Graylor


Graylor was born to the Heranil clan of the Sambari tribe (1591). He was expected to become a Humakti warrior as his father was, however, when Graylor was 10 he looked after his sister, Rana, as she died from wasting disease (1601). She contracted the disease from tending a Carl that had been injured in a broo attack. There was no one capable of healing her and the white ladies were called too late to affect the outcome. Graylor rebelled against his father’s “love of Death”, and placid acceptance of what happened; he decided that he would train to be a healer to prove his “love of life”, he even had grandiose ideas that he would found a Chalana Arroy temple in the clan lands to offset the general tendency to Humakti warriors that dominated the clan. At first his training went well eventually, however, his inability to come to terms with Rana’s death and his fear of failure lead him to become obsessive about the few cases where patients had died. As he grew towards manhood he started to take on the likeness of his father who whilst not tall was powerfully built with broad shoulders, and an unmemorable face. Much against the wishes of his teacher Graylor was presented for initiation with the others coming of age (1604), they felt he needed more time to develop the necessary calm spirit required for mastering the healing arts. Their fears were confirmed as his initiation went disastrously wrong; he was unable to enter the hero plane at Chalana Arroy’s hall, each time he tried he found his way blocked by crossed black swords, shining darkly against the pale background of Chalana Arroy's hall. Repulsed each time by these symbols Graylor failed his initiation. Shamed and upset Graylor flees the temple and his clan. He is repulsed by the idea that he is destined for Humakt; surely there would be another way? He can’t face his friends at the temple so decides to leave whilst everyone else is passing through the initiation rites.

He travelled for a time as a lay healer before he encountered a lone warrior looking for healing. They became friends and Graylor was asked to join his band as a healer. When he arrived at the camp he found a group of 10 men calling themselves the Whispering Swords, their emblem is a pair of crossed swords! The symbol was so close to Graylor’s recent vision that he was momentarily stunned. Not surprisingly he joined the group. Graylor worked hard as a lay healer a role that allowed him to learn much of combat medicine, but also encouraged him to help the group in other ways. He started by learning to hunt and taking up the longbow, Graylor found he has a good eye and develops strong tracking skills. From this start he soon found himself scouting for the group; a role he greatly enjoyed. The frequent exposure to danger prompted Graylor to learn to defend himself. So he started to learn the two-sword speciality of the group; his natural agility and quick mind meant that he soon mastered the difficult art. Graylor spurned the heavy armour of the others instead he used the leather armour made for him from the first stag he killed. The troop travelled widely through Sartar, Prax and beyond. In fact wherever there was a need of them as guards or mercenary troops. Graylor proved good at staying alive and the wealth he accumulated was spent on the best equipment including superbly made, pale leather hauberk and greaves, a fine, reversible travelling cloak in woodland greens and browns, with a midnight black lining.

In 1608 the previous scout leader was killed and Graylor was acclaimed the new leader. The troop now numbered 15 warriors, 5 scouts and 5 non-combatants. Soon afterwards the scouts Graylor was leading were ambushed by scorpion men. A short but vicious battle followed with the scouts being victorious but badly wounded. The band needed to hole up to allow the wounded to heal. Graylor decided that the scorpion men must have had a cave nearby; so they followed the tracks to the lair and there find a respectable quantity of silver and gold, and a pair of old, corroded swords. Graylor took them and spent all his spare time cleaning them and bringing them back to life. The swords turned out to be well made and very old. They were constructed from iron with a copper inlay down the centre of each blade.

The Whispering Swords were only peripherally involved in the Righteous Wind affair, guarding supply trains and the like. They became more and more involved, until the disastrous events of Starbrow's Rebellion in 1613. The Whispering Swords were only one of many groups that took Kallyr's gold and things looked good for a while. When the Lunars retaliated the destruction was swift. Irnar and Graylor were the only survivors and only because they were out in the hills scouting. With the destruction of all their friends Irnar and Graylor wandered disconsolately for a while just doing enough to survive. Irnar's Yinkin-derived hunting skills were the only thing keeping them alive. Eventually they met up with a band of Humakti heading south, and remembering the bravery, though not he identity, of the Humakt Legion who had covered the final retreat in the Righteous Wind rebellion Graylor asked to travel with this band. Graylor, despite his youthful resentment of Humakt, became impressed with the discipline and integrity of the group. He felt his final misconceptions evaporate and found himself asking more about Humakt worship. By the time they reached the Indrodar's Temple he willingly embraced his destiny. When Graylor stepped into the temple ground he felt an immediate connection, almost a feeling of having arrived.

