A Journey Of Friends
Grex Lokin. Human. Damaran. Bard. Age 25.
Appearance: 6’1" Black hair down to his shoulders. Fair skinned. 170lbs. Scars resembling the tangled roots of a plant or lightning streaking across the night sky starting behind his ears splintering down the sides of his neck and down his arms before fading into his wrist. No scars of this nature present on hands other parts of his body.
Lifespan: 250-300 years
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral: creatures follow their whims, holding their personal freedom above all else.
Entertainer Routines: Actor, Singer, Storyteller
Personality Trait: Holds personal freedom above all else. High self-confidence. Loves joking/playing around and is always looking for a laugh even in the midst of danger. Lacks respect for titles.
Ideal: People. I like seeing the smiles on people’s faces when I perform. It reminds me of my mother.
Bond: I have a reoccurring dream that my father is still alive as a slave for the Drow. One day I hope to find out.
Flaw: I am easily consumed by games of chance. Always over confident.
Defining Event: Choosing to embrace my magical abilities and use them to search for my father…and avenge my mother.
Trinkets: My mother’s necklace. A point-down triangle containing a swirl of mist. The symbol of Leira, goddess of illusion. Alignment CN. Domain Trickery.
Octagon shaped silver coin that is slightly larger than a quarter. With the face of Tymora, goddess of good fortune. Alignment CG. Domain Trickery.
Instruments: Small Blood Harp (half the size of a hunting bow). Wooden lute.
The Life and Trials of Grex Lokin, True Damaran Bard of the Forgotten Realms –A lengthy title for a lengthy scroll that was haphazardly thrown into a leather satchel resting underneath the bar amongst stacks of brewing recipes inside the illustrious Seventh Sanctum Tavern. One of the liveliest gathering places in the Forgotten Realms. The Seventh Sanctum Tavern can only be found in Silverymoon, the capital of Luruar nestled in Northwest Faerun. Known by some as the Gem of the North, Silverymoon welcomes Elves, Humans, Half-Elves, Shield Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes alike. Those seeking entertainment be it via a song, a story, or just a ripe drink are found populating this two-story tavern. Just as gold fills the dreams of a Dragonborn, high-spirits fill the Seventh Sanctum’s world-renowned stage. Four wooden stairs lead up to a square platform in the center of the main floor. Resembling a lonely island amongst a vast sea of entertainment parched souls. A stage only meant for true veteran Bards. For only the entertainers who have mastered their craft realize the true sanctum, is the stage. For it is where a Bard quenches their thirst for recognition and glory. The Sanctum’s performance weathered crowd is the ultimate judge of an entertainer’s actual ability to perform, persuade, and even deceive an audience.
Yet on this evening, no seasoned Bard was within miles of the Seventh Sanctum. The main road into the city is lightly traveled this time of year…a couple of full moons before winter strikes…when creatures are desperately searching for food. It’s the only stretch of time the Tavern sees a slowdown in true talent, for the best Bards have a burning desire to travel and elect to perform in warmer climates. But, after working here for five years, you learn to appreciate the break. The silence of the stage this time of season allows one to reflect. For the stage is the battlefield of the Bard, whose only weapons are music and speech. However, no battle of wits will be waged tonight. The stage is only paralleled in loneliness by the top shelf in a Halfling’s home. Simply because these few weeks before the first heavy snow bring darkness with them. Dwelling deep beneath the surface in the Underdark, Drow are known to emerge on only the darkest of these nights. Hunting and harassing novice adventurers. Pillaging and slaughtering anything that is ill-fated enough to find themselves face to face with these demon worshipers. Drow only seek to gain favor from their beloved spider-goddess, Lolth. Pleasing her through gruesome murder or by adding broken souls to the unbearable servitude of the Drow. For these grim couple of months, the Seventh Sanctum Tavern is home to only a few weary locals.
Not long before closing, a local Sun Elf briskly walked into the tavern. After attempting to shake off the bite of the frigid winter air, he scanned the bar for his father. Third time this week he has been in a few moments before closing, each time having to pry his father from the bar and rally him back home. After a few moments of glancing about the room, the Sun Elf’s gaze made its way toward my corner of the bar, his father being one of the two patrons I had been tending. As he reluctantly made his way our direction, I began to sense something within the Elf that had not made itself present these past few nights. A volatile mixture of disgrace, fear, and anger. Curious about his woes, I quickly offered him a fresh mug of hot cider before he was able to disturb his father. I then topped off his father’s tankard and informed them both this round was on me. Drawn in by the warm walls of the mug of cider alone, the young Sun Elf nodded his head and took a seat next to his father at the bar. My Bard soul was in disarray from the brokenness of the relationship that sat before it. I turned toward the father and graciously asked if I may tell a story that I have in the works about a boy and his family while he was enjoying his final drink with his son. Content with a full pint, he slurred something in Elvish, gave an awkward wink, and took a drink. I smiled and reached for the scroll under the bar. Pausing, gathering myself, I began to read.
