The Mists of Pantea
Strength – 18
Dexterity – 8
Constitution – 14
Intelligence – 10
Wisdom – 12
Charisma – 14
Prefered Equipment: Polearms, Heavy armour, Thrown missile weapons
Feats: Polearm Mastery, Great Weapon Master
Appearance and Attire:
Just above average height for a human, with a solid yet lean build, Loghren carries himself with the unspoken promise of great strength. A short mop of ash-white hair sits beneath a hand-forged steel helmet, with a plume of owlbear feathers. He wears a battered coat of plate-reinforced chain mail, with a padded black surcoat, bearing the Sigil of the Red Knot – a white crescent moon with a red bird in the foreground. A well stocked pack, lashed with various oddities and trophies accrued over his travels, holds most of his travel equipment. He carries the Wyrm Sting – a Longspear – crafted from the toxic stinger of a wyvern’s tail. It is topped with a chitanous, sickly green blade.
Loghren has the eyes of a Devil. They glow with the fierce amber of a Pit Fiend. A gift from his doting Patron, Bel. His face bears a horrific burn scar, leaving the skin cracked and blackened; the tightened skin pulls at his lip, leaving him with a contemptuous sneer.
Born dockside, to a mother who made her living cleaning other people’s laundry, with a father who was gone by the next tide. The second child, with three brothers and three sisters, his elder brother found work on a ship and never came back; cholera took his youngest sister and a particularly harsh winter took another. At the age of ten, Loghren had grown lean and tough and world wary. Hardship was normal, and loss was inevitable. Still, mum couldn’t feed everyone so it was just as well the others went quickly.
It was about time he found something to support the family, or at least lessen the burden. Looking around ships, warehouses and taverns, Loghren found a room full of rowdy drunks calling themselves the Black Falcons. A mercenary company enjoying some rest time in the city before moving out to find more work. The young lad gathered his courage and went to the biggest, toughest looking man he could see, and asked for an apprenticeship. For his moxy he got the taste of the back of the man’s hand. Thrown down, he stood and threw himself at the man, clawing and punching and tearing at him – to no effect other than a laugh from all watching. Still, his tenacity was appreciated, the company took him on.
After informing his family, he and his new guardians left the city to travel the whole wide world. Loghren spent years with this crew of three dozen surly soldier’s of fortune. He learned from all kinds of people; how to wield all kinds of weapons, how to fight with different styles and tactics, and how to control a battlefield with command and skill. It wasn’t until his teens he started fighting alongside them all.
Despite what Loghren would tell you, he grew to care about his old crew. Velgrim, the bald dwarf who had taken him along, was both a mentor and a friend. Kalash, a desert warrior from across the seas, would sit watch with him and they’d whittle away the hours with idle chatter. Hlammat, an orc reaver, taught him the ways of a Battlemaster and impressed upon Loghren the importance of command. They were a crass, surly, often times scary family, but a family they were.
For over a decade he travelled to strange and dangerous places, battled threats both ordinary and monstrous, and grew into the man he is today.
Mercenary work as a whole, is for the unscrupulous and vicious. This is hardly an exception. Occasionally you run into a band who holds the strictest adherance to a code of honour; jobs shall be completed to the letter, the demons will lie dead and the peasants saved. That sort of work isn’t usually covered by your run of the mill mercenaries.
Mercenaries are for ambushing a rival ambassador’s carriage, killing everyone on board and stealing everything not required as proof of death. Mercenaries are for burning villages and farms to starve out the enemy army. Mercenaries are for storming a keep at night and snipping the o’ so deep roots of a noble family tree. From stem to newest leaf. Dark, dangerous work for people who have more debts than morals, and more callousness than compassion. If you don’t start that way, you end up that way – it’s hard for Loghren to know which camp he fell into, having been at it so young.
Knowing right from wrong isn’t easy when your closest companions and dearest mentors are patting you on your shoulder and buying you beer the first time you gut a nobleman. Loghren, as both a capable killer and a most charming diplomat, eventually gained a place in higher command of the some fourty odd other killers. Whether it was negotiating terms of pay with clients, or delivering terms of surrender.
Eventually, he became a named man. A person whispered about when news of the Black Falcons’ involvement in a matter became known "Watch for the Long Talon. Don’t matter if you think your safe on the field, if he wants to get you he will.’ A name gained when he struck the head from a militia general attempting to quit the field on horseback.
