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Young Ravenblade

My character is a dwarf ranger who is known to everyone as Ravenblade. He seemingly takes great pride in this name, although it is clearly not the name of a dwarf. Few people know how or why he is called Ravenblade, which is especially odd considering that he wields a pair of warhammers.

When he was just a pebble of a dwarf, his parents knew that they had a very unique son. While most children his age enjoyed games of boulder tossing and cavern hiding, Ravenblade had a pet rat. When his parents found the rat and killed it, Ravenblade did not cry or shout or even feel angry at his parents. He merely looked at them and said: “I understand why you killed my rat…we must be having rat stew for dinner.” His parents couldn’t hide their disgust and threw the rat into the abyss.

Over time, it became exceedingly apparent to everyone, including Ravenblade himself, that he was quite a different sort of dwarf. The kind that would carry an injured bat home and nurture it while letting a friend limp back with a twisted ankle. The kind that asked questions about how bats could see in the dark, but never twinkled an eye at the sight of a diamond. The kind that grew to be 5 feet and 2 inches tall with a mere 150 Ibs of pure, lean muscle. Obviously a freak.

Eventually the day came that comes to every young dwarf. The day that either completes his destiny within the clan or leaves him stranded without direction. Not the rituals of fire and earth, which Ravenblade passed better than all his peers. It was the day of being chosen by a bride and taking one’s place within the clan.

As you can imagine, this didn’t go so well. His parents were ashamed to even present him as a potential groom to any of the eligible females. That was for the best, because virtually none would even consider him. After all, what would be the point of marrying a male dwarf if you can’t even reach his beard to give it a good, disciplining tug.

There was one young lass though, his first and oldest friend. She was the most beautiful lass in the entire clan. Every young, unmarried dwarf pined after her, as well as some of the married ones. Even Ravenblade had to agree that she might be more interesting than all the rats and bats, and other animals he ever played with. As good luck would have it, this pretty young dwarf lass was quite fond of Ravenblade and had secretly fancied him for several years. As bad luck would have it, she also happened to be the youngest daughter of the clanchief.

To make a long yarn somewhat shorter, Ravenblade was “encouraged” to leave the clan and find his luck elsewhere…and that’s exactly what he did.

A lot happened between his time of exodus and today, including how Ravenblade became a ranger and acquired his name. For at first he was called Arombalosh.

How Ravenblade Changed His Name

Arombalosh and his human mentor, Durendal, were trading with a human village when it was attacked by bandit goblins. At first, it seemed as if the goblins were intending to merely steal some of the farm animals. That is why Durendal and Arombalosh rapidly packed their bags and made ready to leave. Just as Arombalosh had hoisted his greataxe over his shoulder and they were about to turn away from the village, loud shouting could be heard. Looking back, the pair of rangers saw that a group of humans were trying to defend some of the pigs and cows. Durendal merely shrugged and turned away, but Arombalosh couldn’t stop watching. As he watched, the young dwarf noticed a shift in the battle when some of the humans successfully struck a few goblins down. With an ululating cry, the rest of the goblins renewed their attacks. Looking more intently, he noticed that the majority of the goblins were not actually trying to steal any of the livestock, but were butchering them, mostly ignoring the humans. They weren’t even trying to carry off the dead meat to be eaten later.

All of a sudden, Arombalosh remembered his perplexity as a child, seeing his parents throw away his dead rat instead of eating it. Through Durendal’s guidance, Arombalosh now knew consciously what he only knew intuitively as a child, namely that all of nature’s creatures have a purpose within the cycle of life and death. In nature, the wild animal only does what it needs to survive. It only kills when it needs to and nothing is left to waste. So-called civilized people rarely acted out of need, but instead out of whim.

Upon seeing the senseless slaughter of livestock, something happened within Arombalosh. Something he did not feel as a child. Something he had never felt before. Irresistible, overwhelming rage suffused his entire being.

With an intelligible shout, he charged the nearest goblins, swinging his greataxe in sweeps and arcs. The first few goblins never had a chance. With a ‘swoosh’, one goblin’s head went flying. A second later, another goblin lost an arm in the back-sweep. Two other goblins stood to face the dwarf and lost the use of their legs. Mere seconds had passed, and all the goblins and humans froze for a moment, staring at the crazed dwarf. When the humans realized that the dwarf was killing goblins, they renewed their efforts. When the goblins realized the dwarf’s intent, they panicked. Everything was happening very fast and most of the goblins thought they were being slaughtered by one of the Raven Queen’s messengers in the form of a black-clad oversized dwarf. In their panic, the goblins ran in all directions. Most of them headed for the forest, but some of them ran towards several of the village homes. Soon, all the goblins immediately around Arombalosh were dead or bleeding profusely. He whirled around wildly, looking for more of the animal killers. He spotted a goblin coming out of one of the huts, holding a small girl in front of him. Arombalosh started walking toward him, lifting his greataxe high and to the side. The goblin, holding the frightened girl in front of him, shouted in raspy common: “Drop axe. Go away. Girl no die.”