Graylor settled in quickly to life in the temple and was soon initiated to Indrodar Greydog. Once again Graylor’s initiation did not go exactly to plan. Graylor was again blocked from the easy route to Humakt’s halls. This time the way was blocked by hoards of skeletons! However, Graylor was not going to be denied. He felt exposed because, for once, he had no sword brother to protect his back. Graylor called for Humakt to protect him from attacks from behind. His pale armour turned black and rang like iron when hit by the weapons of unlife. Graylor's swords glowed brightly; where they touched, bones crumbled and skeletons were destroyed. His blades were never still as the flashed through the defences of the skeletons. All the time he was fighting Graylor was aware that these were not the usual dumb skeletons, there was some force controlling them. As the last skeleton crumbled Graylor saw a misshaped creature hiding in the shadows. Graylor approached cautiously, the figure fled as soon as Graylor started advancing. Graylor decided not to give chase but to pass on to Humakt's hall. Humakt sat in splendour at the head of the hall. The temple priest welcomed Graylor to the hall and presented him to Indrodar. Indrodar was pleased with the new initiates and as each offered him their swords he bestowed gifts and warned them of the conditions attached to each gift. To Graylor he asid. "You have already claimed your gift in the trial you faced to reach this hall. Know now that your armour will remain black in memory of that trial and will remain so long as you only ever voice the truth." Indrodar also examined Graylor's swords. "This is not right! These blades have been defaced. Remove the copper from them and you'll see their true beauty." On his return Graylor and the smiths worked to remove the copper to leave pure iron blades, with shallow indentations in each side and these were covered with silver symbols unknown to any Humakti present.

He spent several years venturing into the edges of the Upland Marsh. Very early in his adventures in the marshes Graylor learned that the insect life was unbearable until he learned the "Shoo Fly" feat from a grateful resident. Graylor developed a fear of drowning having seen too many of his colleagues sucked into the marshes. In typical fashion Graylor confronted his fears and leaned to swim, even with his armour on, and also to hold his breath for long periods, to enable him to have a chance to combat whatever was pulling him under. It was using these skills that Graylor was able to rescue Elgan, a boy newly initiated to Helamakt (1615). His boat had over turned by zombies. Graylor was able to rescue him and the boater but could not get to any of the other occupants in time. Elgan pledged his life to serving Graylor.

Gradually Graylor began to feel that there was more to the repeated reports of unlife in the marshes. The appearances were all accredited to Delecti and his minions. However, Graylor was sure that there was no consistency in the appearances and so could not be from one source. Nothing was connected, chaos never cooperates well with itself, but there were definitely some hidden sources of chaos directing individual campaigns of terror. Graylor was quite vocal about his opinion on this matter. Some time later he was contacted by a knight of Jalmar (1616), who confirmed his suspicions and offered him the chance to learn the tools to fight back. Naturally, Graylor jumped at the chance to join the Jalmari and was initiated in short order. Graylor worked hard to learn the tools to spot and defeat chaos.

Later that year Graylor met Vasu, a Devotee of Li Phanquann, who had come from the Sofali Islands in the Far East. He recognised Graylor's blades as having come from the east. The inlay on the blades contains writing from the east and calls the blades Enjou and Kogoeshinu, roughly translated they mean "Destruction by Fire" and "Freeze to Death". These names correspond to two of the Li Phanquann enchantments to combat undead, Cauterise Undeath and Immobilise. Li Phanquann fought many undead, however, the popularity of Indrodar in Satar and Prax meant they were never adopted for use locally. Vasu was very keen to have the blades and wanted to duel Graylor for the right to own them. It took a little while to find a suitable stake for Vasu to offer. Eventually it was settled that Vasu would teach Graylor how to make the most of his swords additionally he would stake his Eastern Bow and enchanted arrows won from various heroquests. The duel was well contested, both men fought strongly; ultimately it was only his Jalmari training that allowed Graylor to emerge victorious.

