The Blood Raven
Name: Vernaux Gardway
Alias: The Blood Raven
Background: Variant Noble
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Height: 6’ 3’’
Weight: 178 lbs
Despite my Noble birth, I do not place myself above others. We all have the same blood.
Ideals – I must prove that I can handle myself without the coddling of my family.
Bonds – I am in love with the heir of a family that my family despises.
Flaws – Soldier: My hatred of my enemies is blind and unreasoning.
Beliefs and Goals
1 – The Plague of Aradoom can be cured despite the common belief that it is incurable. — If I want to cure the Plague of Aradoom and ensure Requia’s Safety, then I must seek out my father for information about the plague…
2 – My father is not completely evil, can still see reason, and can be saved. — If I want to save from father from the evil consuming him, then I must find out how severe his condition is and act accordingly to stop him from becoming a tyrant…
3 – A long and happy life with Requia is my destiny. — If I want to live a long and happy life with Requia, then I must cease serious conflict here in Arla that would threaten peace, and search for ways by which I can live for 700 years…
Birth & Early Life:
“Born initially to Amare and Tueri Simul (Human mother and Elf Father) 3 years ago, Vernaux experienced a peaceful life prior to the conflict that brought about the demise of the people on the Azbyan continent. Due to this conflict, both of his parents were lost in the violent battles fought therein, specifically, The Battle of the Dragoor. Because of this, we: the heads of the Noble House of Gardway, have taken upon ourselves the task of adopting and raising this child in place of his parents, in memoriam of the horrid fate that befell the Azbyan people. His Noble name represents the connection we, the nobles of this country, have to the people of Azbya; they will live on in our memories.”
The above passage is a description of the origins of Vernaux, as written by his current parents, the heads of the Noble House of Gardway in the year 7398.
In truth, Vernaux was the result of an affair in the year 7394, between the Noble man Ailen Gardway, and Cecilia Vendel, a human woman. The continent of Azbya was indeed destroyed by conflict, but this child had experienced none of it; he had no Azbyan blood. Understandably, the Noble-man, and his wife, Eletha Gardway, chose to place the above passage in the place of the truth in order shield themselves from the possible consequences, and to better their public image.
Childhood & Adolescence:
The childhood years that Vernaux experienced were altered due to having relatively obscure origins that had produced noticeable differences between him and the other children he grew up with. His siblings, of which he had 3 brothers: Aimer, Ailmon, and Aien, and 2 sisters: Elisven, and Elmyra, recognized the contrasting details between themselves, and treated him differently as a result. Luckily, one “member” of his family was kind enough to treat his as an equal to his siblings. This individual took the form of Alphonse Cirle, a butler of the Gardway Household. Thoughout his childhood years, Vernaux looked to Alphonse for guidance in the place of a Mentor or Grandfather, getting him through rough times like those caused by his peers. He withstood all that he was subjected to, and came out of this trial unscathed, showing signs of mental and physical endurance/strength.
At a later time in his life, the age of 18, Vernaux resolved to prove that he didn’t need the support of his Noble name to be a man deserving of respect. He decided to enroll in the military training services that the Tenebris Academy offered to those looking to become a Soldier, Knight, Mercenary, etc. He performed in a superior manner when compared to classmates: having learned both Common and Elvish due to his mixed background, he proceeded to tackle Draconic and Dwarvish head on which he learned as a part of his studies. Alongside these languages, he gained a knowledge of Arlan History, and exercised physical skills in the areas of Acrobatics and Athletics, all of which brought him to the life of swordsman. He also participated and gained proficiency in Chess; being a symbol of the Gardway house, he decided to try his hand at it, and found that he was rather good.
Life as a Soldier:
By the age of 28, Vernaux had completed his studies at the Academy and was working as a swordsman for hire in the mercenary business, making a fair profit alongside fellow soldiers, protecting Gardway clients and their property. As time went on, he came to meet and make new friends among the people he met on the job. With these colleagues, he lived the life what one would expect a Noble to live: one of no worries.
From time to time, Vernaux would go off as a freelance mercenary under the name “Gladius Nox” in order to gain business from clients not willing to hire from the pool of Gardway mercenaries. Continually, he found himself acting as such in rather interesting circumstances. One day he might be walking alongside a wagon carrying eye-stalks taken from the corpses of Beholder’s, another he might be guarding a madman who claimed to one of the Mages who brought about the demise of Daefuengor. No matter how strange the client, if they required a guard, Vernaux was willing to take the job.
Events at Winterspell:
But by far the most peculiar situation he found himself in, was one that involved the Downstar family, an enemy of the Gardway House. Beacuse he had dropped his Noble surname in place of his freelance alias, Vernaux was hired to protect a Downstar caravan bound for Castle Winterspell. Located in the snowy peaks of the Blackheart Mountains. (Castle Winterspell’s location is known to few, but is a legend itself known to many) Though the journey across the continent was not tough in any regard, the true difficulty of this trek lie in escalating the treacherous mountain paths that led from the city-state of Silverbird, to the castle. A soldier with hypothermia, and a number of frost-bitten fingers later, they were rewarded with a sight of the majestic architectural spectacle that was Castle Winterspell.
