Lord Garredd - A Roaming Bard

The first sound I heard in my life was the crashing of the waves on the shores and if Ni'ima bless me that shall be the last I hear as well. I was born in a small village on the sea on the Northwestern shores of Darkstone Bay. My Father, Garwyn, was a fisherman from whom I inherited my love of the sea. Many a day as a lad I would be found both mending and hauling nets as well as learning to weave the winds in the sails of our boat. Father always said the life of a fisherman was one of constant wrestling with Charl. My mother Tandea was the village teacher and it was from her I learned my letters and gained my love for books.

Though my parents taught me the ways of village life, it was from my Grandfather Geraldd that I gained knowledge of life outside our hamlet. Geraldd clearly had the best singing voice in all the area, and he could play any instrument to be had. He was known to boast he could out sing, out drink, out joke and out laugh any 10 men, younger or older. The best times in my youth were after the nets had been mended and set to dry, the fish cleaned and strung in the smoke house, all of my letters recited and chores done. Then when we would gather around the fire and Geraldd would weave tales and sing songs he had gathered in his travels. He would sing one song of a fisherman's life, and in the next breath a strange tune of far off elven lands. He would weave simple tales of life at sea, and recite sagas of heroes and magic, beasts and princesses. I soaked them all in like a sea sponge. To this day I can not sit by a fire nor smell smoke without an over powering urge to sit and spin a tale or sing a song.

Although Grandfather would boast his musical and lore abilities 'til he was red in the jowls it was only to me he revealed his magic. There were rumors of course, every tongue quietly wagged in the village. He could take up a rough piece of the quartz that covered the hills to the east and sing a strange tune to it so as to make the light dance of it and sparkle brighter in the sun. He showed me that he could cause a silver aura to surround him for a few minutes. And one time he showed me how he could sing the birds to sleep in their nests in the trees. I was but a lad and duly impressed. He chuckled at me and gently said ,"Garredd, the tricks I can do are like comparing a mill pond with the sea to what I have seen and but a spit in the waves compared to what I have heard tell".

As most boys do, I grew into a young man and as most young men do, I fell in love. Snowyrose, wild and beautiful as her name, she was at home in the deepest forest collecting her healing herbs as she was by the hearth brewing them into potions. It was as hard to charm her mother as it was easy for Snowyrose to charm me. In the end it was my reading and writing that swayed her over I think, she told me, "You may be a fisherman's son, but at least you don't seem too ignorant". Snowyrose and I had quiet happy years, the joy we had bolstered by the arrival of our daughter Tandee. She took to the wilds with her mother like I had been taken with the sea. Many a day they would come home laughing and grinning covered head to toe in moss and mud, foraging sacks brimming.

Both the most happy and most sad truth I have learned in life is this, all things change. One of the most sad for me was the Year of the Fever. It swept through our village taking lives as a fire devours dry leaves. None of the potions or herbals brewed could stave it off nor cure it once contracted. Snowyrose tended the sick as best she could but all she could offer in the end was solace, and then it fell to me to give comfort to her as she broke out in the red blotches and the life ran out of her as I held her in my arms. Our daughter was spared, as were my parents, Geraldd was not. Refusing all remedies, in the end he quietly slipped into Lorminstra's arms quietly singing a bawdy tune about a mermaid and a shipwrecked sailor with a whiskey glass clutched in his fingers, his remedy for everything from a chill to a plague. When my lute's strings call up memories of long lost loved ones, these are foremost in the song.

