Exclusive Contest! Todd Lockwood draws your character! [NO MORE ENTRIES!]

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Kai Lord


God's been really good to me so I'm going to purchase some art for someone I don't even know. :) The fun part is that it will be an original pencil drawing by Todd Lockwood of your character! :cool:

To enter all you have to do is post a description of your character on this thread. Be as concise or detailed as you want. Describe the character in action, or anything about him or her. Post as many characters as you like.

I'll choose my favorite 20 characters and send them to Todd. He will choose his ten favorites and then I'll start a poll on a different thread allowing the members of ENWorld to vote for their favorite of the final ten. I will take the top three choices and pass them on to Todd, who will choose the character he will draw.

The winner will have the original sent to his or her home, and I will post a scan in the Art Gallery for everyone to drool over.

Todd was flattered to hear that he received the highest number of votes in the recent Favorite Artist polls on this messageboard, and has enthusiastically agreed to do this.

I will leave this thread open for submissions until August 1st, then I will post the top ten on August 15th. :D

Todd will draw the winning character in the fall of this year. If you want to view any of his work in the meantime you may visit www.toddlockwood.com. He will maintain publishing rights to the piece. Well that's all there is to it, I'll make some strategic bumps between now and August. Good luck and I can't wait to see your characters! No matter how many are posted I'll read each and every one. Have fun!
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World of Kulan DM
My first submission!

Kai Lord, you're both a genius and an extermely nice person to come up with this contest. Here is my first submission.



Crystal Tigerstorm, The Silver Witch
Stats: hf / 12th level wizard (necromancer) / neutral good

Personality: Devoted, imposing and enigmatic

Description: Crystal is 5'11" with long, flowing blonde hair, deep blue eyes, and is incredibly beautiful (men tend to gawk with their mouths open). She use to be a necromancer and is still fond of wearing dark foreboding clothes. She always wears a silver star pendant (an amulet of health), which was her mother's, as well as simple, yet elegant silver rings, bracelets, and fine metal cords braided into her hair on the left side. She always wears silver colored lipstick and nail polish. Her garments are always fine silk, which can be too revealing sometimes. She always wears more modest undergarments under these clothes coving her from just above the breast to just above the knees. She prefers soft leather boots, or sandals if she is going to be inside. She carries a powerful variant of a staff of power, shod in silver with a 3D silver star on the top (multiple star points in every direction - like a starburst).

Background: Crystal Tigerstorm is the grand daughter of Carl Tigerstorm and one of the most loyal members of the Tiger Guild of Fruen. Her youth is full of strife and darkness. Her father, Garth, knew nothing about her birth, as her mother, a woman Crystal doesn't remember, died in childbirth. Thus, Crystal was raised in an orphanage in Massalia, an old Sword Imperium city – totally oblivious to her birthright. Sold into the service of a local necromancer when she was eight, Crystal languished as common house servant for years under her master's harsh whip. Only when she started to show aptitude as a wizard did the old man stop beating her and made her his apprentice.

It was the first of several mistakes that would eventually cost him his life. For while Crystal eagerly took to the old wizard's teachings to heart, she hated the old man and used all her skills and wit to lull him into a false sense of security. As she grew to womanhood the old codger fell in love with her and she used all her charms and considerable beauty to trick the old necromancer into showing her his most spells. She then killed the old fool, flailing the skin from his body and burning his flesh and bones into ashes. The apprentice had become the master or mistress so to speak.

Crystal then set upon finding out who her parents were. She seduced all her master's colleagues in the Aras Guild of Massalia and forced the owner of the orphanage to spill his guts, literally. She used up all of her old master's magical items and possessions to buy powerful divination scrolls. Finally, she tracked down her grandfather in Fruen and went to confront the family that had abandoned her. What she found was a strong willed, righteous man that had didn't have a clue what the hell she was talking about. His son Garth had only ever had one relationship that he knew of and that was with a young elven druid, Eiithinia Starchild.

But to her surprise, he summoned for his son and swore that if Crystal was indeed family - she would be welcomed into the Tigerstorm family with open arms. Garth arrived at his father's guildhall in Fruen to find a charming young woman who looked exactly like a young priestess he had fought beside, and had fallen in love with, a long time ago. Crystal's mother had been a cleric of Jalivier named Dawn Almondsky who Garth believed had died near the end of the Second Ogre War. He hadn't seen her for forty years and was positive that he couldn't be Crystal' s father. She was too young.

Crystal didn't believe him and swore she would make him suffer for denying her right to call herself a Tigerstorm. She stormed out of the room leaving the two men to speculate about the truth. After she had gone Carl asked his son, "Are you sure that she's not your daughter, after all she has your temperament." Garth left Fruen after that, while Carl tried to unravel the young woman's origin.