And once you have a name, all you can do is add to it. Even if one day you realise your name isn’t whispered with awe and respect, but fear and bitter sneers. Every black deed sticks to it, and there were so many black deeds. Still. Better to be feared than dead!
Unfortunately, these things do not last forever.
A milk-run of a caravan job went awry when tracking through a shallow valley between towns. A rain of arrows and black fire assailed them from all sides, and moments later a swarm of black-cloaked figures were pilling into the baggage train. Rocked, the Black Falcons brought up a fighting retreat as the ambush saw many of their numbers cut down. In the end, a full blown rout saw the mercenaries scattered. Picking a direction and running, Loghren never saw what happened to the rest – he imagined most were cut down in the end, and those that made it out were heading elsewhere.
Nobody was to blame, the ambush was well timed and well executed, and the terrain was against them. The Black Falcons were brought down, after so many years, and all he could do was try to make his way around this small army of cultists and find civilisation.
A sad day. Fortunately Loghren had long since learned: hardship is normal, loss is inevitable. You pick up, move on and do better next time.
…And hey, maybe this was an opportunity to start over. To rewrite your story as you wish it to be told.
Life goes on. The seasons change. You get kidnapped by a Drow wizard, to fight and die in an arena so he can harvest your soul to empower his necromantic rituals. You weather the punches coming your way.
Perhaps Omazyr selected his prisoners a little too well. Loghren, with the combined efforts of these suspicious strangers, slew all who came to challenge them. Even Jorge, the angry woodsman, fell before the reaving blade. Breaking out, they traversed the subterrainian halls of the Netherena to find the master of this demense. A long, brutal fight ended with the drow butchered from a dozen wounds. So much for necromantic domination!
After successfully working the magical lock to create a portal, the group were forced to fight for the last few feet before freedom. After the rogue and ranger made their way past, Loghren and Alex were left on the wrong side of the portal as it began to rupture. He had never liked holymen. Preachy, self-righteous lot. Still, Alex had proven himself a worthy comrade – he’d gotten this far without a single sermon. Loghren and Alex, their combined might too much for the construct, destroyed the guardian and made their way to safety.
After a brief stay with the islanders, and a purchase of a cheerleading bird, the volcano on the island decided Loghren’s overpowering presense was too much for these islanders; with spectacular haste, the four barreled through all who stood to hold them and gained passage with a smuggler. A shame about those islanders, but when the chips are down you don’t try to reason with volcano cultists – a unanimous decision!
It seemed fate had brought this crew together, already Loghren felt endeared to this trio of oddballs. Not quite mercenary types; but the jump from merc to adventurer suited him just fine.
On the boat the three got to know each other, and their fellow survivors, before being ambushed by fishmen. One loss for a near complete destruction of a larger enemy force ain’t too bad. Still, Loghren accorded the captain a respectful ceremony – the priest finally snuck a sermon in – it’s good practise to pull the guy steering the ship away from despair. Rocky shallows are a popular form of suicide!
Arriving in smuggler’s cove was a nice shift; the group able to reacquaint themselves with the glory of capitalism. Fitting snuggly into a new set of armour, the group bantered some and went to the tavern. Finally! This was what being an adventurer is about. That, and slaying the occasional dragon. In the fires of combat, the forging of the group was complete – the blade quenched in draconean blood. The Red Knot.
Wyvern head in hand, Loghren made good on a deal struck, and returned to Taman the tooth so dear to him. (Everyone acts as if collecting body parts is weird, yet when Taman does it it’s fine!) If you’re going to fight beside someone, you might as well try to be friends.
Taking on a gig as a caravan guard, Loghren had a strange sense of deja vu. His last job had been as such, and the Black Falcon’s had payed dearly for it. Velgrim had always said: “No use fearin’ something forever; take it head on, or from the back if ya’ prefer, so long as you do it.” Time to see if the Red Knot were a sturdier kind of bird.
In the next town along, the party finds a mystery of missing children afoot. Loghren would never be considered a paragon of moral virtue, but kids were special. Little sods hadn’t had a chance to live a good proper life yet. The party set out on a righteous path towards a swamp. Thankfully, no ogres. Just a creepy vanishing cottage that lead to a demi-plane wherein resided two powerful hags.
