A young paladin, last of his family line.
Reyik Vors was born some years after the destruction of Thella. His father, Shirakel Vors, was a knight of small renown, and his mother was a servant to a minor lord during the days of Thella’s prosperity.
Reyik inherited his father’s stout build and temperament and his mother’s fine, dark hair and eyes. As a child in the times of Thella’s strife, everyday life was a struggle for survival. His father would ride out almost daily with the men and women still strong enough to wield a sword and set to driving back the remnants of the defeated ogre hordes. Reyik and his mother and the remaining populace would tend to the crops that could be sown.
Several years passed, and as Andorian custom dictated, Reyik began to learn the ways of a warrior. Though he was still very young, his father pressed him to learn quickly. The subtle cough between lectures in his lessons became violent, and Reyik knew that his father was not long for the world. Sickness ever ravaged the peoples of the ruined cities, and his father’s mortality forced Reyik to grow up before his childhood was fully behind him.
By his twelfth Greening, he found himself consoling his grieving mother as they put Shirakel Vors into the earth forever. As the only child born to his mother and father, Reyik became the last of the Vors line. His lessons continued under the tutelage of a paladin posing as a merchant called Tahver Reghaden, who first noted the boy’s aptitude for the battle axe. Though his sword work shone in practice, his affinity for the axe was something to behold.
At fourteen Reyik could best most of his peers and, with a little luck, even some of his elders. The hard life of Thella’s ruin had made him stronger than most of the youths in other, more prosperous parts of the world. He began to ride out with the companies of Thella who worked to cleanse the land of the ogre remnants.
During each day of training, the paladin Tahver would speak of the gods, of Mishakal who would someday restore the lost city of Thella, and Heironeous who would give his faithful the strength to fight the seemingly endless horde of foes who sought to keep their city a ruin. He stressed to Reyik the importance of faith in Heironeous and his will for all paladins. He recounted the tale of Justarian Sunspear, the angel who came from above and laid waste to the enemy in defense of mankind, against the orders of his superiors. Hearing of this direct intervention of the divine, Reyik’s will was set.
Several years passed. During their course he began to speak to the god Heironeous, praying for his will in the constant battle against the remnant forces of the ogres. And Heironeous seemed to speak back, in his own way, through the continued success of their outings against the orcs and goblins and all manner of unseemly beings that roamed the wild parts of the world. With each swing of the axe, Reyik’s faith was bolstered.
The loudest of all of Heironeous’ affirmations came one bright day in winter. The company had ridden far beyond their normal boundaries in pursuit of a band of goblins. Deep within the wild the band turned on them, and from all sides sprang orcs and yet more goblins. Outnumbered three to one, the warriors of Thella fought fiercely, but many were slain. Reyik found himself roaring to Heironeous and cleaving a red trail toward the war band leader, a gargantuan orc. It was there in the wild that Reyik shouted Heironeous’ name, plunged his axe deep into the gullet of the beast, and watched as a fiery light consumed his foe. His companions looked on, bewildered as the enemy fled deeper into the wild. Most of the people of Thella struggled to meet Reyik’s eyes after that day. Some rejoiced while others recoiled.
And then a day came, gray and wet in the early days of the year’s Greening, when Reyik and the riders of Thella set out to do battle with an encroaching war band of orcs. The orcs were taken in haste, most of them dead and a few scattered to the wind. Reyik thanked Heironeous for their victory, and returned to the outskirts of Thella, where they beheld a scene of death. Goblins, orcs, and Andorians alike littered the city. The bodies of Thella’s citizens strewn everywhere, Reyik searched frantically for his mother, and for Tahver. He found her in the mud, a gaping wound in her belly. Tahver had slain scores, and taken many wounds defending who he could.
That night he buried his mother alongside Shirakel, and wept for Mishakal to reveal to him the plan to restore Thella to its old glory. How could it be, when the people rebuilding it were slaughtered so? He cried out to Heironeous, demanding to know what justice there was in the slaughter of innocents.
The Reyik his companions had come to know disappeared. He refused to ride out with them, and avoided Tahver altogether. Instead he spent his days too drunk to stand, let alone swing an axe. But the poverty of Thella did not allow him to remain thus for long. What drink they did have ran out, and Tahver came around again, pestering him with lectures about Heironeous’ greater plan.
“This is how men fall into faithlessness,” he said to Reyik.
It was all he needed to hear. The gods were testing him; to see if what broke in so many others would break in him too. He wouldn’t let it. He thanked old Tahver for his words, gathered his gear, and began to fight again, with renewed vigor. The axe seemed to swing harder. Goblin and orc skull couldn’t hold up against this new fury.
Though he had taken up the fight again, Reyik could see no real end in beating back the wandering bands of beasts time after time, only to have them return months later in strength.
