Ursion Thrune

Ursion_thrune
"Look at me human. Don't I look like a paladin to you?"
User: Adam
Campaign: Carrion Crown
Race: Half-orc
Gender: Male
Class: Fighter
Description:
Appearance:

He is bald, with grey facial hair.

Envision that instead of tattoos he is covered in scars. There is almost not a place at his body that isn’t scarred, with some of them being on top of each other. Some must have been quite deep wounds. But judging just by a sheer amount of them you get the impression that they all can’t be from combat.

By the look at him you can see that he is past his mid life. You might remember that the half-orcs rarely live up to the age of 75. But this one is clearly past the middle point. You would guess about 40 year old. But there is something about him, you are not sure what- his eyes? The way he sometimes stares at something with absent look at his face? This makes you think that he might be older than you guessed at first or maybe he has been through a lot in his life.

You can clearly say that he is strong. His body full in muscles. He is about 6 feet tall.

All of this makes him very intimidating. When your eyes meet his from time to time you get this strange feeling that you shouldn’t look straight at him although he doesn’t make any additional gestures that would prove this theory.
Background:
CHAPTER I

This story begins 39 years ago in a town of Trunau, Hold of Belkzen. Living at the border with orcs makes people cautious. You are either prepared and ready or you are dead. The city’s garrison had resisted orc’s attacks many times but that fateful night something failed. Was it a lookout, who fell asleep on watch or just bad luck, either way orcs got on the walls and slaughter began. Hours later when the last intruder was gone people started counting loses. And it was horrifying.

But let’s concentrate on something else that happened that night. There was a man and wife, who lived in this city. His name was Alexite. He was a brave and strong person. As soon as he woke up to the alarm bells, he woke his wife and grabbed his sword, then ran downstairs only to witness the door to his home smashed open and few shadowy creatures entering. Without hesitation he charged at first figure piercing his sword deep into it’s flesh. But when he removed it from orc’s body he was already surrounded. It was a quick death- he died from the first hit to his head that came from behind. When murderers arrived in the bedroom a delightful sight met their eyes- kneeling woman engrossed in prayer. The smirk of smile appeared at their faces.

Month later when people buried their close ones and the time of mourning was over they once again resumed their lives. It was a strong willed nation. They had to be.

But let’s return to Alexite and his wife. Her name was Valeria. She loved her husband. The day after the attack when she came downstairs and found his body she embraced him and cried for many hours. Weeks later, after funerals and many sleepless nights, she sold the house and decided to find the comfort with her family in Nirmathas. Her decision was also dictated by a different reason that you may think of. She was pregnant. And, although she very wished it not to be true, it was not her husband’s child. You may ask- how did she know? The answer is simple- mother knows. And while being terrified by the very thought what this may bring to her life, she decided to keep the baby. At this point you should know that for Valeria all life was sacred. She devoted her own to the Goddess of honor, justice and valor and never lost her way. She thought that by leaving these lands she might protect her child from harm and strongly believing in that she headed to Kassen.

Months later she gave birth. She was not mistaken- child had light green skin. But what she didn’t expect was that he had a brother. When an hour later she was lying in her bed and holding in her arms two tiny, crying babies she knew she had made the right decision. All the horrifying thoughts she had had till now instantly vanished. All that remained was infinite love for her sons. She named them Alexite and Ursion- one after her late husband, second after her father.

Years passed and children grew up. She and her parents taught them all they knew. At first they were hesitant but soon they learned to love the boys seeing as they were just like any other children, loud and full of energy. Her family led a simple life. Her father, a retired soldier, now experienced hunter. Her mother Pontia, gentle and sweet, was an excellent leatherworker. She herself had a bit of magic and acted as a healer if there was a need and in addition to this she was a gardener.

Boys were eager to learn, especially warfare and her father was happy to finally pass on his fighting knowledge. Valeria wasn’t too happy about that but she knew that boys must know how to defend themselves. Alexite at every opportunity run to her to listen about Iomedae’s teachings and she was very pleased, hoping that one day he might decide to devote his life to her. Ursion contrary to his brother- if he could he would never leave his grandfather’s side. Many times they would go hunting together, never returning home without the game.

We all would wish such a peaceful life for our heroes but it’s only possible in fairy tales. Life on the other hand is full of evil and unfortunately this story is not an exception.

