THE CIRCLE OF LIGHT
Kaerless, appears cold and distant to those around him, simply because he is not used to company. Growing up in the keep of a Kaer with few around him bar the dead means that he he slow in conversation, as there is always more time to
Kaerless, appears cold and distant to those around him, simply because he is not used to company. Growing up in the keep of a Kaer with few around him bar the dead means that he he slow in conversation, as there is always more time to converse with the dead. He is keen to follow the paths of others as it will provide him more knowledge of this world, and improve the skills he already holds, and also where he needs to be, and hopefully allow him to find answers to the secrets he brought out of his Kaer.
Kaerless, Of Kaer Vaughn
Elf Male, Approx 45 years old
Height: 6”0, Weight: 125
Hair: black, Skin: White, eyes: Blue
Dexterity: 16+0, step 7, D12 Physical Defence: 9 (dex)
Strength: 10+0, step 5, D8 Spell Defence: 10 (per)
Toughness: 12+1, step 6, D10 Social defence :6 (cha)
Perception: 18+0, step 7, D12 Phys./myst. Armour : 4(5 buckler)/2 mystic
Willpower: 16+0, step 7, D12 Movement:7
Charisma: 9+0, step 4, d6 Carrying capacity (str) : 70
Initiative (dex): 7
Kharma: max 16, current 16, used 0
Astral sight: simple action, Strain 1, attribute Per (7), rank 2, step 9, D8+D6
Kharma ritual: n/a action, strain 0, attribute n/a, attribute (na), rank 4, elf.
Read/write Magic: standard action, strain 0, attribute per(7), rank 2, step 9, D8+D6
Spell casting: action standard, strain 0, attribute Per (7), rank 4, step 10, 2D8
Spell matrix: action n/a, strain 0, attribute n/a, rank 2
Thread weaving: action standard, strain 0, attribute Per (7), rank 4, step 10, 2D8
Frighten*: Standard action, strain 0, attribute Will (7), rank 1, step 8, 2d6
*kharma can be used on this
Spell matrix: action n/a, strain 0, attribute n/a, rank 2
Spell matrix: action n/a, strain 0, attribute n/a, rank 2
Quarterstaff: attack (dex) 7, str 11, step 5, damage step 4, damage 4+5 (9), size 5
Dagger: attack (dex) 7, str 11, step 5,damage step 2, damage 5+2 (7) size 1
Recovery test: 2 per day current damage/strain: 0
Wound threshold: 9 wounds: 0
Unconsciousness: 27 blood magic: 0
Kaerless remember little of his childhood, bar running, running and fleeing from the forest, carried by others, to the Stone Mountain, and further into the keep within the stone mountain.
He remembers others that looked like him coming with him, but none made it to the keep, he was only small, around 3 or 4 human years old when he was brought to the keep. He remembers blood, and fear, the screams and the sounds, and an old man pulling him through a large door.
A scout party had left to search out other survivors, Hollowhearts young sons had gone with them, there were maps recently rediscovered within the Kaer that pointed to another settlement close by, at this point it had been nearly 360 years since they had sealed themselves away (though there Calenders may have been wrong, no one had seen the sun or the stars in that time). The group of 50 left, they were gone for many weeks, until one day there had been a knock on the wall.
Opening the stone mountain gates the guards found several of the group, with over 100 refugees, they had found other survivors, but something had followed from the wastes to the new settlement, and breached its walls, Fleeing with as many of the population as they could the scouts had brought them back to Kaer Vaughn, loosing hundreds along the way to horrors, and exposure.
As they gained entry to the Kaer, the gates withered and aged, stone turning to dust. whatever had breached the other settlement hadn’t just been stalking them along the way, it had come with them, and it had breached Kaer Vaughn’s wards and runes, literally being invited in.
