To Build a City
Thornwald Durant IV
Mythweavers Sheet – Thornwald
Homeland: Thesk, city of Phsant (209)
Before the recent unpleasantness that caused him to leave his home behind, Thornwald Durant IV was living the life. From a young age he was obviously blessed with undeniable talents. He was a link to his family’s glorious past, a conduit for mystical energies that had not been seen in generations. As such, he was afforded a place of particular honor amongst his family. Rather than having to endure the drudgery of overseeing the family’s extensive vineyards, he was afforded a life of indolence and luxury. The only cost was that he spend his time studying ancient tomes of vile, infernal knowledge. Sure, enduring the blasphemous tattoos of unholy symbols that now form a large ring on his chest was unpleasant, but the pain was fleeting. He was also not fond of some of the more depraved actions of his family members and their close associates. But, all in all, he found it an acceptable trade to pay lip service to a malevolent force from the depths of Hell in order to ensure that he could continue to enjoy the finer things in life. That is, until it ceased to be a game and became much, much more serious.
Centuries ago, in the city of Phsant, a group of wealthy merchants began dabbling in the dark arts. This sinister cabal, known as The Ebon Ring, dedicated themselves to the worship of devils in the hopes of expanding their temporal power. Their chosen patron, Mephistopheles, is the Infernal lord of fire and magic. Their power grew and they were soon manipulating events throughout the region. Seeking to establish a dynasty, they brought their children up in service to their dark master, teaching them the black rituals and sacrificial rites that had served them so well. Old family rumors whisper that some of the families even mingled their own bloodlines with those of the devils they treated with.
This worked well for a few generations, the secret society was a powerful force silently manipulating the governing forces of several city-states and ensuring that nothing but ashes remained of any who opposed them. However, they eventually grew complacent. Although each child was still brought up to honor their Infernal lord, the sacrifices and black masses began to slow until they simply ceased. The Ebon Ring declined, but they did not disappear. The cabal continued to meet and teach their children the dark arts, but it was more in the manner of dilettantes than with any serious intent.
A year ago, this all changed. Unable to recover following the invasion of the Tuigan Horde, a few
key figures in The Ebon Ring found their fortunes collapsing. While they still clung to their estates, their finances were in ruin. Rather than attempt to reverse their fortunes through work or trade, they decided that it was time to reinstitute the old ways. After all, they had the knowledge and they knew that it had worked for their ancestors. They pulled down dusty tomes from secret libraries and prepared to reopen negotiations with their old patron. The first attempt at contact did not go well. Although they succeeded in reestablishing a connection with their vile lord, he was not at all pleased. He railed against his one-time servants, furious at their brazen demands for his patronage without even attempting to make recompense for their lapse. He demanded a much more serious act of contrition before he would even consider their pleas. The manor house in which the ritual took place burned to the ground in moments, consumed in a ferocious gout of hellfire. The majority of the members who attended the ritual managed to escape with their lives, but there were an unlucky few who died in writhing agony, dragged directly to Hell by rampaging devils. The remaining members however, were not deterred by the loss. The fact that they had not all been killed must mean that Mephistopheles was still willing to give them a second chance. The surviving members of The Ebon Ring prepared for a second attempt. They suspected that perhaps a great sacrifice would help assuage the irate Lord of the Eighth.
This notion did not appeal to Thornwald Durant IV. He was, more or less, opposed to the idea of human sacrifice and was hesitant to go down that road. When he discovered that he was one of the intended sacrifices, his suddenly found his opposition greatly increased. He knew that something must be done to stop The Ebon Ring, but was also aware that he did not possess the ability to stop them himself. He spent some time in the city, attempting to figure out some way of halting the dark ritual that was about to occur, while also allowing himself to escape unharmed. It was there that he discovered that a group of adventurers was looking into the source of a small number of devils that had been causing trouble in the city. He located the adventurers and managed to surreptitiously provide them with evidence indicating the time and location of the next ritual. He also began to secure equipment and the means of his own escape. As luck would have it, there was a large caravan that was leaving to help establish a new town on the trade road between Kara-Tur and Faerun. All he would have to do is secure a place in this caravan and slip away while The Ebon Ring was busy with the adventuring party.
Thornwald secured a horse, wagon, and supplies and hid them at a stable in town. On the night of the ritual and raid he liberated a few final heirlooms from the family vault and slipped quietly away. He is unsure of the final results from that ill-omened night, but suspects that whoever emerged victorious, he is unable to return to the city. The adventurers know his face and will certainly view him as the one that got away. If The Ebon Ring won the battle, then his life is absolutely forfeit (although it already was) if he is seen again. Although the journey to Wayhaven has been long and difficult, he is still looking forward to making a new start. He looks at it as the beginning of his own adventure, and a chance to see how the other half lives.