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The saga of Vortobias Trueblade

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The saga of Vortobias Trueblade

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:06 pm

From the notes of Salis Bartholemew, Bard of Cormyr

I first met the man in an unusual place. I was in a abbey in the middle of nowhere. Somewhere in southern Sembia, days west of the city of Saerloon I believe. I have been known to stop at random temples in my journeys and offer whatever assistance I can. I find making a good impression with the right people can save your life when you least expect it. As I introduced myself to the reigning priest of this abbey. Truth there was little I needed of me. They allowed me to do some gardening and help with their one patient at the time.

When I first saw him he was lying on a bed with his eyes closed. A cleric told me that he had been that way for a week. A stranger had found him lying on the road. At first he thought the man was dead but on closer inspection realized he was merely unconscious. After doing all that he could he brought him here. The poor patient has no identification and no possessions accept for torn and dirty clothes. He has not moved since arriving here. All at the abbey expect him to perish at anytime. My heart went out at the sight of him. Dark hair and a strong face with a slight beard. His body obviously was once strong, was dying. Alone in the wilderness he was most likely a bandit of some kind, but no man should die unknown in the company of strangers.

That night I heard a noise in the front room. Followed by a scream. Foolhardy as I am, I raced to see what the disturbance was. Three men in wilderness clothes were in the central room. A serving girl was on the floor. The leader’s fist was still balled when he looked at me. He shouted at me and his two accomplices headed my way. As I quickly backed down the hallway, I felt a hand roughly grab my shoulder and pull me backward. I found myself in the room of the unconscious patient. The high priest put a finger to his lips and motioned me to hide. Taking his advice I hid behind a dressing screen I believe was used to give a measure of privacy, when there are multiple patients here. I still had a decent view of the room. The priest ushered in a few of the women, some priestesses in their own right and some serving girls. Granted in their night clothes and in a poor abbey, I would not have wished to wage gold on which were which.

With a sudden crash the door burst inward. The priest, arms open wide, begged the men to leave. He insisted that this was a poor abbey with little wealth. Another punch from the leader of these bandits crumpled the kindly priest. One of the ladies screamed and rushed to his side only to be caught by the arm by one of the bandits. I thought I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. Looking quickly I saw only the candle by the bedside of the patient. I heard one of the bandits comment about this place having a little wealth after all. As my eyes again turned to the bandits I noticed them laughing as the girl struggled in their arms. Shame struck me. I wanted to help this girl. I wanted to be a hero like the ones I wrote about. The unfortunate truth was I was no hero. I was simply a storyteller and historian. I carried no weapon, as I lowered my head in shame, all I found myself doing was praying to whatever god would listen that the other women in this room would be silent and avoid the same fate.

Over the laughter of these evil men I heard a creak. I held my breath as I listened. The others were too distracted to hear anything. Suddenly I questioned where that sound came from. The remaining women were hiding behind me and to the right. The sound came from my left. Perhaps I was not the first the priest had sent in here and someone was hiding near the patient. If that was the case then they must have also been people I had not seen yet. As far as I knew the priest, these four women and the serving girl downstairs were the only people here.

Suddenly my mind was brought back to the present with a renewed scream and subdued sob while the laughter got louder. It must have only been seconds since the priest fell but time seemed to stretch forever. As my eyes returned to the scene before me my blood started to boil. Someone had to stop this! The girl turned to the leader and spit at him. With one of his friends holding her arm. The leader of the bandits slapped her so hard, my face hurt. Knocked away from the man holding her, the sound of tearing cloth filled the air.

As my knuckles turned white from gripping the screen. I started to rise. Knowing I was as good as dead attacking these men. I was going to do it. Suddenly I heard a weak voice whisper “Step away from yon maiden.”