Finally finding the children, they were shown the visage of a kind and lovely woman taking care of them. Hah! Loghren had lived long enough to know: this was not a fairy tale, and good things don’t just happen like that. You gotta make em’ happen. After Taman and Andraste went to confirm the existence of the other hag, Quirora thought it a good opportunity to spring her trap.
Silly hag. The Red Knot wasn’t trapped there with her. She was trapped there with them. Alex, enraged by the memory of his own lost kin, threw white fire upon the monster. Loghren, taken up by Alex’s furious fervor, joined the frey. The two did a number on the witch, who quickly resorted to trickery and sly magics to stay alive. Unfortunately for her, Andraste and Taman had survived a swim with her sister and were on their way back. Andraste, true to form as ever, ended the woman with an arrow to the face.
Quiphoni thought it best to come up and join in, and got much the same. Apparantly Andraste does not appreciate being stared down. Noted for future reference.
Another damn holyman showed up, acting as if he were riding to their rescue. As if finishing a heavily wounded fishman, and chipping away at the second, was worth the trip all the way here. Loghren, having grown to know the importance of staking a claim on your heroic moments, accorded no credit to this newcomer. His convictions did not save the lives of the young. The Red Knot, with brutal fury and sheer indignation, saved two of the three children.
On their way back, it soon became apparent the moral framework of each party member did not line up. Alex, feeling the blow hardest upon the wound of his lost love, saw the loss of a child unacceptable – a failure tantamount to having done nothing. Unwilling to see the pain and sorrow Alex held in mourning, Loghren clashed wills with the Pelorian priest. Loss was inevitable, you do the best you can – but you’ve got to be realistic. It’s rare everyone makes it out alive; the pain garnered from dwelling on such things was only deserved by the witches they had slain. Alex, offended by the notion of such pragmatic disregard, lashed out. A formative moment in their relationship. A line has been drawn in the sand, and both of them knew it.
Back in town, the group delivered their charges and reaped fine reward, with feasting aplenty. In a spectacular moment of sheer athleticism, Loghren took Paladin Droba’s challenge to arm-wrestle. Seems righteous fury does not hold up against a sweet set of pythons. The point driven home when Alex the Exhausted tried to reclaim honour for the righteous. He got much the same.
Impressed by his strength, and his natural charm, Droba urged Loghren to consider joining his order. To stand for freedom. Loghren was not convinced. Cultists, benign or not, weren’t on his good side. As if you need to be part of a holy order to oppose oppression. Still, he was magnanimous in refusal, and did his best not to disrespect the Paladin.
The next day, Loghren and the Smith who’s child they had saved, set about crafting Wyrm’s Sting. Using the haft of his glaive, and the stinger of a Wyvern, a greatspear was developed. A weapon fit for a slayer of great beasts. Loghren was happy.
On the road later that same day, Loghren got an opportunity to test it. With the wind picking up on the plains, a twister barreled into their flank. With some fast action and exceptional vehicular skill, Loghren saved most of the cart at the cost of some bruised arses for his friends.
The twister turned out to be an Air Elemental. Which turned out to have a terminal case of ‘messing with the Red Knot-itus.’ One more terror dealt with, they were back on the road. Days later, at a swelled river, they came to a destroyed bridge with a cadre of travellers stranded and starving. Quickly deciding the locals were a superstitious bunch, the group decided to head into the Redwood on the morrow. The overtly rude old woman leading the people asked for an escort. Whilst having always wanted to be an escort, Loghren was specific about his clientel.
In the dark of night the encampment was set upon by a Drow raiding party. Chaos erupted. Fire and magical darkness shrouded the night. Fucking cultists, most likely. It’s always a fucking cult. The Red Knot had faced Drow before, so set about rebuffing the attackers. Their leader got away, but a half dozen of his men died in the process. They took Gery. And some other folk too.
Expediency took over, and Loghren had saved a Drow for questioning. He had wanted to be a better kind of man. Old habits die hard. And some jobs don’t need better kinds o’ men. With it naked and lashed to a tree, Loghren took a torch and dagger and stepped back into Long Talon’s old boots. A comfortable pair, if he was honest. The drow was not moved by threats, and would not treat with Taman and Andraste when they vouched for persuasion rather than torture.