A panic ensued, Hollowheart had been readying his armour to go and greet these refugees and see if his sons still lived, he and his retainers were walking from the quarters within the keep along the walls, when they saw the gates destroyed, they could see a miasma encroaching into the stone mountain, withering and destroying everything that was not warded, He immediately ordered the keep gates closed, knowing that he was killing the population of Kaer Vaughn, but concerned only with his own safety.For hours the screams outside increased, keeping watch from muderholes within the keeps walls guards could see much of what happened, some took there own lives rather than witness more, but one saw something amazing. Sitting there the guard saw a group of around 10 people, both elf and human, fighting a retreat away from the main settlement and towards the Keep. These people were using magic to hold back the miasma, and escorting children, more than a dozen of them. Knowing he couldn’t sit there and watch but also knowing that if he opened the gates he would be putting the keep at risk he sounded the alarm, and ran to the gates.
Hollowheart stared through the murder-holes at the group, watching as they got closer and trying to decide what he should do, there were his people there, as well as some he didn’t recongnise, but they were fighting, and holding back the miasma, whilst he watched though one of them faltered.
This caused a chain reaction, as the miasma touched him, it seemed to swallow him whole, but worse, the others stopped to stare at this, and they too were taken one at a time, 5 ran straight for the gates, 2 elves and 3 humans, 1 of which he recongnised from the scout party, carrying 7 children between them, behind them the others were taken by the miasma, including the other children.
As they ran towards the gates Hollowheart shouted for them to be opened, he had cowered behind them letting his people die, and yet in front of these gates was a group sacrificing themselves to save the children, he had to help.
By the time the gates were partly opened the group had reached them, but was diminished further, now one 2 elves and the scout from the original party remained, along with 5 children, saying nothing the elves thrust 3 children through the partly opened gate, and turned to face the miasma, the scout carrying the last 2 children stumbled through the doorway, shouting for the elves to follow, but they turned and walked back towards the miasma, chanting as they did so, Hollowheart, fearing again that he would die closed the gates, as the elves walked into the dark. With the gates closing the scout slipped through and joined the elves.
The old man who had dragged him through the gate, had grown older, his name was Benard Hollowheart. Throughout his childhood Kaerless was taught by Hollowheart, and learnt much not only of his own language, and the book of tomorrow, but also what had happened at the time of his arrival in the keep, and why Hollowheart was called such (the men named him such after the loss of his sons)
The children that had come in with Kaerless didn’t now fair well over the following years, 1 dying of a broken heart early on, and 1 going insane, killing several retainers until being killed himself by Hollowheart. The other 2, brother and sister, kept to themselves, until one they just disappeared. No-one else seemed to notice that they were gone, only Kaerless seemed to remember them.
Within the keep was a new world where Kaerless grew up, aware he was not like the others here, he would watch them grow older faster than him. Whilst he remained youthful, his thirst for knowledge grew, yet no one could tell him where he came from, or who he was.
He came to understand from the others certain aspect of his existence. It was explained to him why the people he knew grew old while he barely changed, he was an Elf, the only one within the keep. He was a world of one.
Being the only Elf had made things hard at first, but as the retainers grew older, and Kaerless grew up he found he could help many of them in their tasks, they in turn would share their knowledge. The keep also contained a library detailing the world before the scourge, and the book of tomorrow, and within an alcove it also contained other books, books that Hollowheart and his retainers would not let him read, and kept behind lock and key.
He Learnt about the elf language, from several retainers who had billeted with elves in the settlement outside the keep, and as he spoke with them, more memories would return, not of what his life was, but the understanding of this new language, until he could speak it better and faster than any others left alive within the keep. He also learned much in the arts of defence and attack, and before long he could avoid there blows with little effort.
Plague, disease & age killed many, until so few were left
As time moved on it came to a day when only himself and Hollowheart remained alive, all others had died and been interred in the cellars, these cellars grew the keeps food, mushrooms, and algae, large insects and small mammals, and a spring of natural water flowed through them, an ideal resting place to rest in peace an calm.
Hollowheart gave the keys to the keep to Kaerless, and explained to him that now he would be the master of the keep, and that once he died Kaerless would need to care for this place, or leave it behind. He had nothing left to teach him, and told him to read the library before making his decision to leave.
