Courtlands BIO PG 2
The group decided to take rest after an awkward night around the camp fire, Courtland lies back with his head in the cool grass looking into the night sky until he finally falls asleep — his head freshly renewed with memories from his past.
Courtland awakens in a soft bed, he looks around the room he is in to find that it is clean and clinical. The room isn’t quiet though, it’s filled with priests and clerics rushing around tending to others who had been wounded and managed to make it out of Dunleigh alive; murmurs he picks up on tell that it is thanks to a group of hero’s.
Courtland lies still in the bed, unable to bring himself to look at the empty space that used to be his foot. The lights over head are bright but he is too afraid to close his eyes and see the face of the thing that consumed his wife and lead his daughter into darkness. Courtland sits up, wanting to leave but two Sisters of Battle step up to the foot of his bed.
The one stepping in front of the other, dressed in her resplendent armor — a crossbow hanging at her side. Her brown hair is cut short showing off the fine feminine features of her face.
“I’m glad to see that you’re awake. I’m sorry to say that your friend wasn’t so lucky.”
She tries not to show it, but Courtland can tell that she feels ashamed.
“I… I thought he was attacking you, I’m afraid. I do have some good news though, there weren’t any traces of Nurgle Rot anywhere else on your body.”
She stops for a moment, waiting for Courtland to respond — he remains silent; she clears her throat.
“I’m afraid I have a bit of more bad news for you though… You’re home, Dunleigh… Was cleansed; I’m afraid there was no other way to keep Nurgle’s influence from reaching our city. You are safe now though, you are are in Everlasting Dawn.”
Courtland runs his hand down his leg, to find his bandaged stump, he winces slightly.
“What good am I now? You should have just let me bleed out.”
She tries to remain optimistic, professional.
“That’s something we wanted to talk to you about. We are trying to find a place in Everlasting Dawn for everyone in Dunleigh, part of why I am here is to take down everyone’s former occupation.”
Courtland gives out the first answer that comes to mind.
“I had a… Caravan.”
She nods. “You’re name?”
“Well, Courtland. It so happens we would have work for you. We have a caravan that needs to go through The Coppercourse Mountains to deliver supplies to allies, we need a driver. It is a dangerous journey, but we have already commissioned a small group of adventurers to guard the Caravan.”
Courtland chuckles to himself.
“The Coppercourse Mountains — dangerous place. I haven’t heard too many stories involving adventurers where the Caravan driver survived.”
Courtland thinks to himself for a moment as the Sister of Battle tries to sell him on the job, not really listening to her. Speaking his words back to himself in his head “I haven’t heard too many stories involving adventurers where the Caravan driver survived.” Courtland interrupts her.
“I’ll take the job. When do I start?
Courtland hobbles towards the caravan, leaning on his crutch. He hobbles towards the group he’ll be driving for. A gnome holding a short bow, her hair spiked into a point wearing leather armor with small cogs and gears tied to it — some kind of tinkerer Courtland figures.
A burly dwarf holding a mace and a short sword, examining the weapons closely — making sure they meet up with his Dwarf’s standards of craftsmanship (they don’t) — wearing chain mail.
A pudgy human wearing green robes and a crooked brown hat, probably some wizard type. Courtland smiles to himself. As he reaches the group they stop what they are doing to greet him, but he hobbles past them and pulls himself into the driver’s seat.
“Great, a rude gimp — first we ride in with some overweight old man and now this. Where do they find these drivers?” the Dwarf complains.
The gnome shushes him.
“I’m just sick and tired of digging up unmarked graves for these incompetent caravan drivers… are these towns on a damn budget or something?”
Courtland rolls his eyes and turns towards the small group of adventurers from his seat, propping up his crutch.
They nod. Courtland cracks the reigns and mushes the two oxen pulling the wagon. The small group hops into the back — the dwarf still complaining as the wizard plays with some minor magic spells, creating flowers and small fireworks to entertain himself as the wagon rumbles along on the road. The gnome chatters in Courtland’s ear tying to strike up conversation as he silently drives onward. The trip on the main road is quiet and uneventful. The road getting bumpier and more overgrown as they begin to reach the wilds.
Despite the gnome chattering in his his ear, all he can think about is his wife, his daughter, Exterminatus. Why did the gods take his life away from him? Why didn’t they just take him… Courtland looks up at the road ahead, hoping that it will only be a matter of time before something jumps out on to the road, calling for his blood.
It doesn’t take long. Despite the distractions Courtland hear’s them, the whining laughter of Gnolls as they leap out in ambush on the Caravan. The adventurers fight valiantly, but they are too novice and are quickly torn to shreds. Courtland sits up in his seat, waiting for his turn but the chuckling beasts drag him from his seat and slap irons around his neck as if he were an animal, tossing his crutch off into some foliage. After they have some fun kicking Courtland around, poking fun at his missing leg — they drag him along to their encampment.