The man whom we all thought was dying was actually standing next to his bed. He was weak and his footing wasn’t sure and all this made me even more ashamed. This poor fool was less likely to live than I, but more willing to fight. The girl was lying near his feet trying to maintain decency with her torn gown. With a better view of this man, I now noticed that he was a large man. Over six feet tall and wide shoulders, but the most noticeable thing about him was his eyes. They were the brightest blue I had ever seen. They seemed to glow like lightning or the sea. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that shade of blue before but I know I’ll never forget it.

The men were obviously not intimidated by the weak man in front of them. Telling him to mind his own business or he’d get hurt they laughed. I heard the girl quietly beg for help. As I watched a startling thing happened. The man whispered back “worry not My lady, While I still draw breath, they’ll not touch you.” As he made this unlikely promise he stood to his full height. He no longer showed any signs of weakness. His feet were planted sure and stood tall and strong. And when he spoke again it was with a voice used to command. “Stand down. Any man who takes action against the fair maiden will not leave this room alive.”

Apparently I was not the only one to notice the transformation. The leader was still unshaken but his friends were not. They looked nervously back and forth. The leader asked him what an outnumbered and unarmed man would do. The man looked past him at the man on his left and his face clouded and his eyes flashed. “You would take my sword and commit heinous crimes with it!” The bandit looked down at his longsword with a very confused look on his face. “I will have my sword. And I will have it now!” the man said.

The man holding the sword in question seemed truly confused. He whispered something to his partner I couldn’t hear. He shook his head and his partner shrugged his shoulders. The leader with an evil smile turned to him and told him that if the man wanted the sword, then by all means give it to him. Then he laughed.

I was in the open but nobody seemed interested in me so I had a truly good view of what happened next. The man in back drew the sword and started toward the patient. Knowing battle was upon him the stranger stepped in front of the helpless girl. The bandit slashed with a downward stroke and with blinding speed the strange hero scooped up the table that was near his bed with his left hand. The sword embedded itself in the table with a loud thunk. Quickly dropping the table, he threw his free fist straight into the face of his attacker. The bandit slumped against the wall. The remaining bandits were stunned into silence as the hero reached down and pulled the sword from the table. “The sword of my ancestors has returned to it’s rightful owner.” he stated. “This is your last warning. Apologize to yon maiden, renounce your wicked ways and leave in peace. If not, I have no alternative but to slay you where you stand.”

At this statement, even the leader seemed shaken. Not shaken enough to agree to those extreme demands of course. With a look between them, the two remaining men charged into combat. Obviously these two men had fought together many times before. One went high with a slash to the head and the other went for a crippling cut to the leg. The strange hero was no novice to battle either. He blocked the lower cut with his sword, and ducked low to avoid the blow to his head. With a twist he disengaged the swords and a quick turn had the blade in line with his elbow. The bandit who swung high, also swung hard . Not expecting the duck his swing nearly turned him around and when the hero brought his elbow straight back he was in no position to block. The sword slid smoothly between his ribs. Quickly the blade was freed from the shocked corpse and brought around just in time to stop the leader’s blow. Angered at the loss of his friend the leader came on in furious series of blows all of which were stopped or dodged by the stranger.

The ringing of steel seemed to last hours but really only lasted a few moments. I didn’t know how long a man who had been bedridden so long would be able to last. Finally the bandit lunged too far and the strange man stepped to side and swung hard. The bandit’s body fell to the floor. His head took a few more moments to land. Turning toward the now unarmed man in the corner the hero did a most unexpected thing. He picked up the headless man’s sword and tossed it at the remaining bandits feet. “Pick it up and join your friends.”

I almost felt sorry for the man. He seemed lost as he stared at his dead friends and then the sword in front of him. He started to reach for it but then recoiled as if it were a snake. The strange hero just stared at him with those icy blue eyes and I knew he wouldn’t move till his opponent armed himself. The bandit looked once more at the sword and his friends and finally broke down. Crying he begged for mercy and pleaded for forgiveness from the girl. “Yon Maiden!” the stern man corrected. Quickly correcting himself he apologized for his behavior from “yon maiden.” As he started to stand one look at the man’s angry face slowed him down. He then quickly added that he would never hurt people again. “Renounce!” Quivering the man stated that he renounced his past life. “Wicked!” Remembering, he renounced his wicked ways. Hearing those words (and only those exact words he had demanded earlier) the hero visibly relaxed and turned his back on the bandit and toward the girl and priest.