This much he had expressed to Tahver, who in return said, “You were destined for great things, lad. Greater things than what you do out there every day. You are the last of the line of Vors, who have never known real greatness. Perhaps it is fitting that you should leave here and make a name for yourself, and bring back some glory to Thella. Glory in the name of Heironeous. Glory restores a place just as much as gold.” Then he passed to Reyik a rolled parchment, and written upon it was the Lament of the Sun Blade Justice, which he kept upon his person forever after.
Days later old Tahver took ill and died shortly after. And with him died Reyik’s doubt that he was meant for something greater. And greater than him was Thella’s old glory, who stood now all in ruin, but who would be restored, for that is what Reyik Vors, son of Shirakel Vors, last of his line, had set out to do.
The Arrival to Tarn: By the death of Tahver, the fertile Andorian lowlands had been mostly purged of the Ogre minions. Those foul remnants of the Ogre armies that remain have retreated deep into the fens and avoid population centers – even the recovering ruins of Thella and Kisvin. Certainly, Reyik Vors could remain in the region but there are other would-be knights (veteran peers of Reyik Vors during his youth’s campaigns) who could easily deal with any threat short of another invasion. It is pretty obvious that Reyik Vors was meant to travel, hone his skills, bolster his faith, and improve Tarmolith as a hedge knight.Reyik has traveled north; rumors of Ogre minions posing as humans caught his attention. Knowing full well that he could easily “see” evil in the hearts of anyone, Reyik felt his paladin’s blessing would help feret out those evil beings wishing to sew seeds of distrust and discord. Also, Tahver often mentioned before he died, that the Order of the Valorous Knight (the clandestine church of Heironeous posing as merchants) were seeking the places of the old gods of the Ancients – known as the Pantheon of ‘Liths. The “presence” of these powers lingers in the shrines of forgotten ruins where their worship was strongest. One such shrine to the goodly Powers, Tahver claimed, might be found in the shadows of the Sakend Mountains near the legendary Lake Aerydeen. Tahver admitted to having cut his quest to discover the shrines short as he had felt the call to serve in the shattered remnants of Thella. Before he died he said he was positive he had been called to train Reyik and saw the potential for greatness in Reyik’s future. So, Reyik traveled North and for some time served at Crossroad Keep where he fell in with a party of Inquisitors. Reyik’s “special talents” for “sensing the motives” of potential evil-doers – most often bugbear agents posing as Andorians — swiftly transitioned from admiration to suspicion. Despite the good he was doing at Crossroad Keep it was pretty apparent that if Reyik remained his divine connect would soon be discovered. Reyik prepared to follow in the footsteps of Tahver and make his way into the Sakend Mountains. Before he could embark a savage Ogre Magi – posing as a V’adel merchant – was discovered trying to enter the Andorian lowlands! A massive fight broke out! The Ogre Magi laid waste to dozens of Andorian Knights; freezing them in swaths of ice, devastating magic, or simply slicing them down with a massive curved blade. Reyik rushed to the battle, landed minor blows on the Ogre before, having been nearly defeated, vanished. Death surrounded Reyik and he felt compelled to stabilize several dying Andorians. His Andorian companions gave Reyik their thanks and promised to keep his secret safe. Before an investigation into the attack could be mounted Reyik swiftly departed for the North leaving confusion in his wake. Reyik’s journey north to Lake Aerydeen has been delayed by sudden snow storms making the passes impossible to travel. Eventually, as the snows melted Reyik travelled north with the first caravans of merchants seeking to make their way to the Movran Plains and beyond. He traveled through the quaint mountain town of Hillcrest where he noticed small badges on the cloaks of several hunters – the clutched lightning sigil of Heironeous! Reyik’s surprised inquires were mute claims – saying it was simply a fashion-craze inspired by a passing hedge knight who had made a name for himself in the region. Strange, the sigil of Heironeous was unmistakable. Eventually, Reyik made his way to the legendary Ironwall – literally a wall of iron blocking the Tarn Road and protecting the mountain town of Tarn. Reyik knows a little of the history of this place; the Movran heroes Hrothgar the Wise and Zarathor the Bold and their Movran and Andorian allies held these passes until snows fell in order to protect refugees from Crossroad Keep and the Highlands during the Second Ogre War. Reyik stayed at a small Inn called the Traveler’s Stop where he talked to several Andorian warriors and a knight – these off-duty soldiers and their commander had apparently seen action on the road between Tarn and the Ironwall before the recent snow storms. They had been tricked by magic and had lost an evil gnome sorcerer who had escaped. They warn Reyik to be careful of gnolls on the road and of the evil sorcerer. Luckily, Reyik’s journey to Tarn is uneventful although tiring due to the heavy snows. Reyik is more aggressive than the merchants who plan to wait a few more days and so reaches Tarn ahead of the merchant rush. He encounters only an abandoned prison wagon covered with snow left on the road. Upon approaching Tarn, Reyik is horrified by two-dozen staked Andorian corpses spaced out along the road upon the approach to Tarn. With the melting snows the town of Tarn is awash with activity though the bodies on the road explain the scared demeanor of the populace.