The Life and Trials of Grex Lokin, True Damaran Bard of the Forgotten Realms
Being born into a loving Damaran family in the city of Silverymoon, Grex Lokin was the deaf child of a struggling actor and an experienced cook. Grex’s parents handled his disability differently. Dalia, the mother, although with good intentions was overwhelming at times with repetitive and sometimes unnecessary precautions, doing her best to think of what dangers may lay in wait for her hearing impaired baby boy. While the father, Kearn, acknowledged the affliction but didn’t let it hinder any interactions shared with his boy. Kearn’s charismatic spirit never failed to bring a tune whenever the two were together, simply elated to be a father. Treating the child no different from any other. Speaking and even singing to him on a regular basis as if he understood every word. Born into a chaotic world but to a loving family, the first four years of Grex Lokin’s life were all peaches and ale.
“Are the edges smooth? Is the saddle too hard? Does it rock to high? Are the handles on tight?” Dalia riddled Kearn with questions as he sanded-down the nose of the toy rocking horse the couple were building for their son’s fifth naming day. With only two more days left to complete the gift, there wasn’t much time to argue. Concentrating on the toy rocking horse, the Lokin parents had forgotten about the busted latch on the backdoor.
Grex always seemed to be drawn to front window of the Lokin city home. He loved to sit and watch the constant flow of new bodies into Silverymoon. Ever hopeful for a glimpse of his favorite animal, a horse. So, that is where Dalia left him as she stepped away to oversee the completion of his gift. However in Grex’s eyes, a gift had just trotted past his house. Four black and white warhorses with braided manes and bejeweled harnesses led a crimson carriage with no windows towards the middle of town. Grex’s eyes grew wide with excitement. Unable to control the adventurous Damaran spirit streaming through his body, the four-year-old boy took advantage of this rare lapse in Dalia’s watchful eye and set out into the busy streets of Silverymoon. Following the massive footprints of the warhorses, Grex disappeared into the crowd.
Not five minutes had gone past when Dalia’s attentiveness surfaced, and she discovered Grex was no longer sitting in front of the window where she had left him. After a few tense moments of searching, Dalia realized the backdoor was ajar. Hours race by as the Lokins unsuccessfully searched the city. Darkness started to creep up and the Lokins elected to head home in hope that Grex had found his way back. Approaching their residence, Dalia noticed through her tears an unfamiliar figure standing outside their home. Next to it was a smaller, childlike figure. “Grex?” Dalia gasped as she upgraded her pace. Kearn, realizing what captured Dalia’s gaze, took off after her. Gaining ground on their location, the shadows gave way revealing a High Elf and next to him was indeed Grex. The High Elf watched as the Lokins sprinted towards him. Before Dalia could reached them, the High Elf slipped a smooth, white, glass-like stone into Grex’s pocket and turned to leave. With Kearn in tow, Dalia scooped up Grex as she cried tears of relief. After looking Grex over and finding no signs of harm or mistreatment, Kearn turned to thank the High Elf for returning his son but only found empty footprints. Being worn out from scrounging the city streets for his son Kearn chalked it up to good fortune and directed his family inside.
Dalia was not so willing to let the mysterious High Elf or the almost disaster of losing her child escape her memory so easily. All night visions, of a shadowy Elf lurking amongst herds of people as they graze through the city streets, haunted her dreams. Dalia can’t help to feel as if these nightmares are some sort of warning. In a restless state, the next morning Dalia begged Kearn to understand. “The town has grown too busy for our curious son, she cried. We must leave today! TODAY!” Kearn had never witnessed such a look of terror flood the beautiful face of his wife. At that moment, it was clear he had to bring his family to the safest place he knew. Heading West to his hometown of Neverwinter was his only option. After trading their small home, including most of their possessions, to a Shield Dwarf couple that recently purchased the neighboring house accepted the trade conveniently devoid of hesitation. Allowing the Lokin family to start their journey that very day. A steep price for two horses and enough supplies to get them to Neverwinter but the clock was ticking.