Crystal was angry, but more then that she was heartbroken. She was sure that she was a Tigerstorm she could feel it. If they would not admit she was one of them then she would take the Tiger Guild by force. She would claim her birthright, even if she had to kill them all. Years of abuse and frustration took over and she fell in league with the growing hordes of evil humanoids and soldiers planning to lay siege to Fruen. She rode near the front as the hordes moved towards the city. The armies of Thallin moved to meet them, with several prominent adventurers leading the charge, including Garth and his half-elven son, Dabuk.

Dabuk and Crystal met on the battlefield and something spoke to the young half-elven ranger. Somehow he felt he knew this person, felt a kinship with her. She too felt something and the two just stood there looking at each other. When Garth came across the two of them staring at each other, he knew they were indeed brother and sister. "I don't know how, but you are my daughter. Together, we will find the truth. I swear it by the love of a father who did not know."

Crystal's eyes swelled up with tears. No one had ever cared about her before, no one had truly ever loved her. But this man did - she could see it. What was she doing? This was her family she was a Tigerstorm! Her eyes went wide and she turned on her former allies. She rocked the hordes of darkness with lightning bolts and clouds of magical death. She rode into the fray with wild abandon hacking at gnolls and dark soldiers with her stiletto dagger in one hand and casting deadly necromantic magic with the other.

"Boy, does she ever have you temper." Garth could only nod his head at his son's words.

As time passed, Crystal gave up the Dark Arts completely. She traced her mother's ancestry to the city of Magdalene in Navirosov and claimed her birthright there as well. The granddaughter of a noblewoman, Lady Elaine Almondsky, who had given up hope after Dawn's disappearance. Finding Crystal was like getting her daughter back. Together they unraveled the mystery of Lady Almondsky's daughter.

Somehow after conception of her child, Dawn had become trapped in a magical stasis field and Garth was sure she was dead. However, before the body could be buried, it disappeared. The wizards of the Aras Guild had stolen the body intending to use it in some future, dark experimentation. For years Dawn laid dormant in the stasis field and it was only when a lowly apprentice figured out that the body was not decaying that she was brought to the attention of the masters of the guild.

Fearing that someone might learn of the woman's plight, the wizards removed the stasis field and had her dumped in the slums of Massalia. Dawn quickly came to term and died during the birth. It had been the stasis field that had given Crystal her uncanny gift of magic. Against the wishes of her new grandmother, who feared she'd lose her granddaughter like she did her daughter, Crystal returned to Massalia and brought the Aras Guild to justice – her justice (not that there is any real justice in Massalia). She then returned her mother's body to Magdalene and buried her in the Almondsky family crypt, taking a powerful magical staff with her from the fallen wizards’ guild.

She then went back to Fruen to stay with her grandfather, vowing to her grandmother that she would visit her as often as possible. She swore fealty to the Tiger Guild and her grandfather and has not left his side since. She gets along well enough with her father but feels closer to Carl. She has become fond of a young knight, travelling with her brother, named Sir Mojo Rising. It might be the first time in her life that she truly cares for a man for who he is and not what he can do for her. However, she is reluctant to speak of her feelings to anyone but her grandfather.


First Post
Zanatose Everhate

Keep in mind, this character is now a deity in my version of the Forgotten Realms. So he may sound a bit..munchkiny ;) I use him instead of Velsharoon..who I think is incompetent :p

As a towering pillar of muscled darkness, Zanatose Everhate stands a massive 15 ft. tall, draped in midnight robes of his station as the Arch Necromancer of the Realms. Being in posession of a body carved from obsidian, the Arch Necromancer appears to be an obsidian golem shaped to look like an battle hardened drow male (with a more human-looking body than the graceful elven form). His old body, that of a dessicated drow lich, lies encapsuled inside the stone that now contains his life essence and serves as his body.

His head, containing no decoration appearing as hair, is smooth, shiney, and covered in runic carvings which spill lavender and black flames all along his head and shoulders. This 'shadow mantle' crackles constantly, but doesn't seem to affect any of his clothing or items that might be around his head. His eyes are two large blood rubies which seem as expressive and pliable as living eyes. His face is sharp and angular (being made of hard to carve volcanic glass, one can expect that) with his chin being a flat chisled plain. A smile never crosses this creature's face, but it isn't known whether or not if it was carved like that or if he is just never satisfied with his own 'imperfections'. Unlike golems, Zanatose Everhate still moves as a living creature having no noticeable segments at the joints suggesting the body he possesses is fake at all.

