralle gave him, Grrawl had no trouble returning. A few days passed and Grrawl completed his cooking and was ready to take some of his products to Bridgewatch, along with a load of granite to refine. Grrawl made it safely across the steppes, though traveling through the tunnels was risky and he did manage to escape some gankers lying in wait there. Grrawl entered Bridgewatch and immediately went to the Universal Exports island to unload some of his provisions and pick up any other stone his children left for him to refine. He also collected travertine blocks to allow him to create granite blocks from what he brought from Caerleon.

      Grrawl made his way to a stone refining station and there he saw a familiar face. He approached and started to address Veralle by her name, but was shushed quickly. Veralle quickly told him that in Bridgewatch her name is BainSidhe. She then told Grrawl that there are cheaper stations to use and directed him to one that saved him a few thousand silver on his refining. He thanked BainSidhe and they parted company. She waved as he left and Grrawl set out for Martlock with a load of refined stone.

      On his journey to Martlock, Grrawl spent time hunting hide animals to have a bundle to refine when he arrived. A few days later Grrawl arrived on his ox with a large pile of all kinds of hides and his stone blocks. He went to the bank and deposited the blocks for use later. While in the bank, he saw that same familiar face of Veralle. She waved hello and Grrawl approached to chat for a bit. Grrawl’s first question was to find out what her name was in Martlock. She told him that she goes by Teondra in Martlock. At this point Grrawl was starting to recognize a pattern and asked if she had a different name in every city. She affirmed that she did. In Fort Sterling she goes by Hezrael. In Caerleon she is called Jalyx, who was also a man, so as not to be too confused should they ever meet there. In Thetford she pretended to be identical twins by the names of Zinfara and Zinion, just for fun.

      Grrawl asked her why she had so many names, and she told him that having so many identities allowed her to own islands in each city, and she was able to focus on certain types of business under each alias. Grrawl was intrigued by her duplicity and realized that if he wanted to own an island in Martlock, he too would need an alias to purchase it with. He was not able to do much with that information at the time, but maybe one day he would have the funds to purchase an island in Martlock and Fort Sterling so he and his children would have homes all over Albion to access and share.

      ** click Legend of Grrawl to continue to read the legend **

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Grrawl ().