“Never make threats you aren’t ready to carry out.” Hlammat had always told him. The scalding knife point hissed and bubbled when it slid into the Drow’s eye. His screams were sweet as music in Long Talon’s ears. Still resilient. And time was growing short. An ultimatum, then. “Tell me, and I’ll stab you in the heart. Don’t, and I’ll leave you here for sunrise.” The drow spat at him. Loghren slashed his ankle tendons and left him to bleed. The Red Knot set out to hunt.
Dark, blood red woods proved just as ominous as they appeared from the outside. A ragged tangle of pitfalls, trips and snagging branches. A drow had stayed behind to slow them. Loghren’s handaxe thudded into his face without so much as losing a stride. They tracked the group to an ancient bazaar leading to a massive, carved crater, at the pit a ziggurat, with small crevaces down the four faces of the quarry. Looking into one, the group realised the Drow had teleported inside, yet found a scrap of human skin used as parchment.
It became apparent the bilingual squad were hiding hidden talents of ciphering. In cough an hour cough 1d6 hours the group learned the slavers took the people to feed to a Queen. God damn fucking cultists.
The cave seemed to sweat, the raw humidity clinging to flesh and metal alike. What was wet stone, and what was corrosive ooze was almost indistinguishable. The dancing false-flame of the ever-burning torch clawed at Loghren’s eyes. A part of him, a strong part, ached to snatch the thing and toss it into the churning waters they had left behind. His nerves were shot, his pride in shambles; tripping over and floundering across the bridge like a lame dog had left him in a foul mood – and the dank environs weren’t improving it much.
There was a moment. It nagged at him. The way she held onto it. Was he seeing things? Was this paranoia? She didn’t want to let go. As much as he wanted to disregard it as paranoia and mania, he felt deep within himself – the self he still recognised – she wanted to keep it.
It wasn’t going to happen. He’d kill her first.
He shook his head. Did he just think that?
Hah. Just old Loghren creeping back in. From back in the day, when he’d gut someone for looking at him askance. Not him now. She was his friend. His best friend. He trusted her at his back more than anyone, and she’d proved herself right to be there.
Maybe it wasn’t so sinister. She, like anyone obviously would, saw the beauty and strength with which he and Tiff had crafted Wyrm Sting to be. It was a weapon finer than any he’d ever held prior, and he expected it to grow further. It was normal for her to not want to release it.
And it was okay to defend your claim on your possessions.
She wouldn’t try to take it. That’s what makes her a friend worth having. Right?
It was with this thought in mind that black pain ripped through him. Unholy fire everywhere. His companions ducked for cover, eyes to the roof of the cavern. Where had it come from?
He saw it. Eyes in the darkness. An exit high on the wall of the cavern.
They waited. Crouched in the muck, slowly gathering at the base of the wall.
Nothing. Was it a dragon? A drow? Some other cavern dwelling creature who took issue with their presence?
It didn’t matter. Prudence never solved anything. He and a few of his companions began making the climb. Dragging themselves between handholds of cave-flora towards their target.
The going was tough. As Loghren neared the top, the skin-crawling shape of long, arachnoid legs slipped over the ledge. Following them, monstrously large spiders with hungry eyes.
What cruel twist of fate had to make it that his enemies allied themselves with such repulsive creatures? Who picks spiders as their animal ally?! Evil fuckers. What was wrong with dogs? Hell, moles love the underground. Why couldn’t some drow wizard make dire-moles?
Walton, in his unfathomable intellect, conjured a gale of wind to rip the spiders from their perch. Loghren, in his unfathomable bull-headedness and hunger for glory, sought to close the gap and blast the monsters with a wave of fear. The roar of wind passing by him didn’t register over the prospect of introducing fear to these things.
Walton’s plan worked. Breaking the tenuous grip that the arachnids had on the wall; casting them from the wall and down to the unforgiving earth. Loghren, unfortunately brought himself into the path of the wind. His own tenuous grasp was broken. The earth indeed was not forgiving. It was a miracle of his own toughness he wasn’t left crippled by the fall. The spiders were not so tough. Instead of landing in a puddle of spider however, the spiders vanished. Magical constructs. Summons.