I couldn’t believe that he would turn his back on an enemy, and neither could the bandit. His gaze slowly turned toward the blade at his feet and at the exposed back of the man who humiliated him. Then good judgement seemed to overtake him and he quickly backed out the door and left in peace.

The place was in an uproar. Such heroics as I had thought only existed in song or tale had actually occurred right in front of me. The priest was starting to come around, and the ladies were now out of hiding. All were talking at the same time and trying to meet this man they had been caring for. I was amazed that as brave as he was in the face of danger, he seemed very uncomfortable in the face of gratitude. When asked his name he responded that “My name is Vortobias Trueblade, son of Sir Amond, Grandson of Sir Articolan, Blood of Sir Antigoneas and Knight of the Realm.”

An impressive heritage, though that he was a knight shouldn’t surprise me. Actually I was surprised. I have met my share of knights and few were as the tales led you to expect. Most spend their free time under a table if you know what I mean. Come to think of it I believe that it’s an impressive heritage. I don’t actually recognize any of those names but I’m not too familiar with Sembian nobility.
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Re: The saga of Vortobias Trueblade

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:57 pm

The Origin of Tobias Trueblade

This story begins in a time without time, and place that is between places. It is the place of the gods. Here they watch mankind, making decisions and influencing mortals as they please. Lathander, god of Rebirth, had requested thepresence of the gods know as the Triad. Tyr, god of Justice, Torm, god of Paladins, and Illmater, god of perseverance.

When all were in attendance, Lathander got right to the point. “There is a mortal I wish to discuss with you. One who is unclaimed by an of the deities. I believe he could be very useful in the coming days.”

Tyr, highest Ranking of the Triad stepped in, “Unclaimed you say? So he doesn’t worship any of us… What use is he to us or even You?”

“He does not actively worship any god, but he is nearly the physical embodiment of our virtues.” Lathander seemed excited. With a wave of his hand a vision appeared of young man in old armor. “Since I’ve watched him, he has shown NO fear. None at all.” As he spoke the vision changed to show the man in various battles. “He has fought like a demon for the concept of Justice… He is completely unwavering on his principles. He’s come near death repeatedly, but will not give in to weakness if an innocent is counting on him. All while following a code as strict as any paladin. Truly fascinating.”

Torm spoke up than, “ Most impressive, but as you say… his soul is unclaimed, we have nothing to do with him. Why call this meeting.”

“I had an idea that I wanted to run past you three. I believe to be truly effective it would require the cooperation of all of us.” Lathander paused a moment before stating triumphantly “I think we should make him a Paladin!”

“Impossible” Tyr interjected. “You can’t be a Paladin if you don’t worship a god.”

“But he does!” Lathander interrupted. “In the most bases of ways, he worships us all! He promotes Justice! He promotes Courage! He has repeatedly taken on trials so others wouldn’t have to! Most important, He’s inspired these traits in others. All these concepts are yours! His existence is makes all of us stronger!”

“What about you ? How do you figure in?” Tyr demanded.

The vision of the mortal seemed to rewind on itself. Eventually coming to a stop with the man riding a horse carrying the flag of a knight.

Lathander narrated. “See here he is a few years ago. Nordwig, Squire to Sir Fawler. He was a decent squire, though I doubt he would have become a knight. Low born and poor. He wanted it desperately enough, but sometimes fate is against you.”

The visions moved forward to a fierce battle. “Here Sir Fawler was dispatched to protect a village from a few giants.” The image shows Sir Fawler getting crushed by a boulder. “He didn’t do so well. However if you ‘ll notice the boy is horribly outnumbered, and doesn’t retreat. His only thought is the fulfilling Sir Fawler’s duty. He actually kills one before this happens…” The scene changes to the young man getting smashed in the back of the head with a large rock. “That should have killed him. But it didn’t”

The next scene shows him in a monastery. When the place is attacked by bandits and a woman is threatened all three members of the Triad get visibly agitated. Suddenly the young man awakens and thoroughly routs all three of the villains.