His clothing is a volumous robe which remains open most of the time to show his chiseled chest and abdominal muscles (Think of the way Yul Brenner dressed in the 'King and I'). The robe itself seems to move as if in pain from touching its wearer. Faces, tortured and silently screaming, often form within its folds as he moves. When light shines upon it, noticeable runes can be seen floating and moving along the cloth. A belt of human and humanoid faces (sewn together at the sides) wraps his waist like a sash, holding spell component pouches in their sewn shut mouths. His massive legs are wrapped from his waist to just above his 'ankles' in black strips of cloth reminescent of a burial shroud (made to capture bodily fluids during mummification). His 'feet' aren't feet at all, but were completely carved to resemble boots.

Zanatose's weapons are a staff which is more than 20 ft. in length called 'Archimedes of the Huddled Masses', his spells, and the foot long razor claws which tip each of his unnatural fingers. Archimedes is a adamantite shaft decorated with thousands of precious black gems. The far end of the staff ends in a massive killing fork weapon and the three dimensional illusion of a skull which floats at the top of the staff spins and cackles manically in hundreds of different voices (thus, the 'Huddled Masses' title). This intelligent weapon never leaves Zanatose's possession and can always be seen within at least 30 ft. of the god of necromancy. The weapon is quite insane, being embeded with souls from when Zanatose was still 'mortal' and used it in combat. These souls often become the staff's dominant personality and annoy the lich-god to no end. His last weapon is a massive spellbook which is seemingly tied to his left hand by a thread of darkness. This book contains all necromancy spells which exist and those that will be created in the future of the Forgotten Realms. It has no specific appearance, as it constantly changes to resemble each and every book in which a new necromancy spell is penned. When a new spell is created, the book instantly changes to appear as the first book it is placed in.

(Since this is a character portrait, I will omit the background description ;) )

To help with the description of Archimedes :) I'll add a few 3D images a friend did of the weapon.


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First Post
First off, you are an awesome guy to set this up. Pay it forward, man, pay it forward.

Kai, I have a question for you. In all honesty, my favorite character is the one whom I played through the Balur's Gate series with. This character has been much further developed past the end of that experience, however. But anyway, back to the question. Would you have any problem with this character, and would you rather I submit one from my current D&D campaign? I would submit both, however, they both have the same first name.
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Dark Jezter

First Post
Well, since I'm a big fan of Todd Lockwood's art, I'd better submit my Scarred Lands character.

Conall Sigurd. Male Human Bbn3/Ftr2


Conall is very large man, standing at 6'3" and weighing 230 pounds, with broad shoulders and a heavily muscled build. He has coarse brown hair (different from the usual Albadian colors of blonde or red, this trait is inherited from his maternal Grandfather, an exile from the south who was adoped by the Sigurd clan), skin which has been burned brown from endless days under the sun, and cold green eyes. His body bears many scars from the battles he has fought in, but he treats them as badges of honor, and does not try to hide them. He also has a few tattoos, such as a clan tattoo on his right arm, one on his left shoulder blade commemmorating his first kill at the age of fourteen, and a third on his left wrist for his ascention to adulthood. Although he usually sports a beard, Conall is currently clean-shaven to make himself less-recognizable to those who mean to harm him.

Conall is quiet most of the time, although he can be surprisingly contemplative. In the company of friends, however, he can be loud and full of joy. He loves a good joke, wild parties, and a good challange, be it a drinking contest or a wrestling match. He has a somewhat darwinian outlook on life; he admires strength and courage and abhors weakness and cowardice. True to his barbaric haritage, he is blunt in his dealings with others, and if he dosen't like you he'll make sure that you know it.

Currently, Conall is 23 years old, but has fought many battles in his life, and is as familiar with battle as many veterans several years older than himself.


Conall was born in one of the many barbarian tribes that dwell in the harsh northern land of Albadia. As with most men in his tribe, he began weapon training at a young age, and has also fought orcs and rival barbarian tribes alongside his clansmen. He heard about the civilized lands from travelers passing through, and has travelled there in search of wealth and glory working as a mercenary.

Leaving his clan at the age of seventeen, Conall travelled around the frontier working odd jobs for a year until was able to find work as a mercenary in one of the many city-states south of Albadia (during this year of wandering, he gains another level in barbarian), where barbarians mercenaries are welcome because of their savagery and toughness. Conall spent three years employed as a fighting man, learning the way civilized men fight and gaining more combat expirience fighting in border disputes and hunting bandits. (During this period, Conall gained two levels in fighter).

His stay in the city was ended, though, when he was confronted in a tavern by a military officer who had consumed a little too much alcohol. The officer made insulting remarks towards Conall, and the hot-tempered young barbarian, who would not simply take the verbal lashing as a civilized man would, struck the officer with an open hand. After the man rose back to his feet, he reached for his sword and swore to kill Conall, who responded by crushing the man's skull with a bludgeon. Unfortunately for Conall, the officer was the nephew of the city's Governer. Conall should have never escaped the city alive, but he gained the aid of an elf rogue named Aust Nalio, who was able to smuggle Conall outside the city walls by leading him through a network of alleyways and underground tunnels.