After the dead had been given to Charl the village fell on harder times. I left Tandee with my parents and walked the leagues to the nearest large port and signed on a merchant vessel, the Sea Thrak. Life at sea on a merchant ship was no harder than fishing for a living and it gave me silver coins in my pocket instead of silver fish scales on my hands. I loved the life, sailing up and down the coast, returning home will all manner of exotic gifts and tales. I watched my daughter grow older and in time she too left the village to find her own adventures in the wilds. Things changed again. For better or worse, you shall have to judge. A storm caught us one sweltering afternoon and battered us for a day and a night. Our main mast splintered and we found mired in a morass of seaweed, as far as the eye could see. We were not alone. Other ships there were, from rotting hulks to more modern vessels. Not a one had any life aboard. However this did not mean they were uninhabited. As we drifted close to one of the hulks the captain identified as a Krolvin slaver we saw the deck the other ship was covered with the dead bodies of the slaves and slavers. With the deepest horror I have ever felt I saw the bodies were festering and rotting, and yet still they moved. Closer and closer we drifted until we could see the naked hatred for the living reflected in the eyes of the dead, and the hunger. With a sickening scrape of wood on wood the Thrak's hull came up against the slaver. Then they were upon us, swarming over the rails. We hacked at them with what knives and axes we could muster but to no avail, they took no wounds off our blades and clubs. Seaman and officer alike fell were they stood trying to fend them off only to have the creatures crouch to the deck and devour the dead and dying. The captain had a few of us roll oil barrels up from the hold and breached them with an axe, drenching the deck with it. He snatched the smoking lamp from its peg and raised it high over his head and called out, "We are doomed lads, better to take them all with us in flame than to die at their hands!" He hurled the lamp into the midst of the mid deck and the ship blazed up in flames. I took my place on the forecastle and prepared to die in fire or water when out of the flames a burning corpse of a krolvin quickly made it's way up the steps. I tried to fend it off with my dagger but it easily blocked my weak blows and buried it's backsword deep in my chest. It wrenched it's blade free and I fell over the side and into the red waters, my own life's blood adding to the billows of those fallen before me. As I sank slowly beneath the still waters I was surrounded by seaweed wrapping me like a shroud. A strange peace came over me as the sea rushed into my lungs and my blood gushed out. The last thing I remembered was a dolphin swimming towards me. The odd thing was the dolphin seemed for a moment to have the face of a Lady, then was a dolphin again! I heard a voice in my head saying, "Not yet, you have My songs to sing still." As She came closer and brushed up against me all my pain vanished and I knew no more.

I awoke cold and shivering on an altar in a great temple. I explored the area and found I was in Ice Mule Trace. I was far from home and family so I geared my self up and took to hunting for a living. For a few years I unsuccessfully chased the creatures under the city sewers waving around a great two handed blade I had bought and clanking about in second hand chain mail. I lost count of my deaths and failures. Then one day I remembered my Grandfather and his songs and the words in my head as I sank dying. I sold all my things and found a trainer who could teach me of song magic and ways of a Bard.

With my new found skills I soon grew tired of the cold and ventured south to the Landing to seek fortune and fame. My lust for greatness at that time led me to try and easy path that may well have been my undoing. Although I Mastered the skills I was taught I felt an emptiness in them. Then I heard of the Society of Voln, and the visions of the undead swarming over the decks of my ship killing and devouring my mates came flooding back into my head. I turned my back on my latest gained abilities, found the strength within myself to defeat my own darker nature and left that part of my life behind for good. I entered Voln as an acolyte and after many a year Mastered the Society.

With quill and paper in hand I traveled to River's Rest and took up hunting and slaying krolvin and later spectral lords. The Rest was a wonderful place, quiet and friendly. It was there I gained my title of Lord. My hatred for all undead never quenched I journeyed to Varanar castle with it's crumbling battlements and deep pits. Time and again I ventured deep into it's mysteries to free the tortured souls trapped in moldering remains there, until at last I could stay no longer. I made my way to Solhaven and Bonespear Tower for a few years, continuing to free souls in agony. Mistake me not, to me there is no higher purpose or sacred duty in the elimination of undead, to me it is like lancing a festering wound that grows on our Lands.

I once again heard the call of the sea and took ship to Teras Isle accompanied by my brother Tsabrak and my sisters Heavenmoon and Charlane. The Isle holds many wonders and many dangers and proved a good and true home for many a season. I wrote many a good song there and heard many a tale. But once again things changed and the promise of new songs and tales beckoned when I heard tell the trail to the Elven Nations being rediscovered. I took to the trail again with my book of songs in my pack and my lute in hand. I went seeking more adventure and fortune. The treasure I found there was a complete surprise to me. Such treasure can not be valued in silver and gems for it is a wealth of the heart. Her name is Lady Chantara. We share life and love and song, and I know I am truly blessed with her in my heart and at my side.

I have I once heard that an old sailor retires by throwing an oar over his shoulder and walking inland, when he goes far enough that some one asks him what that thing he is carrying is used for, he knows he's gone far enough from the sea to not hear her sirens call. I am now as far from the sea as I have ever been but still she calls to me. I hear her waves as I drift off to sleep at night and some bright mornings far inland I can swear I smell a tang of salt on the air. Where will our roaming take us next? To feel the spray of the sea again or the cold winds of the North upon our faces? Or to new, as yet undiscovered lands? I for one can not say, for each morning is a new song ......... and things change.