In the quiet that followed, the group began hauling themselves up the wall once again. Finally, at the top they were faced with a dark alcove. Silence. Not a thing stirred.
As the others gathered themselves, Loghren peered into the darkness. The whispers at the corners of his mind flared up, momentarily deafening him to the hunger of Wyrm Sting. The calls of the damned. The minions of his contractor. At times he thought about whether an extra chance at a long life was worth selling a century of service to the commander of Hell’s forces. What fool would condemn himself for a chance to stick around with his friends a little while longer?
Loghren was already pretty sure he was going to Hell. You don’t get to do the things he had done and hope for a comfortable judgement, and he refused to pledge himself to a god to worm his way into their domain in the hereafter.
He didn’t beg. He didn’t worship. A god is just another fucker with power. Having power doesn’t make you worthy of praise. That’s what great deeds are for. He wondered if Dawn and Alex saw their religion as a transaction of power. No different than his own.
But at that moment, the extra pay Bel offered showed its worth. Instead of finding darkness when turned from the torch, he found a world of perfect clarity.
The dark was the domain of the devil. Beyond that of any petty allegiance the drow had. And Loghren was, no doubt, more devil than they.
He saw her. Stood against the back wall, shrouded in magical dark, was their attacker. She hadn’t heard of him.
She expected her petty magic to protect her. To leave the surface dwellers vulnerable.
Loghren began to move deeper into the cavern. Playing the fool.
A horrific scream filled the alcove. Andraste had used the teleportation ring to bypass the climb, carrying Walton into the stone wall. His leg merging with the rock and materialising. The rest of the Red Knot, unaware of the threat and motivated by compassion for their companion, rushed into action. Andraste fired up the ring once more, blinking Walton out of the wall and into clear space. His screams did not let up. Dawn and Alex dropped into the practiced rhythm of life magic. Calling upon their deities to ease the pain, and heal the stony flesh. The Red Knot’s entire goal at that moment was to help their friend.
Loghren barely even heard the screams.
The moment the scream broke the silence, he saw the drow’s focus dial in on the source. No longer watching him, the closest to her position.
Loghren broke out into a wild charge, Wyrm Sting coming forward like the horn of a bull. The drow barely managed to pull her attention back to him before the green blade ripped into stomach and slammed her into the wall she had braced against. With a savage tear, Loghren dragged her to the dirt. The blade came free for a moment, and with ferocious strength staked her to the earth again. He could no longer hear Walton and his friends. Holy intonations. Painful shrieks. Whispered comforts. None of it.
All he could hear was Wyrm Sting. Howling like a mad dog. Yipping and gnashing teeth and roaring encouragements. Like the hunger of a bloodthirsty crowd at the Blood Sands. Only much, much better.
Every sense felt alive and laser-focused. The hairs on his head stood on end and his grinning face felt numb.
With a twist of his wrist, he dumped the contents of Wyrm Sting’s venom into the staked woman. Drow-made poison flooded through her, tearing through her body’s defences and leaving her out cold.
She wasn’t a threat any more.
The noise in the cavern flooded back in, and Loghren looked to his friends.
Dawn and Alex, hunched over Walton’s mumbling form, hands glowing with golden light, all of their focus on saving the man. Taman, Andraste and Hamas stood close by watching to see if he pulled through.
Taman caught his eye, the magical darkness dissipating, and he saw Loghren pinning the drow to the earth. A thought occurred.
What if, in the inevitable questioning that followed, they bargained to let her go? That didn’t seem like Taman, he was a practical sort, but Dawn or Alex may have ideas about holding to ‘your word’ even if it is an enemy.
Or maybe she would escape. It had happened before. These bastards were slippery. The drider had slipped his bonds easily.
That would mean he didn’t get to kill her.
Wyrm Sting wouldn’t be fed.
“I got her, Taman. She’s dead.”
Taman looked for a moment, a moment that stretched on for Loghren; he couldn’t know, could he?
The ranger nodded, and turned his attention back to Walton.
Loghren stepped up and stabbed Wyrm Sting through the drow’s throat. Done.
Wyrm Sting’s sated contentment replaced the heart pounding joy with a sense of rightness.
Nothing could have gone better. Loghren wandered back towards the group, and Walton, feeling a damn sight better than he had at the bottom of the cave.