Orders were given to make camp for the night, allowing the soldiers to rest, and business to be taken care of. Though resentful of his family, he was born a Gardway no less, and decided to make some trouble for Lord Downstar by tinkering with the cargo they had hauled up the mountain. Carefully opening the door to the carriage that housed the freight, Vernaux peeked inside the chamber, only to find an Elf reading by candlelight, who, to his surprise, didn’t scream or make any noise at all, she just looked up from her reading material with a somewhat puzzled look on her face. She looked to be 25 to 30 years old, but probably sat anywhere between 100-600 years due to her Elvish blood. She had golden eyes, and long light brown hair with various hues of highlights flowing throughout, which only complemented the aforementioned. The sound of her clearing her throat brought Vernaux back to reality, after which he quickly apologized for intruding upon her reading time, stating that he didn’t realize this was her private carriage. In answering his question the woman corrected him, saying that this was indeed the cargo carriage and that she was only there reading because there was no other place to do so in peace; her private carriage was located much too close to the conversational troops. With his questions answered, Vernaux apologized once again and left her to her reading with a smile, which she returned.
The following day was that of negotiations in which the cargo was to be delivered to those who were to receive it here at Winterspell. Vernaux and his fellow guards arranged themselves in orderly and parallel lines that formed a path in front of the main entrance of the castle. Walking up the side of the path from the castle was a tall and scrawny man with tight skin, and an even tighter posture Walking up the other side was the elegant Elf Vernaux had encountered the previous night. Meeting in the middle they began to discuss arrangements and looked back and forth at the crates to the side. Among the regular wooden crates was one of interest: a 10 foot by 5 foot by 10 foot Adamantine crate that stood out like a sore thumb. A few minutes into the discussion, and after the signing of a number of important-looking documents, something inside of the larger crate began to shake, startling the nearby guards who had been standing idle. Paying the ruckus no mind, he ordered the crates to be taken inside the castle without a moment of hesitation.
Later in the day at the time of their departure from the mountain establishment, the advance company of troops ran into the remainder of what must have been a great avalanche, forcing the entire train of carriages to come to a halt on their way down back to the city-state of Silverbird. While trying to find either a way around the blockage, or a way to rid the path of it, members of the advance company went missing while out scouting their surroundings. As one would expect, night fell fast and no sign of the men had appeared, leading many to believe that they were not alone on this snowy peak. After numerous attempts at melting the snowy blockade with magic, leaders of the convoy decided, that for the good of the entire convoy, it would be best if they returned to the castle to take shelter from the harsh conditions that accompanied the arrival of night. Just as they turned to ascend the trail, loud animal-like noises could be heard from the distant peaks of the realm.
After searching with his eyes, Vernaux sighted the glinting of metal on the slope of the nearest mountain causing him to block out all external noise in an effort to hear the un-hearable. After hearing an all too familiar noise echo in the valley, and doing some quick thinking, he broke out into a sprint running as fast as he could towards the back of the caravan. Unsheathing his sword while he ran, Vernaux readied himself and swung his weapon down, just inches from the face of the Elf. He had guessed right. Moments after his blade cut the arrow out of the air, he was restrained by nearby mercenaries who thought that he had just made an attempt on the life of the Elf. After pointing out the broken arrow on the ground and stating that he wouldn’t have missed if he had tried to kill her, they let him go and turned to face the source of the noise and the arrow that was drawing near.
The face of the mountain soon turned from a white plain free of any blemish, to a crimson stained field filled with the numerous bodies of orcs and men who fell victim to combat between the two parties. The bodies of the two guards that had restrained Vernaux moments ago fell to the blade of a particularly large creature that was now the only thing standing between the party, and a number of casualties that would not increase. With a now broken sword in one hand, a wound in the other rendering it useless, the orc proceeded to insult him as he turned to face his new enemy. With a disgusted look on his face, Vernaux reached down to pick up the fractured blade of his sword from the snow, looking back up, he noticed a critical flaw in the armor that covered the Orc. Taking a few quick steps forwards caused the monster to fall into a defensive state, but was far too late for him to save himself. Vernaux stopped his advance almost immediately, and threw his steel where it found its intended mark: the left eye-socket of the now wide-eyed, and collapsed corpse in the snow. The remaining foes retreated, they hadn’t been payed enough to deal with this unprecedented type of enemy.
The remaining 18 of the original 38 member party were luckily rescued by residents of Silverbird the following morning, and them assisted in their travels back to the city-state where they could recover. While there Vernaux became close friends with a number of the residents and frequented their shops during the time in which the other members of the convoy recovered and were evaluated for mental health.