When asked his name, the man replies Sir Tobias Trueblade. Lathander smiles broadly. “There. Did you see it? Rebirth in its purest form!”

Torm’s face darkened. “I don’t see rebirth, I see deception. To give a false name and take a title never bestowed… Not deeds worthy of a Paladin.”

Tyr looked at the images with surprise, “Your mistaken Torm. There is no deception in this man.” When Torm waited for an explaination, Tyr continued. “He’s not lying. He honestly believes he is this man he claims to be. The blow from the rock must have damaged him somehow.” looking at Lathander, “Is it permanent?”

“Yes, Near as I can tell. There have been occasion where others have tried to heal him of his damages, I tried myself through a monk” Lathander just grinned “ Nothing happened. My theory is that he doesn’t want to be healed. He would cease to be the Hero and return to the squire. Regardless Nordwig died that day, and Sir Tobias was born… Reborn!”

“And that’s where you come in. Having this man remake himself into a better him…. “ Illmater muttered

“Exactly.”

“Still,” Torm spoke up. “We can’t make him a Paladin unless he chooses which of us to follow. One of US has to give him abilities”

“Or All of us” Lathander countered.

“All…. “

“Yes, What if… What if we all took a hand at steering this man.” Lathander spoke faster as he finally got to the reason for the meeting “It would be the best of all worlds. We may not be able to control him or order him through our organizations… but we can provide little nudges, an occasional miracle or two. If we all joined in and took turns… it could be a pet project.”

“Think of it. We would be empowering another force for Good. Someone who already exemplifies our best traits, just not in the prescribed manner. We’d just help him live a little longer. He has never proclaimed himself a Paladin, he doesn’t do his quests in our name, odds are he wouldn‘t even notice the powers… so if anything goes wrong, there isn’t any liability. We gain power as he inspires others… There’s no downside!”

“I kind of like him. I’d take if he wanted. He’s actually better at my doctrine than some of my priests.” Illmater looked at the images of the man. “What’s he riding? A Mule?”

Lathander looked a little sheepish, “ uhhh yeah. That’s the other thing. He may or may not be crazy.”

Tyr shook himself out of his deep thought “Say that again.”

“Yeah… the rock and all. Since his rebirth, he’s taken on a few unusual characteristics. While he is completely honest, he doesn’t always see things the way others do. For example he believes that the mule has the noble soul of a war horse.”

“So he’s insane” Torm responded.

“Maybe… Since he’s hooked up with the mule, it DOES seem to make as good if not better mount than many horses. Whether that makes him correct or not, I can’t say…”

“This is the one you’ve chosen for our champion” Torm said with sarcasm.

“I feel we need him.” Lathander insisted. “Too many of our enemies strike at us through our agents.” The others nodded knowingly. “With this man we would have a force for good that our enemies can’t associate with us. I say we try to keep in the game as long as we can. What do you say?”

The others watched the images of the man’s life pass before them. Ilmater was the first to respond. “I said before that I like him. I’m in.”

Torm shook his head… “ I’ll go with the others, but I don’t like him. He isn’t who he claims to be, and the rank of Paladin has a structured hierarchy that I don’t like to see circumvented.”

Tyr was longest to reply. “I’ll not hold the change of a name against the man’s character. While he lives he’s fighting for us. If he dies unclaimed, he’s of no use to us at all. Unless his belief is fanatical enough he’ll be lost. From what I’ve seen and heard, whether we bless him or not, he’ll keep fighting the good fight. I say we try to keep him alive as long as we can.” With a smirk he added “Besides, without the hierarchy we can cut him loose anytime he strays.”

Lathander smiled at the image of Sir Tobias Trueblade, “This is going to be interesting.”
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