He led many excursions into the marsh to fight the unlife and occasionally to follow this up by unmasking the hidden chaos that was in charge. Their efforts were rewarded with the unmasking of an ogre group in the south marshes (1618) and a Thanatari temple (1619). Following these successes Graylor decided that it was time to make his pilgrimage to the ‘Monastery of Light and Truth’ (1619) to expand his philosophical training and to get closer to the Jalmari mysteries. Two full cycles of seasons passed before Graylor was given a sign. He saw a temple rising out of the sands; Jalmar himself was at the door bidding the faithful to enter and promising retribution to those not worthy. Graylor knew that he had to respond to that call. He took this as a sign to become a full knight.

Graylor chose the unbreakable sword quest as the traditional Jalmari devotional quest. Graylor proceeded easily to Lhankor Mhy’s library and passed the test of the Flame of Truth. The journey to hell was beset by the usual monsters but Graylor's blades wove their dance of death then only Graylor remained. He proceeded to the Vale of Death where he sought Styx, whose waters have ever protected death. He now only needed to the blood of Sunbiter the deathound to complete the ritual. Graylor was fighting Sunbiter when he felt the presence of a companion. Jalmar’s memories provided his identity, Hereward Truewind a swordbrother and former companion in the days of Arkat’s splendour. Once they dispatched the monster and completed the ritual Hereward spoke.

“Hail, brother. It is long since we journeyed these paths together. Our time together is brief and we must not allow our differing views to separate us longer. We should go back to the days when Jalmar and Hereward watched each other's backs against the Deceiver."

Jalmar/Graylor responded. "Hereward my brother it is indeed good to see you again. Yes, a return to the old days would be welcome. We have grown too distant. Too isolated. Did we not once vow to be always ready to aid on another?"

"Aye, indeed we did. Let us relive that vow and finally forget the sundering caused by our former master." With these words the two warriors clasped arms and left on their own paths.

Graylor returned reluctantly to the mortal realm, for it is hard to leave the presence of a god. He talked with the Grand Master about his visions and conversation with Hereward. They decided that Graylor should go to the Herewardi and see what should happen next. The Grand Master released Graylor from his vows of fealty with these words. "The Herewardi are a suspicious lot, much as we are. They will not follow any bar their own leaders. Your fealty to me would bar your entry so I release you from that bond and allow you the freedom to act as you see fit in this matter." He also bade Graylor to take an apprentice as befitted his new station. Graylor looked round the complex that was the Monastery of Light and Truth. In a short time he spotted a lone apprentice called Yenda. She had suffered the misfortune of having lost her previous mentor and was keen to leave the library of the Monestry and re-enter the world of adventure. After some enquiries Graylor found that the Herewardi were known to be gathering in Pavis, and the local Jalmari Knight was one General Vur, a typical military guy all rules and regulations and no imagination, except where killing Lunars was concerned. Graylor got a letter of introduction to General Vur and set off with his companions and also an apprentice as befitted his status as a new knight. On the way to Pavis Graylor's dreams were hijacked by a pale-haired female. The death rune on her cheek marked her as a Humakti, but why she was in his dreams? He planned to start at the New Pavis temple and then go to General Vur's chapter in the rubble later.

Timeline

1591 Born Heranil Clan, Sambari Tribe.
1601 Sister Dies of Wasting Disease.
1604 Fails Chalana Arroy initiation.
1604 Joins the Whispering Swords.
1613 Swords join Starbrow Rebellion and are wiped out.
1613 Graylor and Irnar wander aimlessly in Satar.
1614 Joins Indrodar Greydog subcult of Humakt.
1615 Rescued Elgan.
1616 Contacted by Jalmari and joins them.
1619 Pilgrimage to the Monastery of Light and Truth, Stormwalk Mountains.
1621 Becomes a Jalmari Knight.
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