After the escape, Conall and Aust eventually parted ways, but not before a friendship had formed between the two. The young barbarian then set out on his own again, wandering the countryside while working odd jobs where his formidable combat skills could be put to use (Gaining another level in barbarian in the process). The governer whom he had offended was still sore over the loss of his nephew, though, and he dispatched bounty hunters to track down and kill Conall. The bounty hunters persued him deep into the woods of Galeeda's grove, where Conall stumbled into a cave which appeared to be an old tomb, but was in actuality inhabited by a lich. The bounty hunters chased their prey into the cave, where a battle broke out. Conall killed two of them before the cave's owner noticed and descended on them. While the lich was busy killing the intruders, Conall snuck away, but not before grabbing an enchanted chain shirt and sword from the lich's treasure horde. Upon returning to civilization, Conall met up with a young (at least young as far as elves go) elf ranger named Sylvia. Admiring the girl's spirit and familiarity with weapons, Conall decided to share a meal with her at a local tavern, and that's where the campaign begins...


Conall dosen't fight for any noble purpose. He desires wealth, power, and excitement. He loves strong drink, red meat, women, and the thrill of combat.


Conall is the son of Conrack and Vidgis Sigurd. His father is the most senior warrior of the clan, and is respected throughout the region as a deadly combatant. His younger brother, Oswold Sigurd, is a druid instead of a warrior, and he helps ensure the survival of his clan by providing them with healing, knowledge about where game can be found, and divine magic in times of battle. His sister, Rann, is the youngest child of the family, and so far she seems to desire nothing more than a quiet life. Conall has not had contact with his family since he left them six years ago, although they parted on good terms, and his family respected his desire for adventure and glory in combat.

Kai Lord

Angcuru said:
First off, you are an awesome guy to set this up. Pay it forward, man, pay it forward.

Kai, I have a question for you. In all honesty, my favorite character is the one whom I played through the Balur's Gate series with. This character has been much further developed past the end of that experience, however. But anyway, back to the question. Would you have any problem with this character, and would you rather I submit one from my current D&D campaign? I would submit both, however, they both have the same first name.
You're more than welcome to post the Baldur's Gate character if that's the one you'd most like to see drawn by Todd.


First Post
Holy crap, Kai! You're awesome! You just shot to the top of my "nice guy" list. Allow me to throw my character into the mix, if it's okay...

Elisuon of the House Protectorate

Ftr3/Rog3, CG High Elf, male

Stats: STR 14, DEX 20, CON 14, INT 16, WIS 14, CHA 15

Personality: Calm, pensive, thorough, creative with his rapier, and somewhat arrogant

Description: Elisuon has blonde hair and green eyes. He stands 5' 3" with a slender, muscular build. He wears a mithral chain shirt and a mithral buckler on his left arm. A beautifully crafted rapier (akin to an epee) hangs as his left hip, a dagger at his right hip. A backpack and composite longbow hang from his back. He also wears a signet ring of the House Protectorate on his left hand. Leather covers what parts of his anatomy that aren't protected by the chain shirt. In combat, he prefers precision strikes, feints and disarming his foe. He relies on balance, timing and quickness to overcome his opponent.

