The Scouring Of The Vale
Human longspear fighter
The Tale of Stomper, Aurelian Dremock
spacer.gifIt was the last years of the Nerath Empire. The emperor’s last orders were for his soldiers to take up residence on the borders and raise families which would in turn defend the border. With these borders defended by an embedded population he hoped the empire would survive these troublesome times. The border positions in the East would become known as the Seven Towers of the Ardun Valley, a lush temperate river valley that stretched nearly a hundred miles in length. A co-emperor was left to manage the Ardun Valley within the Nerath Empire. spacer.gifStomper’s father, Sergeant Gedorix Dremock, was commissioned to set up residence outside the village of Mardek, within the Ardun Valley, to defend the border there. He was a loyal soldier and followed the orders of the co-emperor to the best of his ability. He drilled his men diligently to keep them ready for war, but war never came. In fact, although news of the empire’s crumbling borders and infighting nobles was rampant, Mardek’s border remained as calm as a puddle after a storm. spacer.gifNevertheless, he followed his orders meticulously having his men marry local women and begin to raise families. Most of these men also took to different trades and farming to support their families. As the battles and wars never came, Gedorix’s influence over the men deteriorated. spacer.gifIt was 2 years after his first born, Aurelian Dremock, that he received a letter of decommissioning from the emperor. The empire was no more. Gedorix let his men know, but they were already complacent with their non-warring ways. They were used to no payment coming in from the empire’s coffers. Unfortunately, for the aging Aurelian this news was all too devastating. spacer.gifHe took a job within Mardek’s militia, but was ignored by other militiamen do to his yearning to prepare for a confrontation that seemingly would never come. The sovereign of Mardek was an honorable man and gave Gedorix enough pay to support his wife and son. He acknowledged Gedorix’s possible usefulness. spacer.gifShunned by the community, Gedorix took to drinking. Townsfolk began to laugh at him as he would tell tales of wars he fought for the empire while stumbling through reenactments at the local tavern. Sometimes he would show a temper and end up in jail to sleep off his intoxication. spacer.gifThe truth was Gedorix was enlisted into the army when he was 15. The empire’s armies had conquered his clan’s lands, slain his family, and enslaved him to become a soldier. Having no family to return to and accepting his circumstances, Gedorix became a model soldier. He fought valiantly for the empire and was promoted all the way to sergeant. War was all he knew. Training kept his mind sharp and focused. However, his new idle life was foreign and awkward. spacer.gifAs time passed, his personality grew darker with each drink. He became violent with his wife and son. Since his father spent almost all the family’s money on alcohol, young Aurelian and his mother were always hungry. Aurelian earned the nickname Stomper by the local kids as he was known to kill rats by stomping on them and bringing them home to be eaten as food. His mother did her best to confront Gedorix, but his powerless nature within the community would not follow him into the home. It was all he had left to control. spacer.gifNot all times were bad for the young Stomper. Since Gedorix had no one to train in the community, he would spend his days taking Stomper out for training sessions. He taught Stomper how to use weapons and survive on the battlefield. Gedorix was a good trainer. It was one of the only things he knew really well. Because of his training, Stomper easily overwhelmed the young boys in the community in feats of strength and fighting. spacer.gifNevertheless, Stomper’s mother, Cassandra, felt disengaged from Gedorix. Out of frustration she began to work different odd end jobs to make extra money to feed her hungry boy. Her lack of any personal relationship with her once loving husband also led the younger Cassandra to begin to have affairs with local men. Luckily, Stomper and Gedorix were shielded from this news since Cassandra was very careful with her associations. spacer.gifHowever, one day Cassandra awoke pregnant. Terrified of Gedorix discovering her pregnancy she began to be overly nice to him. She tried to find time to make love to him while Stomper was out playing with the neighborhood children. The depressed Gedorix actually began to warm up to the kindness displayed by Cassandra. That was until he discovered the pregnancy. spacer.gifBefore heading out to the tavern one night, Gedorix became heavily intoxicated at home. He began questioning Cassandra about her belly. Stomper watched, but remained quiet. Stomper was used to his parents fighting, but was afraid of his father’s beatings enough to never intervene with their arguments. spacer.gifThe quarrelling intensified as Cassandra tried to convince Gedorix that the baby was his own. He saw through her lies. He picked up his sword. Without any emotion, he plunged the sword into her belly and left the home for the tavern. Stomper