The Library held many books already read by Kaerless, but it also held the alcove, kept under lock and key, to which he now had the keys. Within a week of Hollowheart dying he had read half the books there, within a month he had read them all. After reading the last book though he felt incomplete, the books covered many things, the scourge, history before the world died, the magics of the world, and how they interacted. Walking through the library he started reading all the books again, and slowly devolving into a kind of madness where he would read for days, falling asleep at the desks, leaving books where they fell, and only occasionally leaving to get food from the cellars. Though within all this knowledge there were no maps, no clue to where this keep existed in a world, though this did not trouble Kaerless as this was his world of itself, he being the only being in it.
Within the books from the alcove he noticed some contained loose pages, he had never thought anything of them, they always looked blank under the Glowstones light. One day when he took a book away from the library to the cellars, he used a page as a bookmark. When he entered the cellars to get food, writing appeared on the page ghostly at first, but getting more and more apparent. He sat down within the mushrooms in shock, the writing talked about spells, and the otherside, and of talking to the dead.
After several weeks he had gathered all the pieces of paper together, and taken them down to the cellars, under the crystal light of the library they appeared to be blank, but each an everyone was covered in small precise scrawl written in common, piecing them together took days, sorting them into the correct order, and reading them all many times over just to fit them together in his mind.
Reading through the book, he felt a presence, looking around he could see nothing, but there was something there. Weeks went past and as Kaerless learnt more of these pages, they dealt with the life and death and the path throughout, showing him that it was just a bridge, and you could walk across it to move between the two, and even bring something back from the otherside.
He started experimenting with the insects and small animals within the cellar, he understood their patterns as laid down in the book, and could bring a semabalance of life to them, though it was short lived, and sometime malicious, though more often slow. He could feel the presence still.
Overtime he was able to animate these small creatures and bring them back to there full potential, though others of their kind would always shy of them. This brought an idea to Kaerless’s mind, maybe he could bring back Hollowheart, or one of his retinue, speak with them again, rather than just listening to the lonely halls and corridors of the keep.
At this time he also started decorting the small bones, finger, toe bones he found in the cellars, carving, routing and polishing them into patterns and dreams he saw whilst waking an asleep.
He started with the graves of the dead he didn’t know, the first attempts met with failure, the bodies would crumble, but each time he felt he was being watched, eventually after many attempts, he raised a body that didn’t crumble, looking into its eyes Kaerless wheeled back, when he saw a flicker of life, and the corpse turned and said “I’ve been waiting for you”
Kaerless fled the cellars, and didn’t not return for many days, he couldn’t believe that the corpse had spoken, not others had ever survived long enough to do more than moan as they crumbled. Think the danger past, he again went back into the cellars once food and water ran scarce in the keep.
What he found enthralled and scared him at the same time, the corpse was nothing more than a pile of mouldering bones, but written in the muck of the floor were words and passages in common, telling Kaerless how to improve his casting, so he could raise the spirit again.
Over many attempts Kaerless would raise the corpses buried within the cellar, whilst most did little more than groan, some showed a flicker of unnatural life, and none would fall to dust. On an attempt on a member of Hallowhearts retainers, the voice spoke again “tell me your name young one”.
This time Kaerless did not run, but stood his ground demanding the spirit announce its own name, and how it knew of him, or he would let the power used to animate the corpse wither and die.
Chuckling the spirit told him, not of its name at first but of Kaerless’s life within these walls, he wants and needs, and secrets buried within both himself, and the keep. Where fine weapons and armour were kept, and items so precious that they had been hidden many centuries ago. Demanding to be answered the spirit gave a name “Aradron”, and Aradron promised to teach Kaerless all he knew, in return for seeing the sunlight again.
Over the next few months Aradron would be placed into newer and newer corpses, bringing more and more knowledge to Kaerless, and teaching him of outside the stone mountain, of currencies, languages, other races, and the scourging. Aradron had been a celebrated wizard several hundred years before, and had helped build and ward Kaer Vaughn, once the population were sealed inside, problems had occurred, people would go mad without sunlight, without space and with no concept of time, even Aradron turned from his chosen path. Missing the outter world, he had summoned spirits to tell him of it, what was going on, and how the world was changing, he learned of what had happened close by and that many of the settlements they used to trade with were already dead, with only a handful left.