A New Friend:
This one individual in particular would evoke new feelings within Vernaux, and bring about a new epoch in his life. Though such a particular bond between two Noble factions could present serious problems, Vernaux carried on his relations with Requia in secret; a manner akin to that of Romeo and Juliet. As they spent time talking, eating, and studying extended history together, Vernaux found himself developing and uncovering new feelings for Requia he had never experienced before, due to the “social torture” he had been subjected to in his youth. Suffice to say, Requia became a source of happiness for Veraux as his closest friend in the years they knew each other.
The Booze War:
The The Booze War erupted when Vernaux reached the age of 31. As a soldier, he was obligated to protect the citizens of Silver Mesa which the Gangs targeted in their brutal Guerilla style of fighting. Not only that, but to also keep the peace which was regularly disrupted by conflict and bloodshed. As the battles wore on, and casualties became more common, Vernaux was fighting more often than not. This increased his confidence is his strength and combat skills, giving him valuable experience. This, when added to his previous training at the Academy, would prove helpful for years to come.
As the Noble Houses slowly recovered from the destruction brought about by the Booze War, small groups of insurgents made trouble for the Houses as signs of their disapproval concerning the Booze War and its subsequent results, the Zealots were no exception. Around 13 months after the gang conflict had come to a close, a group of Zealots managed to land a successful strike on the Downstar House. After a successful break in, the Zealots mercilessly slaughtered servants, guards, or whoever they could get within blade’s reach, but primarily went for Noble folk.
Military guards finally managed to drive the killers from the estate, but not before a long list of casualties had amassed. One such injury had come upon Requia, in the form of a single slash across her shoulder. Though not serious, the fact that this had been allowed to happen drove Vernaux to harbor more hatred towards the Noble Houses.
As she recovered from her second rather traumatic experience, Vernaux realized the magnitude of his feelings for Requia. When he declared his true feelings for her the next time they met in secret, his words were followed by tears of joy shed by Requia, and a a vocal iteration of her consent, and content, in which she expressed her same feelings of affection for Vernaux. Vowing to never leave her side and protect her regardless of what happened, Veraux resolved to completely disregard his family’s policy concerning the Downstar house, and do as he wished; Requia was now his life compass.
At this time, he also came to find out about the true severity of an ailment caused by the injury she had sustained in the sudden attack. During the fighting at the Downstar Estate, Requia was struck by no normal blade, one of a cursed nature in fact, causing a sickness with similar effect to the Plague of Aradoom. It would unfortunately, and drastically shorten her lifespan. It was predicted to drop from the 700 or so years an average Elf would live, down to around 131 years, meaning she only had another 2 years of life left. Though he could have simply spent the rest of that time alongside Requia until her inevitable death, Vernaux was not the type to let death pass by him with the least degree of allowance. Knowing that he couldn’t live without her, he took it upon himself to find a way to cure this unknown illness.
A Quest for a Cure:
The two lovers managed to keep their relationship hidden from the watchful eyes of their parents, and under the cover of feigned vacation, they enacted their search for a way that one might cure any sickness. Though skeptical of the rumors they had heard, Vernaux and Requia sought out a rare breed of magic wielder who claimed to be able to do exactly what the couple required. The magic procedure was costly, but in the mind of Vernaux, nothing would match the value of Requia, and what she meant to him. He paid it without a second thought.
All went well until the final stage of the procedure in which all prior magic would culminate to create the final desired result. It might not have been so unfortunate had the magic had simply failed, bringing an end to the “ritual”, however, this was not the case. The magic both failed, and backfired, producing an energy blast equal in power to the failed final stage of the procedure. This inflicted various magic based injuries upon Requia that only added to her worsening condition, bringing her closer to the brink of death than before.
After around one month of a bed-ridden state, Requia was able to recover in due time to the point where she could stand on two feet, but the magnitude of her healing injuries was reflected in Vernaux’s attitude towards magic. Though this was but one simple mishap, the identity of the person involved; Requia, changed Vernaux’s view on magic massively, he despised medicinal and destructive magic, and vowed to never use it himself.
The Journey Ahead:
Vernaux decided that he would need to venture into unknown lands beyond Silver Mesa to find that which he needed. For why would the cure for any disease be so easy to gain as to hire a magic wielder?
He spent the next month preparing for his journey outside the city. He purchased a custom set of Plate Armor, and undertook the task of training with Dual-Wielding Long Swords, as they would be better for use in combat.
Gifted with a trinket of remembrance from Requia; a small mechanical insect to act in her place as a companion during his quest, Vernaux convinced his family that he had decided to go on a “Journey of the Sword” on which he would hone his skills further. After paying one last visit to Requia, he set out under the alias of “The Blood Raven”. Vernaux Gardway was dedicated to completing his mission.
(See Adventure Logs for information regarding Vernaux’s adventures)