As he gets closer to the encampment he can hear chanting, growling, and more high pitched laughter. He finds himself being drug to a stone slab — a Gnoll stands over him with a dagger barking in an ugly, horrific language to a pack of Gnolls. It plunges it’s fingers down into Courtland’s eye socket gouging out his eye. It holds his emerald green eye over it’s gaping mouth with glee, squeezing it, popping it like a grape as it’s juice runs into the Gnoll’s mouth. It tosses the remainder of the eye into the pack of Gnolls who fight over who gets to finish it off.
Courtland clenches his teeth, unwilling to scream out in pain. He was going to die ugly, but at least he knew that he was going to die. He pushes his chest up slightly, waiting for the beast to plunge it’s dagger into it. The dagger doesn’t find it’s way though, Courtland finds himself being tossed off of the slab and thrown into a small iron cage. Courtland kicks violently at the bars with his one good leg, demanding that the beasts finish their job — they don’t comply. Courtland calms, mainly by wearing himself out as hears the Gnolls finish their ritual.
Courtland is kept for weeks for labor and mostly amusement — the Gnolls taking great glee in watching him suffer and struggle to complete their impossible chores. Courtland watches the Gnolls restlessly each night as they manage to bring an unlucky traveler to their camp for their nightly rituals; watching in feverish jealousy as they are sacrificed, wishing that he could be so lucky.
Until a night came where he sprung awake by the sound of battle, watching weakly from his cage as a group of Goliath’s attacked the Gnoll’s camp, one of them catching Courtland’s eye in particular wielding a silver Falchion as he cut his way through the Gnoll’s. The battle was bloody and quick, most of the Gnoll’s having fled as the Goliath’s stood victorious, liberating Courtland from his small cage.
Courtland had awoken on a bed roll on the floor of what looked like a hut built of stone and dried mud. It was warm though as a fire burned in the center with smoke bellowing out of a hole in the ceiling. Courtland is greeted by a strong voice.
Courtland sits up and sees a crutch propped up on the wall beside his bed roll, it looks a bit too big for him, it seemed like a large amount of it was cut off — likely augmented especially for him. The Goliath he saw in the battle with the silver Falchion stands over him, dressed in furs and leathers, his body covered in the markings Goliath’s are known for.
“Stand up, I wish to speak to you as an equal.”
Courtland grabs the crutch and brings himself to his feet.
“Well. Now I know at least that you are strong enough to stand. My name is I’tari Thornblade, you’re in my village.”
Courtland looks up at the Goliath’s stoic face. He can’t seem to find words of gratitude and isn’t willing to lie.
“You’re wounds are still deep, I see.”
“I’m a bit tired, but I feel fine.”
The Goliath lets out a boastful laugh.
“Hah! He speaks… No, I mean your soul… Walk with me.”
Courtland sighs to himself a bit, but does as the Goliath asks, hobbling along by his side as he shows off his village, a great tree in the center covered in strange runic markings.
“I say this is my village… But it was founded by my ancestor, he lived in dark times — when the world was plagued by undead. He had a hand in fighting them back and pushing them out of these lands. When the battle was over, his heroic tales brought other Goliath clans together and they built this village. When he died, he took on the form of this great tree, covered in the markings that were on his body.”
I’Tari looks proudly up the tree.
“He was disappointed to die of old age, he would have rather died in battle — for a cause, but he still managed to do something great by bringing us together.”
Coutland joins I’Tari in looking at the tree.
I’Tari smiles. “Hm. You know this tree used to bear fruit… They said that it stopped growing when we no longer needed his help. It was said that the fruit could even heal wounds like a health potion.”
He looks to Courtland.
“He was long before our time and his name was likely lost to those in the City, but Ennius lives on here because of his actions, he had a noble heart and was a protector. He would want us to help you, to heal your soul. I can see in your eyes that you want to die, but maybe I can help to show you that it might be better to die for something noble.”
I’Tari places his giant hand on Courtland’s shoulder.
“I won’t force you, but I would like you to stay with us for a time. Feel free to walk around, we will speak more later.”
Courtland stayed with the Goliath’s, he worked along side them for months and learned their language — he walked with I’Tari listening to his speeches and eventually they started to make sense to him. As time went on, the Goliath’s cut a thick branch from the Great Tree and fashioned a wooden leg for Courtland, covered in the runic symbols. A group of adventurers passed through the Goliath’s village and I’tari convinced Courtland to leave with them — to find his noble cause.