First one done (I plan to do the second one too!) Have some things to do tonight, so it might not be till Sunday... Unless the bards pull me back.___1st____
Name: Venali Zyldan (He doesn't know if his last name is really his, it is just what his mentor has given him, more on that later)
Race: Half-Elf (subrace is flexible)
Class: Paladin/Hexblade (eventual conquest)
Personality: Once someone is a friend, they are my friend for life. Not everyone deserves a second chance. Help those in need, and prevent oppression by conquering those who do others harm.
Ideals: The weak and innocent should always be protected. Only those who are strong can guard against the darkness.
Bonds: My parents left me for reasons I don't know, but if they didn't I would never have been raised to be who I am with out my mentor, I owe him my life.
Synopsis:. He grew up on the streets of a large city, and had the potential to become a Hexblade warlock once he grew up. Instead his mentor (a noble paladin) found him and begain raising him and started to take him adventuring. Their first adventure both paladins face conflict and Venali's Hexblade potential manifested. Venali leaves on his own to continue to adventure and find his parentage.
It's always interesting writing a Hexblade... as I said in someone else's background... I've never DM'ed for anyone playing a Hexblade... nor have I ever played one myself.
So I always fear I might be getting something wrong because I am not familiar with the class enough to be feel like I always get it right...
That said, I managed to write something - and had some fun with the supporting cast... and, doing one of those things where I make a reference to someone else's backstory I'd written here (the Order that the Paladin is from; as well as the bit about dogs...)
As always, please tell me if I was close to the mark... what you liked or didn't ... what fit and what didn't...
With Hexblades... I always worry!
That said - enjoy!
I slumped against the wall, extending my arm, with my copper cup, hoping someone would offer me coin and take pity on me.
Instead a wagon rolled by, the wooden wheel hitting the puddle of mud just right so that it splashed over my hand, chest and cup. I wiped some of the specks of mud that had managed to land on my face as well and peered into the dented copper cup. It had captured a fair amount of the mud.
Such was the story of my life.
When I was five years old, my parents abandoned me here in the Southern Ward of Waterdeep. I was so young, I don’t even remember my last name – it wasn’t important, really, because in some cultures a last name means something. In the Southern Ward of Waterdeep, where the poor lived, you were lucky if someone remembered your first name, unless it was to accuse you of stealing.
A metal boot came to stand before me and I looked up and saw a man, adorned in full platemail, looking down at me. The man – a Paladin by the looks of the crest on his breastplate and shield – brought the wagon he’d been escorting (the same one that splashed mud on me) to a halt.
“Listen, I will move,” I sighed, having gotten used to Paladins and city guards patrolling the streets and “making the vermin of Southern Ward go into hiding.” I pushed against the wall and stood, placing my copper cup into my belt pouch. I pulled my hair back and tied it in a knot.
“A Half-Elf,” the Paladin commented, seeing my ears, but noting my facial hair.
The top of my hand always itched when I was nervous and this was no exception. I began itching my hand as I looked at the Paladin. I rolled my eyes, “Is there a problem with that?”
The Paladin smirked. “What’s your name, boy?”
“Venali,” I answered. “Is there a reason you’re asking me this?”
Ignoring my question, the Paladin with long, golden hair and a beard streaked with grey asked, “What’s your surname Venali?”
“I don’t know,” I shrugged.
“Are you being smart with me?” the Paladin asked, raising a golden eyebrow.
“No,” I answered truthfully. “I’ve lived on the streets for thirteen years. I was abandoned by my parents at the age of five. I barely remember their faces; let alone what my surname was.”
“I believe the gods have put me in your path for a reason, Venali Zyldan,” he said, sizing me up and down.
“Zyldan?” I asked, unsure what that had meant.
“It means ‘the night without moon’,” the Paladin explained. “It’s a surname we use for those like you, who have been abandoned and do not know their true last name. My name is Jore Stormslight. And I am with the Order known as the Shield of Faith. I sense something in you. Something that needs saving.” He extended his hand to me. “Are you willing to take a chance on me, if I am willing to take a chance on you?”
I nodded my head, and took his hand. I wasn’t sure what I was in for, to be honest. But if it got me off the streets and feed for one day, I would take that chance.
He helped me onto the back of the wagon, where I saw they were escorting a shipment of weapons. The wagon pulled through the Southern Ward of Waterdeep and made its way to the Castle Ward of Waterdeep. The difference had been night and day. Here the streets were clean, people were jovial, markets lined the streets with vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine.
