Dunstrand Rising - The Beginning
Kaleb was a thief of some renown in Thorpia in West River Run, where the government of Count Badgericus had put a bounty of 100 silvers out on his head. He was daring and willing to risk a lot for little gain, other than notoriety. This brought him some small amount of notice in certain circles as he made his way the ranks the hard way. Mostly his exploits were physical ones, requiring balance and speed and a good hand at moving over buildings.
He had been very lucky in his youth and managed to get in young with the gangs, rising in the ranks and eventually going independent to make a few good scores of some worth. The scores were mostly against his old gang brothers and their associates, and this caused a lot of trouble and unrest. Rival gangs almost came to a full scale war before they figured out who duped them. This did not make him very popular with the civil authorities. He fled, just ahead of a band of soldiers, to Denfirth in Richfield, where he was picked up by the authorities there. He has tried to steal a mule and cart of a merchant from an Inn and ran afoul of the bad weather and muddy conditions. While trying to free the cart, he did not hear the soldiers and was apprehended without a fight.
The captain of the guards in Denfirth fended off attempts to get him returned to face justice, as Richfield’s hatred of West River Run outweighed their good sense of keeping captive a ‘dangerous criminal’ (as referred to by West River Run agents). For 2 years he stayed in a cell, hearing only about the goings-on in the world from the soldiers of Richfield in the jail – who constantly reminded him he would likely be hung the following day. After several months, the soldiers began to treat him like a mascot of sorts, which is probably how he survived without being killed. He taught a few of the guards some tricks of the ‘house game’ and cheats practiced by gambling dens, and played many a game for toothpick stakes, befriending the guards. After 2 years, the Earl’s herald Stephen offered him a new job as a spy for Richfield; to travel locally and the lands of West River Run gathering intelligence. Kaleb accepted. His skills served him well as a ‘spy’. He did infiltrate a few local gangs, and mostly he broke into posts and business of small importance to steal or copy information. He operated along the border, in outposts, villages, and smaller towns where he posed as a carpetbagger, merchant, and seasonal laborer for 3 years.
He was seen breaking in a few times, as he was a bit careless and more daring than he should have been. He did get captured once, and forced to endure torture. He was made to stay in a room with poisonous snakes, for weeks, unable to fall asleep for fear of falling off his tiny ledge and into the snakes. To this day, he has a fear of snakes. He did manage to escape through a lucky jump and surprising the guard (who was killed by the snakes). However he divulged no information, nothing was ever proven, and at no time did he ever get identified or formally tried for any crime. After 5 years, there is an unofficial 300 silver bounty now on his head in West River Run, and he had to leave in CY 9143. His crowning achievement, and what eventually forced him to leave, was infiltrating a cadre of merchant suppliers to the barony of Faryain under the lordship of Baron Realen Veff – guardian of Gillman Pass and vassal of Count Badgericus. He managed to uncover evidence that the supplies were being diverted and extra money pocketed by people related to the authorities. The pass is under manned due to supply difficulties, so mercenaries have to be hired – someone was making money on this and the Earl of Richfield took it to the Duke. Though it was covered up and no one knew, it was still a political black eye for West River Run behind the scenes. Kaleb started the discovery process which eventually lead to these facts being uncovered.
Returning to Richfield, there was a lot of pressure to hand him over to authorities of their political enemies – threats of trade hostilities and isolation were made from their northern neighbors. However, his service was rewarded with the safety that a real vassal would enjoy. But his time in the service to the rulers of Richfield had to end – for everyone’s sake he must be made to dissappear. The the herald Stephen sent word to the court of Bar-Innis to see if there was a place for him – away from West River Run’s prying eyes. The court of Bar-Innis has sent word back that he may come there, but he will be a ward of the court initially, under the Earl’s protection but until something suitable can be found for him, he must stay at court and do nothing. Timothy, and aide of Stephen’s has told Kaleb that in all likelihood some disfavored family will be saddled with his care – he is a political hot potato and his position is unenviable. As he packs, he is told to avoid any illegal entanglements in Bar-Innis – to stay to the court and to head the direction of Djuril, the senior herald at Bar-Innis. He must not associate with any other known organizations or groups. Eventually he may be released to go his own way. This is certainly fine by him, having been used by the forces of Richfield has left no strong desire to belong to an organization or brotherhood – he prefers his independence. He will be trusted to make the journey himself, and if no news is returned of his arrival in court at Bar-Innis, he will be a wanted man in all of Dunstrand.
Kaleb sets out, crossing the border of Bar Innis. Following to roads, he travels directly to the court of the Earl at Mev. There he presents his written credentials. The herald Djuril tells him to quarter himself in room with a new door. The room has obviously been scrubbed and cleansed many times, though is comfortable. The fireplace is small, but suitable. On the wall is hung the Earl’s banner and a smaller, beaten banner of pure white. Here he is housed in somewhat luxurious style. For 2 months he keeps his ears and eyes open in the court of the Earl and hears of news of The Brave Companions – loyal banner men to the Earl. One of them, Sir Farold Oshman, is leaving service of the Earl and has been appointed Viscount by the Duke. The nobles in court laugh and joke – the territory is small and has some sort of problem that they will not discuss in the open. Kaleb finds out his is to be released into the care of the Brave Companions. Now only a small band of what they once were it consists of Hap the Grollen warrior, Viscount Farold Oshman, Sandovhal Aelishan (a relative of the ruling family in Bar-Innis), and a new member named Aruna – Apprentice of the Azure Parlor (a servant of House Malor, the magus house of dunstrand). They have returned to Bar-Innis, but are soon to leave again for a place called Pikes Peak in the Cerran Grant of central Dusntrand. Before he is taken to them, Djuril meets with him and states emphatically that the group is trouble and so will he be considered if he does anything more than travel with them to settle the area – not a good thing for his name or situation. If he makes an effort however, to report back to Djuril on the movements and plans… Djuril will make sure his efforts are rewarded in both treasure and a quick release from service, so that he may resume his life. Kaleb nods his head and says he will do what he can… but knows that he must assess the situation more before betraying such a group who is popular with the common folk and carry political clout in their own right.