Elisuon speaks: "Ahh, the House Protectorate. My service, my life, and sometimes my prison. But I shant get into such matters immediately. Instead, I must share my lovely childhood. As a boy, I was often told that my destiny was with the House, but it never held my passion. My father was a champion swordsman, one of the finest my people have known. Though he served with other races, their brutish skills never had an influence on my dear father. To him, as it is to me, swordplay is an art. Each swordsman bears his soul with his blade, and I am no exception. I began studying the art of the rapier at a very young age indeed. By the time I was called upon to serve the House, I had mastered many of my father’s lessons. My relationship with the House has never been more than lukewarm; we merely tolerate each other’s presence. I because I am sworn to serve, and it because I am a valuable asset. I fondly remember my first day of “training”. Standard issue for incoming soldiers is a long sword…such a crude and unrefined weapon. I refused my issued weapon, favoring my expertly balanced rapier instead. My commander insisted and attempted to force the sword upon me. In a flash of brilliance (though some would claim luck), I withdrew my rapier and disarmed my commander without so much as a scratch left on the man. I spent three days in confinement for the smug grin that spread across my face, but I was permitted to train with my rapier from that point forward. I benefited much from the training with the other cadets, as did they from me. Handling my weapon was not of issue. I focused instead on my tactical training. I was quickly moved into an advanced class, where I eagerly absorbed lessons on psychological swordplay: degradation of the enemy, diversionary tactics, advanced parries and rapid disarmament of my foe. My father was allowed to further train me in these tactics, as I required a mentor of equal or greater skill with my blade. My father taught me that a quick mind is just as important as a quick wrist; a lesson I learned many times over.
"My rapid advancement through training made me a prime candidate for early graduation and placement. My father was so proud on graduation day. And on that day I was immediately introduced to the unit I would eventually lead. We worked together on nearly every task. Once we had passed our leadership and cooperative tests, we were officially introduced to the House Protectorate as a service unit, and my life has become considerably more leisurely since then. Since the House only calls us to active duty sporadically, we instead spend much of our time in briefings and further training (though not nearly as intense as the cadets). I spend much of my time educating myself on the art and theory of fencing, as well as daily meets with my father. His mind is so sharp, and his hands so quick! His reflexes…he anticipates my every move, and always has a counterstrike ready. How I love the lessons he teaches me! My proudest day will come when I finally best my father in a match…and I believe his pride will even exceed my own. But sadly, I fear that day must wait. Word has arrived that my unit is to be dispatched on urgent business. The briefing is tomorrow morning. I wonder what task could be so pressing..."
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First Post
Thank you for clearing that up, Kai Lord. I'll be writing up the description in notepad and posting as an edit to this post at a later date.
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Andrew D. Gable

First Post
Excellent! I must enter. Here is my iconic character, the one that was first a PC and now appears in all my campaigns...

Flynn Stormshadow
17th level Half Elf Ranger

A half elf hailing from the borderlands of the Deeping Frith (a forest IMC), Flynn is a tireless enemy of evil and famed champion of good and hero to the local peasantry. All this and few have clearly seen their savior, and even fewer know his true name. Were his name to be known, Flynn would find himself hunted by the dwarven forces of the north.

Appearance: Flynn often dresses in a plain, unadorned black cloak. He wears a suit of studded leather armor, and often greets his enemies with a red-fletched shaft from his longbow, "Rowan". If engaged in a melee fight, he can defend himself amply with the shortsword he carries at his side.


World of Kulan DM
My second submission

Dabuk Tigerstorm, Stalker

Stats: ½em / 5th level ranger (Rillifane), 2nd level stalker / chaotic good

Personality: Somber, serious, and slightly jaded

Weapons: Dagger, shortbow w/ masterwork arrows

Gear: Leather armor, breeches, tunic, hard-leather boots, hooded cloak, backpack, waterskin, belt pouch, plus any wilderness survival essentials. Dabuk is practical when it comes to being prepared.

Magic: Short sword +1; curved blade with etched runes along the length of the blade.

Species Enemy: Ogres

Description: Dabuk is very average looking for a half-elf (Cha 11), tending towards non-descript clothing. He is hardened, like a soldier that has seen way to much combat (Str 16, Dex 13, Con 15). His face would be able to express many masks of emotion, but those feeling would never touch his soul. He is calculating and has strength of will (Int 15, Wis 14). He doesn't trust or love easily but is loyal to his family, especially his grandfather.

Background: Dabuk grew up without a mother and a father that he hardly ever saw. His split heritage allows him two places that he calls home. His mother was a forest elf druid from Woodknot, Eiithinia Starchild, and his father is the human ranger, Garth Tigerstorm. Both were heroes in the Second Ogre War.

From a young age he was closer to his grandfather than anyone, which ultimately lead to Dabuk joining the Tiger Guild in the Kingdom of Thallin. The young half-elf thrived in the city and applied his natural wilderness talents in the city as well.

In fact, Dabuk is as a good a tracker as his father in the wilderness and can also out-track most of his fellow guild members through the streets of Fruen. However, he shines the most when in the forests around Woodknot. Not that he's been allowed there since the Therani Clan Elders cutoff the region from the rest of Harqual.

This has annoyed the young ranger, as he is no longer able to visit his mother's druidic grove. And he would be heartbroken to find out that Woodknot has been overrun by fiends that have defiled the region around the grove. And while it still stands, it won't be long before the wards put in place, to protect the grove begin to fail.

Dabuk hates ogres with a passion due to the fact that it was a group of ogres that killed his mother and his Aunt Lisa-Ann. He is positive that ogres were also responsible for the death of his Uncle Kevin, after the man disappeared trying to locate the ogres that killed his wife.

Telling Moments in his Life (Taken from my Story Hour)

In the following passage, Dabuk’s cousin Bactra Redwind shares ‘the memory’ of Dabuk witnessing his mother’s death with their friend and traveling companion, the gnome Thessa.