After traveling since noon towards the town of Waterdeep, darkness started to creep up on the family. Caught in between towns and noticing the sun slipping beneath the horizon Kearn wasted no time in finding shelter; utilizing a shallow den underneath the overturned roots of a giant tree. With it being off of the road about eight or nine dragon lengths and the torn up roots providing dense cover on most sides, Dalia easily made due with this location for the night. Tucking Grex into the woven together roots, the tree provided excellent protection from the wintry wind that continued to grow in strength. Rays of moon light fought to pierce the cloud covered night sky as an unsettling darkness began to set it. Grex was the only one to find comfort in the makeshift forest home. His deafness proved to be a blessing this night as the heavy gusts of wind produced an eerie screeching sound from the stiff trees. Just an hour into the night Kearn gives up on sleep and decides to check on the two warhorses he traded his family’s small city home for with intentions on selling them once they reach their destination of Neverwinter. Kearn viewed the horses as an investment and was rightfully concerned when he saw what at first he took for a shadow with stark white hair move from behind the horses and back into the forest. Short tempered and already pissed from being cold Kearn was in no mood to deal with a thief. Yelling out and stomping off towards the warhorses Kearn was determined to handle this swiftly. Clutching his rapier, he eagerly followed the fading footprints. Starting to become overran with worry and confident in the level of cover Grex is fast asleep in, Dalia headed to check on her husband. Stumbling upon a body face down in the snow she frantically runs over and falls to the ground by what she can now tell is Kearn, she feels his body still drawing shallow breaths. Then without warning a cold, steel rapier finds purchase in Dalia’s upper back. With a downward angle causing the blade to pierce through the ribs and out the upper torso pinning her to the ground in a kneeling positon. Dalia’s unending cries of pain bring her husband back to consciousness. Confused and blurry eyed after the blow to the head he received not moments ago he counted eight Drow. The lone female was the only Drow bearing armor and stood tall keeping pressure on the stolen rapier she plunged into Dalia’s back. Pleased with her two knew warhorses, she offers Kearn a deal. She will let his wife live if he agrees to live a life of servitude to the Drow in the Underdark. Now cleared of his blurred vision, Kearn realizes the Drow were oblivious to his son, just as his son was unware of his mother’s heart tearing screams. Understanding this means Grex gets to live, Kearn agrees. Laughing the female Drow quickly rips the rapier from Dalia and in the same motion, with her off hand dagger, she cuts Dalia’s throat. Kearn furiously rises to his feet only to be knocked out and chained by one of the seven male Drow. Pleased with two warhorses and a slave the Drow slip back into the depths of the planet. Leaving Grex in a peaceful sleep.
Awoken by hunger Grex freed himself from the blanket of roots his mother had placed over him. Stepping out of the shallow hole he wondered where his parents could be. Noticing the horses were gone Grex wondered if his parents took them to gather food for a nice birthday breakfast. Excited with thoughts of fresh berries Grex walked toward where the horses were last tied up to wait on his parents return. After a few steps, Grex suddenly stopped in his tracks, as he stood not fifteen feet from his mother’s lifeless body. Collapsing to the ground from shock, Grex fainted.
Bursting awake, Grex found himself in the arms of the same High Elf that helped him return home two days prior. This time, the Elf was carrying the boy to his own home after discovering the boy unconscious at the scene of his mother’s brutal murder. The sudden feeling of being held by someone causes Grex to burst into tears, sobbing into the chest of the High Elf the rest of the walk home. Gifted with the intelligence of his mother, Grex realizes being a deaf five-year-old alone in the world wouldn’t end well. Knowing this, he didn’t oppose the care of the Elf. Once feed a proper meal from the hand of his new self-appointed guardian. The reality of losing his home and family on his birthday sets in. Exhausted and emotionally drained Grex lies down and drifts to sleep.