Jore Stormslight took me into his home, introduced me to his wife, who was a very kind woman. She immediately treated me as if I were her son. She cleared a room for me, fed me, and gave me clothes to fit me that were clean.
Jore began teaching me how to fight, how to use a sword, how to use a shield, the benefits of armor. First it was leather armor, then chainmail, and then came the platemail. He helped shape my body into muscle, once I was fed properly rather than rotting away as I had been deprived of food and water.
“Remember,” he would say, with thrusts of his sword, that I was forced to parry wearing platemail, that weighed more than I did. “Not everyone deserves a second chance,” he said. “There will be those that may betray you. But do not keep your heart so guarded that you let none inside. A true friend will be a friend for life. Someone you can count on to be next to you, in that last fight, you know you will both perish in.”
During another lesson where I was forced to learn to use a sword, while he parried my (admittedly feeble) lunges, he had instilled in me, “No matter what, help those that are in need. Help prevent anyone from being oppressed by challenging those that would harm others. There are those – much like yourself when I first met you – that are weak and innocent and need in protection. Only those who are strong, forged into weapons, can guard against the approaching darkness.”
For weeks he taught me how to fight. He built up my tolerance and constitution so that wearing platemail was still awkward to move in; I was no longer winded after taking ten steps.
“I think you’re ready to join the Order,” he smiled after months of this.
“You want me to become a Paladin?” I asked, shocked. I had thought this was all to simply teach me how to defend myself, and once I was ready he would put me back out on the streets, better prepared to live out there.
“I think the light of the god needs to fill your soul,” Jore Stormslight smiled. “Once it does, you will be one of the Shield of Faith. Who knows,” he smiled, “you might even get assigned a canine.”
“I thought the canines were only assigned to high ranking commanders,” I asked, having read up on the Order, after Jore’s wife, Bellanna Stormstrike spent all my free time, learning how to read and write. She was surprised how quickly I had picked it up. She often said it was “magic.”
“That was the way long ago,” Jore smiled, as he stroked his beard. “These days it’s the canines that select us.”
“Is it true that they’re enchanted,” I asked, curiously.
“If you believe the stories,” Jore smiled broadly.
“Do you?” I shrugged my shoulders.
“If you need to ask, then you’ve not been paying attention,” he chuckled. “Yes,” he finally said, as I stared at him blankly. “I do believe.”
We prepared our saddles and Jore kissed his wife goodbye, and I hugged Bellanna. Tears brimmed in my eyes, saying farewell to her. I’d never truly had a family – not one I remembered anyway. But Jore and Bellanna showed me nothing but the purest sense of love and family. The feeling I felt in my heart, missing her before I had even left was a sensation I’d never experienced.
The ride to the Cliffs of Judgement was one that would be a two week journey, with several stops in cities and towns along the way. It was the fifth night, as we were riding past a small forest called ‘The Shadow Wood’ where we had been ambushed by Orcs; the Red Eye Orcs; the ancient enemies of the Shield of Faith. Jore was off of his horse and fighting without a moment’s hesitation, but it’s true what they say. You can practice for weeks, but when the time comes to fight, my entire body froze. As I watched Jore fight more orcs than he could possibly win against, the top of my hand began to burn. I itched it so furiously that I drew blood and that’s when I noticed a small green pulsating crystal embedded in the top of my hand.
“I can help you,” a voice whispered inside my mind. “Accept my help and I can save you and your precious friend.”
“Yes!” I shouted.
Suddenly energy, black and vicious, swirling with purple, encased my body and flew from my hands, emitting a dark and powerful blast that struck the Red Eye Orcs, sending them reeling back. The surprise had been enough for Jore to regain his footing and slay several of them, forcing the six others to flee.
Jore wiped the blood from his eyes. “What was that?” he asked.
I looked at my hands. “I,” I stammered, “I don’t know.” I looked at Jore frightened, and I could see concern in his eyes. Is that what he had sensed in me? Is that why he said the god’s light needed to fill my soul? Had he sensed this unusual darkness in me? Is this why my family abandoned me at a young age? The itching of my hand made sense now. This thing was lurking, waiting, and whenever I was in danger it itched, as if wanting to be set free to help me. But what was it? Was it evil? Good?
I began to break down and cry as I collapsed to my knees. “I need to find out what… who I am…” I said to Jore.
He set a grim look on his face, and placed his hand on my shoulder. “I understand. Remember what I taught you. Let the Light be your guide. Come back when you’re ready. You are always welcome back home.”
I had one. And now I was going to leave it behind, abandon it, like my parents had abandoned me, and in a weird twist of fate, so that I could find the ones who abandoned me originally…