From the Journal of Bactra Redwind
Two nights have past since Rikin staggered up the hill. In those two nights we rested in relative peace. Nothing came out of the night to stalk us. We all agreed that Thessa's god was with us those nights and we named the small mound of earth and grass Baervan's Hill in honor of the God of Wanderers. Thessa was touched by our gesture and marked the hill as holy to her God.

We left the hill several hours ago and have been traveling non-stop towards the eastern coast of the continent. Thessa told us that while the desert does stretch nearly to the coast the conditions wouldn't be as hostile in that direction. Only time will tell...

...We reached the shore just before twilight making camp near the water but far enough away not to be caught between the land and the sea, just in case.

The sea air is doing wonders for Mesik's recovery. He limped for a while but has steadily been getting better. Rikin isn't doing as well but hasn't complained. He's definitely different then Dvalin. More reserved. More calm.

Thessa calls the waters off the coast the Karmine Sea. My tutor in Woodknot always referred to the great sea beyond the Sunus and Thunder Mountains as the Sea of Deep Waters. Thessa has never heard of the Karmine Sea being referred to with a different name. Something else that I'll have to discuss with the Elders once we're home again.

We watched as the sun set over the water. It was an amazing mixture of colors over the water...

...The next morning brings the dawn over the Great Expanse. We continue north along the coast with Dabuk in the lead. He is becoming more distant as we go further and further north. I was expecting it.

Thessa didn't understand. I tried to explain it to her later that night as the others slept during my watch.

"Dabuk's mother was killed by ogres when he was very young. He watched it happen. He was never the same after that. The news of ogres being on the move is obviously upsetting him."

"Poor dear, I wish I could do something to ease his pain."

"Thessa," I put a hand up shaking my head. "Don't even mention it to him."

"But surely you realize such hate is going to be the death of him."

"Yes, I know." I pulled my cloak around myself more tightly. Dabuk had insisted that we not light a fire.

"Well then don't you and his family owe it to him to try and help him."

I sighed shaking my head. I'd heard the argument time and time again. I watched my cousin as he slept. His breathing was steady but his twitching body gave away his pain to those that knew what to look for.

"He is dreaming about it right now."

Thessa stared at Dabuk with heart-felt concern in her eyes. "It's that bad."

"Yes," I leaned back staring at the stars. "He shared his dream with me once. He's been having it almost every night since that day."

"Tell me."

I looked at her unable to hold back the tears. "It will get into your soul. You'll never be able to get it out."

"Tell me."

"All right," I studied my cousin carefully making sure he was still dreaming. I beckoned the gnome priestess closer to me. She sat next to me. I took her hand.

"What you are about to experience isn't for the weak of heart. I am not a storyteller. I am a wizard. How I know these events is through Dabuk's eyes. Through what he saw that day and his dream... his nightmare."

"You mean you're going to actually share his dream with me. How is that even possible?"

"It is an elven ritual that allowed me to feel what he felt, see what he saw."

She seemed frightened by that and with good reason. I had begged Dabuk to share his pain with me to understand him better. He had tried in vain to warn me against it but I had persisted.

He and I agreed that if anyone else wanted to know the truth they would have to learn it from me through the power of my magic. Every person who had asked to know this pain had backed down when they learned what it truly meant to 'feel his pain'.

"If you don't want to do it I understand. Sometimes I wish I had never asked him."

"No, I want to do this. It is the way of my God to know those who you travel with. Know them like you know yourself. I must do this."

I was in shock. Thessa squeezed my hand nodding for me to continue.

"I-I really hadn't believed you'd go through with this. Now might not be the best time. It is my watch. The ritual puts me deeper than the Reverie. I won't be able to break it once we've started."

"Well, then wake up Dvalin. He's suppose to be on watch next."

"That really isn't fair to him."

"You're afraid."

"Damn right I'm afraid." Even though the air was cool I was starting to sweat.

"I thought you said I could if I wanted to."

Great, now she was making a liar out of me. "Fine. I'll wake Dvalin."

I found my legs with difficulty. My knees were trembling. I couldn't believe it. I stepped around the others to where Dvalin was snoring softly. I poke him in the ribs.

"Huh...<snort>... what, who?" Dvalin grabbed me by the arm. "Is it 3 o'clock already?"

"No," I knew he was going to be pissed. I whispered to him what Thessa was determined to do.

His eyes bug out. "Did you explain it to her?"


"She's either very brave or completely nuts." Dvalin shivered and not from the cold. "How anyone could want to experience another person's nightmares is beyond me."

"I agree. But she is insistant. I need you to watch the camp."

"Oh damn," Dvalin rubbed the drool out of his beard. "I knew you were going to say that. Go on boy. Just take away from the camp. Down by the sea maybe."

"All right." I looked back at Thessa shaking my head...