When he had known he was dying of age he had hidden his knowledge though out the keep. Being the adviser of the regent of the time had given him access, and some degree of choice in his ideals, but not forgiveness, and eventually he was walled alive into the keep due to conversing with spirits. This had not bothered Aradron as he had already planned for this, leaving his notes, knowing one day someone would find them, and be able to cross the bridge to bring him back.
He provided Kaerless with not only knowledge of the near area, but the world in general, he helped explain what had happened when Kaerless arrived, and the threat of the horrors, and more importantly he stated that the time of scourging had ended. When he had known he was dying of age he had hidden his knowledge though out the keep.
With so few corpses left within the keep, Arandron taught Kaerless several minor runes of warding and protection, to allow him to leave the keep. Using the strength of the dead Arandron & Kaerless opened the gates, sealed for so long, the hinges crumbled as they moved, leaving the gates so they could not close again.
Moving through the Kaer was like moving through a snapshot of time, nothing seemed to have changed, there was little dust, but no bones, life plants, mushrooms or insects, no life in any way. Approaching the sundered gates Kaerless could see light, light different and strange to the weak lights of the stones, or the natural light of the mushroom cellars.
Standing in the ruins of the entrance Kearless could see rolling mounds, and strange giant plants, and other things he had read about but never seen, Arandron stay close, but it was obvious the sunlight was effecting his body, it aged and turned to dust as he moved, but the rictus grin of his face seemed to change to become softer and one of enjoyment and fulfuillment.
Over the next few months Kaerless searched the keep with the help of Arandron’s spirit, as well as the kaer, and other places unknown to Kaerless. Finding armour and trinkets, weapons, and coin, removing glow stones from walls, and treasured items from the homes of the dead.
During this time Arandron still needed a body, and helped Kaerless each day until only Hollowhearts body remained. Arandron, aware that Kaerless had been close to the man, showed him how to converse with his spirit, allowing him to say goodbye, and tell the old man what would become of the Kaer.
The old man was pleased and proud but had warnings to offer, and plea’s for Kaerless. He said he had read of Arandron, and to be careful of him, his father had burned his books, and they had thought all knowledge of this man destroyed. He warned that he had been trapped within the Kaer by the wards, and that as each body was used by Arandron, another spirit that was trapped had gone. He also warned that all who should have been there were not, the brother and sister who had disappeared were not within the Kaer as spirits.
An he asked for Kaerless to search, he did not know what had become of his 3 sons, it had been 40 years, and he feared that they may have died outside the Kaer, in the other settlement, but they may have escaped, and they may have survived and he may still have family, to find them if possible and pass on his regents ring, and tell them of Kaer Vaughn.
Lastly he asked that his body be taken beyond the gates, so he could at last be free of the Kaer and see far and wide, and allow him to help Kaerless if he ever needed it.
With this goodbye, and the body moved, the Kaer and keep searched, Kearless left, taking the body of Hollowheart, and the spirit of Arandron with him. He took coin, and stone, weapon and armour, food, and most importantly, knowledge, with him, set out into the world.
Hollowheart was blurring within sight of the doors, and many times over the next few weeks Kaerless would converse with either Hollowheart or Arandron over mushroom tea, learing more of both the old world, and the dangers that exist now.
Kaerless has as equipment, 2 glow stones(hidden), fine jewelry (hidden), scrimshawed bones covered in the knowledge of arandron, and some learnt by Kearless, buckler, quarterstaff, robes, food, extra coins
Due to his time along he appears introverted and cold, he will disappear from time to time to converse with his spirit guides. With this in mind, he will spend hours pouring over text, and watching the movements of animals, and may ask a question at the wrong time due to curiosity. He has little idea of the value of money, as no matter how hard the spirit of Arandron has tried to explain, he doesn’t understand the cost or meaning of these coins, meaning he sometimes pays over the odds for items.
Kaerless wants to find out where he is from, who else was there, and if the elves that stood at the gates before turning back to the miasma are still alive, or can be reached in the spirit world.
_ He also needs to know more about his spirit guide arandron, and Kaer Vaughn, as well as the lives and descendents of Hollowhearts sons to pass the regents ring to._
He also needs to know his true name, as he understands no that he is named after a lack of name, and now a lack of home.