What happened next would haunt Arombalosh for the rest of his life. As his greataxe swung towards the goblin’s neck in a high sideways arc, the goblin did not raise his club in defense or even attempt to jump aside. Instead, the sneering goblin dropped its weapon and lifted the crying girl in front of him, directly into the path of Arombalosh’s greataxe. The young dwarf desperately tried to change the angle of his swing, but it was too late. With a sickening squish and crunch, his greataxe dug deeply into the little girl’s torso, slicing through her heart. She died almost instantly, her eyes staring in wide-eyed astonishment at Arombalosh.

The goblin used the opportunity to make his escape and Arombalosh did not care one bit. He leaned heavily on his greataxe, staring in horrified shock at the little girl’s face. Was it his imagination or was there a slight smile upon her lips? Durendal appeared at the dwarf’s side and silently took away the greataxe. Some of the humans were beginning to mill about; looking to see what damage had been done. Where was the girl’s mother and father, Arombalosh wondered. Why weren’t they wailing and shouting in grief and anger at him. Durendal tried with futility to nudge the dwarf away, but Arombalosh just stared at him.

In a sudden flash of insight the young dwarf, who had been shunned by his own kind, understood that he was never meant to live a civilized life. His destiny lay with the spirit of nature itself. The laws of life and death, without greed or revenge or cruelty were his laws. Nature gave and took when there was a reason, and in the end balance and tranquility remained. There was no reason for these goblins to come here and kill. There was no reason for this girl to die. Yet even now, in the aftermath of a skirmish in a civilized village, there was tranquility. That is what Arombalosh felt like now. Until this very moment, he still had had lingering doubts about leaving his clan and becoming a ranger. Now there was absolutely no doubt.

Arombalosh looked into Durendal’s eyes for a long moment and then turned to the villagers. “Hear me brave villagers. I, Arombalosh, son of Angrosh, murdered this little girl here” he said in a booming voice. Many of the villagers began shaking their heads, mumbling. “Yes, I did kill her with my greataxe. I lost control and forgot what it meant to be like a breeze of fresh air. Had I not been blinded with rage, I might have anticipated the goblin’s action. Yet it was not to be. For that I am deeply sorry and would like to pay my condolences to this girl’s parents." When nobody stepped forward, a young man shouted: “Both of Elika’s parents were killed in the attack.”

Hearing this, Arombalosh bowed his head saying: “I will pray to Melora for their spirits to find respite in the Raven Queen’s domain.”

After a while, Arombalosh again looked at Durendal and said quietly: “Thank you for everything, my dearest friend. I will never forget what you have done for me, guiding me in the ways of the forest and spring.” Gesturing at the greataxe he said: “Keep that, I have no more need of it since I forswear the use of any axe ever again.”

Turning once more to the people, the dwarf shouted: “From this moment on, none shall know me as Arombalosh. Like the wings of the raven slicing through the air in flight, my blade sliced through Elika’s life, sending it to the dark queen. Henceforth, I go by the name of “Ravenblade”, so that I may never forget the day of my greatest shame."

Ravenblade Meets Mal And Daggoth

Eventually, years later, Ravenblade made the acquaintances of Mal Geminous and Daggoth Varkash in a fortuitous turn of events. Actually, one should say life-saving. One day Ravenblade was bringing some meat and hides to Brindol for trading, as he sometimes did. On his way, he came across a group of humans fighting a band of kobolds in the Witchwood, between the Witchstream and the Elsir River. After watching the skirmish for a while, Ravenblade was just about to quietly move around the battle to continue on his way when he noticed that a group of the kobolds had encircled two of the humans and were pressing them hard. Normally this wouldn’t have interested him, except that one of the two trapped humans was not fighting, but was trying to hide behind the legs of who may have been her father. Ravenblade saw that it was a little girl and remembered... He then also noticed that the group of humans was being commanded by a tiefling shouting out orders. Next to the tiefling was a giant of a dragonborn fighter. At least he assumed it was a dragonborn, because he knew for a fact that dragons were quite a bit larger. Both of them were slicing their way to the right side of the kobold group encircling the two isolated humans. Seconds later, almost coinciding with a breeze of wind, two of the kobolds were falling, with an arrow each sticking out of their backs. Even before they hit the ground, Ravenblade had dropped his bow and charged the group of kobolds from the left, whirling his two warhammers. It didn’t take long for the three of them; the tiefling commander, the dragonborn, and Ravenblade to rout the remaining kobolds. Ravenblade was not at all surprised by the battle’s outcome, but he was surprised by the fact that he had once again involved himself with the ways of humans instead of the ways of the forest. What surprised him even more was how naturally fighting in unison with the two non-humans came to him. As if that wasn’t enough to convince him that he had finally found the companions he was looking for, it began to rain.

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