...Thessa and I had walked down to the shore together. I tried several times to talk her out of it. She wouldn't give, not an inch. I had to admire her courage.

The ritual could be dangerous to the weak-minded. Not that I thought her mind couldn't take the strain. But it was still dangerous. She was a gnome not an elf. I had been pretty sure that it wouldn't work with someone without elven blood. I was wrong.

We sat in front of each other her hands in mine. I guided her into the deepest parts of my mind. Soon there wasn't any difference between Dabuk's thoughts and our own...

..."Momma," Dabuk pulled on his mother's skirt. "When is pappa coming home?"

"Soon dear," He and your uncle have work to do."

Dabuk wished his pappa wouldn't go away so much. He missed him. But his work always seemed to come first.

"Bad nasties?"

"Yes Dabuk," Dabuk's mother looked towards the north with a frown. "Bad orcs and ogres."

Dabuk knew that meant his pappa wouldn't be home soon. He sat on the ground next to his house. Well, it wasn't his house really. His pappa built it. He just lived there. His aunty was there too. She always stayed with he and his momma when pappa and uncle went to fight bad nasties.

His mother looked at him shaking her head. "If you're going to mope around. Can you please do it inside? You're going to depress the forest."

"Aw momma," Dabuk rolled his eyes. His momma was one of the elven folk. She had a thing about trees that he really didn't understand. "Trees don't get depressed."

"You wouldn't say that if you knew them."

Dabuk gave up and went inside. The house was a small log cabin near the southern edge of the Great Forest. Dabuk's father, Garth, chose the spot because it was away from the constant skirmishes that continued to flare up after the Second Ogre War ended.

It was clean, neat and spartan. Real boring for a boy barely old enough to tie his own boots.

"Dabuk," The boy's aunt was sitting next to the hearth. "Pestering you're mother again are you?"

"Aw aunty," Dabuk sat down on the floor in a grumpy lump. "It ain't fair. Pappa's never home."

"Isn't dear, it isn't fair."

Dabuk couldn't help but roll his eyes again. "Fine. It isn't fair."

Dabuk laid down his arms and legs flailed out. He hated it when his Aunty Lisa corrected his words. Like it mattered out in the wilderness. He wished he was in Fruen visiting grandpa. At least there was always something to do there.

"Lisa-Anne!" Dabuk's mother cried out from outside.

"Momma?" Dabuk knew that tone. She used it when he wandered off once. His momma had been really worried.

"Eiithinia, what is it?" Dabuk's aunt turned towards the door just as his mother came rushing inside.

Dabuk sat up looking out the door. He didn't see anything out there to be so worried about.

"We have company." Eiithinia scooped up her son closing the door of the cabin.


"Not who, what!"

A gutteral cry came from outside to the west.

"May the North Gods protect us." Dabuk saw fear in both there eyes.



"Yes my son. Baddies."

Dabuk was scared.

"We have to flee into the forest." Dabuk's aunt was becoming hysterical.

"That won't do any good. I know the forest but you don't sister. Besides, I can't leave. This is my home.

"Dabuk, I need you to go down into the cellar, all right?"

"No! Momma, I want to stay with you!" Dabuk tried not to cry. His pappa told him it wasn't good to cry.

"Dabuk! I can't protect you and your aunt. You'll be safe in the cellar. The baddies aren't smart enough to look for you there if you are completely quiet. I need you to be brave."

Dabuk was blubbering. He wanted to be brave for his momma. But he didn't want to be away from her either.

"But momma... baddies!"

"I know son," She hugged him then handed him to his aunt. "Lisa Anne, I'm counting on you."

"I-I understand."


Eiithinia grabbed her sword, bow and quiver heading back outside. She slammed the door shut, while her sister locked it from the inside.

A gutteral roar shook the cabin.

"Momma! Momma! Momma!"

"Dabuk! You have to be quiet!"

Dabuk's aunt shook him until he stopped yelling. She threw open the cellar door forcing Dabuk down into the darkness. She slammed the trap door shut pulling the cabin's small table directly over it.

Dabuk watched through the cracks in the floorboards not making a sound. He couldn't have even if he had wanted to.

He heard another gutteral roar and then his aunty screamed. He couldn't tell what was real anymore. The thing roared again and again. Then another roar joined the unholy chorus. He heard the wooden logs crack watching as his aunty screamed again trying to climb out the back window.

She shrieked as a huge hand grabbed her through the window pulling her outside. Then Dabuk heard something he'd never forget the rest of his days. His mother screamed. Then he heard a loud cracking, tearing sound, as the ogres howled in triumph.

He felt the cabin shudder as they ripped away the logs. Then he saw them. They stood higher then the cabin was tall, much higher. They were ugly, inhuman beasts. They ripped the top half of the cabin completely off. They threw out all the furnishings scouring the small dwelling for anything of value.