held his mother while she lay dying. She confessed to the 15 year old Stomper that Gedorix was right. She asked Stomper for forgiveness and apologized for his upbringing. Stomper cried, but did not really know what to say. spacer.gifConfused Stomper ran from his home in search of his father. When he caught up with his father he had already killed one patron outside the tavern and was now surrounded by the militia. He cursed at them for being soft and weak. Instead of pronouncing his attendance Stomper chose to watch. spacer.gifThe militia carefully backed away from Gedorix. Gedorix stumbled from his intoxication. A tavern patron came out and mocked the drunken Gedorix. Others soon poured from the tavern only to mock him as well. The mob laughed as Gedorix would swing his sword towards the crowd. Finally, one of the militiamen moved forward and blocked Gedorix’s sword and slashed upwards striking his throat. Blood splattered and the crowd cheered. Stomper remained still as his father’s body unvaliantly hit the ground. People laughed and then became concerned over the dead patron that lay to the right of Stomper. spacer.gifAs the mob attended to the dead patron they noticed Stomper. Instead of confronting them Stomper ran to a friend’s home. When his breathing calmed itself Stomper fell asleep without even having a chance to explain to his friend what had happened. spacer.gifAt the funeral for his mother, her cousin told Stomper his Godfather, Douven Stahl, had offered to take him to the port city in the west, Sanctuary. Luckily, for Stomper a halfling caravan was leaving for that very city and his mother’s cousin paid his passage. spacer.gifOn his journey, Stomper grieved. A young halfling rogue named Blitz helped Stomper accept his fate. He introduced Stomper to the goddess Avandra. Over the passage, Stomper began to forgive himself of his past and looked at the change in his situation as inevitable. The light-hearted Blitz also made Stomper see that he was now free from his pain. He also allowed Stomper to see that his dreadful state of affairs coincided with the halfling caravan’s departure from Mardek. He allowed Stomper to see that this was due to luck and luck would now guide his future. spacer.gifThe halflings took a liking to the 15 year old Stomper as his spirit began to free itself from the past. They saw that he was caring, honest, and sociable. This was in contrast to the reserved, quiet, and cold person they picked up in Mardek. He spoke nothing of his family. It was not something he was ready to deal with. Blitz and the halflings had freed him and for right now he was allowing fate to change him. spacer.gifOne morning while passing through the mountains at Bloodiron Pass a band of goblins rushed onto the rock-laden road and halted the caravan. Brandishing weapons they began to demand a payment for passage. The halflings began to panic. Unable to speak the language he heard, Stomper could only watch the tension grow. When he saw a goblin raise a sword to Blitz’s father, Stomper jumped up and grabbed a javelin that the halflings kept in the caravan. With the fluidity of a veteran warrior, Stomper hurled the javelin at the goblin’s head. Blood spurted from the wound and his body went limp. Exiting the caravan Stomper proceeded to stand down the four remaining goblins. spacer.gifFlashing back to his father’s humiliating death, Stomper felt a surge of adrenaline shoot through his veins. He gripped his spear tightly. The goblins began to laugh as the boy with a spear and no armor stood them down. The laughter penetrated Stomper’s skull driving him into a rage. A goblin came forward, blocked his spear, and swung his sword slicing Stomper’s stomach. The chorus of laughter grew and Stomper glanced briefly at his stomach. Flashing back to his mother’s senseless death, Stomper unleashed a furry of hard strikes and skilled parries. The drills of his father became second nature and he killed three of the four goblins with ease. spacer.gifAs the last goblin made a run for it, Stomper chased him down and pierced his spear through his hamstring.
Unable to walk the goblin spun around and snarled at Stomper. After sweeping his legs out with the shaft of the spear, Stomper lifted his boot into the air and pounded it down onto the goblin’s skull. Even though the first blow seemed to knock the goblin unconscious, Stomper continued to stomp on the goblin’s skull. When he looked down he remembered all the rats he had killed for the sake of a meal. The blood dripping from his wound began to mix with a steady flow of tears. Blitz approached Stomper and helped him return to the caravan. Although they were pleased with his remarkable feat, the halflings let Stomper have the silence he needed. spacer.gifThe rest of the trip to Douven Stahl’s helped Stomper let go of his past. The halflings thanked Stomper by giving him back the money that was paid for seeing to his safe passage to Sanctuary. When arriving at Douven Stahl’s Stomper was greeted by a similarly aged, but wiry human named Bacon. Blitz and the halflings waved goodbye for that day, but their prolonged stay in Sanctuary would have a tremendous influence over Stomper’s assimilation to life at Douven Stahl’s.