Fildor, the Elf Grex finds himself with, was of a peculiar sort with a strong appreciation for arcana and spent most of his days practicing in the privacy of his secluded home in the edge of the High Forest. He particularly loved the challenge of enchanting. The first night as Grex innocently slept, Fildor began to play a Dwarf size crystal harp. Gleaming in the moon light that passed through the window. A crimson cloud seemed to float freely within the beautiful instrument, dancing with the melody that poured out as each string was plucked. In a trance-like state, the Sun Elf plays the harp throughout the night next to where Grex lay sleeping. Reminded of his family in his dreams, he sees his father and mother carrying on with each other as they always did. Kearn’s charismatic attitude always kept a smile on Dalia’s face. Finding comfort in this memory Grex drifted peacefully out of his dream, lead back into reality by a foreign sensation that began to fill his body. Now fully awake and sitting upright Grex sees the Elf playing this massive instrument. Only now he can hear the sweet notes that glide effortlessly through the air. Being able to feel physically the presence of music and speech enter his body Grex was lifted off the bed and suspended in the air for a brief moment as Fildor ended his magical song. With a sudden burst of light, the experimental enchantment was a success. Overwhelmed with new power and knowledge Grex tirelessly questioned the Sun Elf about everything. From the slaughter of his mother to intricacies of flute making. Learning under the close supervisor of Fildor, Grex began to harness the charismatic nature of his father combined with the intelligence of his mother to perfect the talents and trades of a true Bard. It wasn’t until the age of twenty that Grex had a firm grasp on the three arts every true Bard must master. Magic, music, and speech.
Becoming more confident in his ability with each passing day Grex begins to talk of city life. Old memories of Silverymoon called him home. Deciding he is finally ready to return to his childhood home of Silverymoon, Grex explains his plans to Fildor. Hearing this Fildor knows that the young man’s mind is made up and that he cannot stop him. Knowing Grex is leaving, Fildor hesitantly, with a cracking voice asks Grex to take a seat for a moment. Curious, Grex pulls out a chair from the table where he ate rabbit stew for 15 years….too much rabbit stew….always god damn rabbit stew…Fildor slowly begins to confess to Grex that his music and speech abilities are granted through a dark Elven blood magic. He explains that he had collected a vile of Dalia’s blood before discovering Grex to still be alive. Fildor admitted to enchanting the harp with the blood of Grex’s mother that enabled such a potent enchantment. Fildor convinced Grex that because of his mother’s death he could do great things and utilizing his talents as a young Bard he would be putting his mother’s gift to use. In addition, to the musical abilities granted to him, Grex also shared the lifespan of an Elf from the Elven magic coursing through his veins. However, forced to finally reveal the secret to the enchantment Fildor hesitantly explains that once Grex reaches the age of twenty-five, in order to maintain everything granted to him by the blood harp he must kill at least one person or intelligent creature every half-moon phase. Grex also inherited his father’s short fuse and began cursing and shouting at Fildor. Even though he had raised him, Grex felt Fildor had lied to him his entire life. Forcing his hand into becoming a murderer or forfeit the abilities he had planned to honor the memory of his mother’s life with. Upset Grex threw a small leather bag of necessary items together and left for Silverymoon to ponder and meditate on the decision he had to make in five years. Keep the magical abilities granted through dark Elven blood magic by committing murder or live a life in silence.
Finally returning to Silverymoon after fifteen years, Grex quickly used his skills to land a job as a barkeep in a popular tavern. Hoping such a job would lead to knowledge of the distant world through the stories of seasoned travelers and performers. And for the next five years, The Seventh Sanctum Tavern proved to be quite the classroom. Dreading the day, he must make a choice that would define the rest of his life.
The mesmerized High Elf breaks his silence “IT’S YOU!! You are Grex!” rudely interrupting me before I revealed Grex’s decision. Without hesitation, I cast “Friends” on the young High Elf. Confiding in him that the story is about my life and that it is indeed true. Easily influencing his mind, I explain the decision to keep my abilities and how feeling the pain inside of him caused by his abusive father helped me realized what I needed to do. I explained how I intended to use my music and speech abilities to aid in the battle against evil in the Forgotten Realms. If it cost a life every half-moon then so be it. I will use my talents to select targets that have darkness stirring within. Accomplishing two tasks, ridding the world of evil souls and ensuring my abilities remain strong. The young Elf sits in a daze while his father is passed out on the bar. Pushing the limits of my spell, I successfully persuade the young High Elf to go on home and that I will have someone see to his father getting there. In a hurry, I snatched my leather bag from underneath the bar and led the drunkard out through the back of the Tavern. It was there in the snowy alley way behind the tavern I slit the throat of the hateful father. Removing the cancer from the young High Elf’s life. He is no longer held captive by his father’s afflicted soul. I wiped my blade while taking in a deep breath of the cold night air. Relieved to have gotten my first cleanse out of the way. I make my way east out of the city to meet up with two friends that I met when I first came back to Silverymoon five years ago. When I informed them I would be leaving town soon they encouraged me to join them for drinks at some bar in Neverwinter. I guess it’s as good of a place as any.