Dabuk felt death beside him that day. He was sure they'd find him. They howled again in unison and Dabuk clamped his mouth shut while covering his ears. Fear ran through his spine into his heart.

He sat there for hours not moving. Night was coming but the ogres hadn't left yet. He couldn't hear them but he could smell the burning flesh. He forced himself not to cry. He had promised his pappa he'd not cry. He had promised his momma to be brave.

The beasts grunted at each other for hours making sounds like horrible laughter. He gritted his teeth balling his hands into fists. He shook with rage, tears streaming from his eyes. His hands began to bleed where his nails cut into his own flesh.

Then the beasts were gone. He knew it because he couldn't smell them any more. Yet, he didn't move. He sat there in the darkness all night hating...

...Morning came. The dawn pierced through the cracks of the cabin floor unhindered by the shattered roof. Dabuk felt the heat of the sun but felt no comfort or relief. He pushed open the trapdoor with all his strength.

What he found no boy should ever have to see. The burnt logs, the blacked earth, the bones - flesh eaten away. He fell to his knees crying not knowing which was his mother and which was his aunt. He threw up, the stench burning his lungs and eyes.

He was cold, shaking and alone for the first time in the world.

"Momma..." He whimpered. Then he felt it again. The rage burned in him and he screamed at the sky.

"I will kill them all! I will wipe them from the land wherever I go until none are left anywhere! I pledge my life and my soul to this! I will carry my hate as a banner and my rage as my sword! This I swear to my dying day!"

Then all is black...

...Thessa cried out in pain. She was shaking and Bactra grabbed a hold shaking her. She fought him trying to pull away screaming "Momma, Momma, nooooo!"

"Thessa! Thessa! It's over. The ritual is over. You're safe. Please..."

She blinked. "B-Bactra?"

"Yes, it's over."

"No," Thessa shook her head sobbing uncontrollably. "It will never be over."

"He warned you," I knew his voice even with the waves crashing against the shore. "But you just couldn't let it be."

"Dabuk," Thessa was panting for air. "I'm so sorry-"

"Save it!" Dabuk rose his voice his rage coming to the surface. "I don't want you're pity or your sympathy. What I want is for you to kill as many of them as you can when the times comes."

"I-I don't know if I can."

"Oh you will. There's no avoiding it now. It's like my cousin said. It's in you now. You'll never get it out."

"I'm not you!"

Dabuk laughed his voice echoing with wrought madness across the water...

This passage from my Story Hour depicts Dabuk praying at his mother’s sacred grove, speaking to her in a soliloquy.

The Great Forest, Woodknot, Eiithinia's Rest:
At the same time Bactra stood on his balcony, Dabuk could be found kneeling amongst the fallen leaves and soft earth of his mother's sacred grove. His legs and knees were numb but he hardly noticed. Only here was he ever near peace. Only here could he still be close to her.

A magically shaped oak in the form of Rillifane stood to his left with a equal of Corelleon on his right. They towered over the grove as sentinels guarding his mother's soul and the forest she loved. A small birch magically shaped in the form of his mother stood in the center of the grove. The Elders had dedicated it an the entire grove to his mother after her death. Renaming it Eiithinia's Rest.

"Mother," Dabuk spoke for the first time in five hours of praying. "Can you hear the trees today? They miss you."

The half-elven ranger was shaking his breath forming mist in the cold night air. But still he refused to move.

"Two more of the beasts are gone, mother. In time, they will all be gone. I swear it. I will make them pay for the pain and the death they cause.

This new war is a gift from Rillifane. I can feel it. Soon the hordes will know my name. Fear it. They won't have anywhere to hide from my rage, my vengeance.

Father thinks I am obsessed. If I am then I learned it from him. He hates orcs like I hate ogres. He never shows them mercy and I understand. And yet, he associates with one of the beasts! This Kellin One-Eye! An ogre, mother! One of his best friends in the world is an ogre!

He betrays us. I wish I knew why. Has the beast enchanted his mind somehow, mother? It doesn't make sense."

Dabuk raises his head staring at the Life Tree of his mother. He wished his life had been but a dream and that he would wake to find her standing over him. Smiling at him in that way that told him everything would be ok.

"Their deaths are not enough! I will not rest until they all gone and the evil one that spawned them with them! I will not yield. Someday, I will stand in heavens and destroy Vaprak himself! I swear it! Do you hear me Vaprak! I will come for you someday! I SWEAR IT!"

Dabuk was shaking uncontrollably. He fought to stay on his knees but could not. The grieving boy turned man lied down fetal, shaking. The trees wept for him.

"The trees miss you, mother." Dabuk whispered in the darkness. "I miss you."

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