While boys were treated only with love at home, outside was a different matter. Village children were told by their parents to never get near them. Adults were harsh towards them and full of mistrust. And soon, when boys were about five, prejudice and fear gave fire to something worse. Other children, not being allowed to know them better, started mockeries and insults. Those led to fights. With time they have learned that if they value their skins it’s no use starting fights with Ursion, who was too strong for them and at this point was taking lessons from his grandfather. But it did not prevent them from harming Alexite. He never fought back even if it meant returning home full in bruises and blood. But every single time when Ursion had found out about it, those responsible felt his anger. He couldn’t understand why Alexite allowed that. They both were strong and when they were practicing Ursion struggled to come at top. But when he asked his brother about it he only received answers which he couldn’t comprehend. “They are afraid of us”- Alexite used to say- “Don’t worry, they will learn to accept us”.

Time passed and not much changed. Until the fall of their 13th birthday. Strange sickness fell upon the town and people started dying. Among them were Ursion and Pontia. It was sudden. One day they were full of strength, the next they couldn’t leave bed and the day after that they didn’t open their eyes anymore. No one knew what this disease was nor where it came from.

Much later it was found that Solangus, town’s doctor, whose wife died in the beginning of this year was the culprit. Mad with love and not being able to live without her, he made a pact with some kind of fey. If he poisoned the town’s well and brought many fresh corpses for this creature, it would grant him his wish and reunite him with his late wife. But our story is not about poor doctor and how he was tricked for greater evil. Let’s return to our heroes.

Soon after they buried grandparents strange rumor started spreading. You see, like I had told you before, people are afraid of those who are different. And fear blinds your actions. The mentioned rumor blamed boys for this disease and their witch mother. “Because only witch may bring life to such monstrosities” it said.

One night their mother didn’t return home. Brothers were worried for her safety and ran to look for her. They have found her on the village square surrounded by people. They got to her, but too late. Manius the blacksmith, who was known for excellent work around neighboring villages, who boys knew since their early days, was removing his dagger from Valeria’s chest.

He got drunk this very night. Well, he was drinking the entire week. Hard to blame the man- when you bury your beautiful wife and your two daughters on the same day- it does strange things to your mind.

Alexite run to his mother, embraced her and tried to press the wound. Ursion, maddened from watching the scene that was playing in front of him, unsheathed his sword and ended poor man’s misery with a single cut. People started running away in panic and soon, after the screams subsided, brothers found themselves alone. “She is gone”- Alexite’s words broke the silence.

They buried her with her parents. Flowers, she cared so much about, decorated her grave.

Brothers started packing. They knew that staying in this place was out of question. What they didn’t think about was that they had different ideas where to go. Alexite wanted to follow his calling. He said that he was certain about it for some time and just couldn’t find the right moment to mention it. Ursion started yelling at him that he must be mad for wanting to live among humans again. That they both should either look for mercenaries’ work, join an army like their grandfather or even go to orc’s lands. They couldn’t agree. Alexite tried persuading his brother that this kind of life is not worth living, that life must have a higher purpose. Ursion didn’t want to listen to this. “You want to go kissing the feet of your human god?”- he yelled- “Go, but don’t expect me to kneel there with you”. He took his equipment and run into the rain.

The story splits here for obvious reasons. If you wish to know what happened to Alexite you should find different source of information. We will, from now on, follow the story of Ursion.

CHAPTER II

Many times later Ursion regretted his decision. He worried sick about his brother and even returned home few days after they split up in hope of finding him there, but without success.

Not having a real destination Ursion started travelling through the whole Inner Sea, working for those who wished to hire a sword. He never stayed long in one place and never got close to anyone to even consider trusting them. He got paid and moved on. One thing was constant, wherever he went he was met with mistrust and prejudice. He didn’t care though or at least he convinced himself he didn’t.

Once, when he was in his early 20s, experienced fighter at this point, he stumbled upon a highway robbery. From a safe distance he assessed the situation. Three thieves, one wielding a crossbow, another with a greatsword and the last one full in armor with shield and a mace. One person lying on the ground, not moving, probably dead, because no one was interested in him. Their only living victim, a funny looking human, probably wealthy, judging by his clothes. It all screamed “easy money” to him.

Not wanting to bring attention to himself he sneaked his way from their blind spot, hiding behind the wagon. They didn’t notice him. “Total amateurs, overconfident and thinking that all what is left is collecting the payment”- he thought. Ursion smiled to himself noticing something. He pointed his crossbow at the man in armor, aiming at his head and killed him before his target even realized what happened. Using the moment of surprise he rushed at the great weapon user. Another one dead. He didn’t even dodge nor parry. “Who are they? Peasants looking for easy money?” He started laughing. The only robber left was a young boy, not older than twenty. Bandit tried to focus and load his crossbow, but with shaking hands he just couldn’t, dropping the bolt every single time. “Human, how much do you value your life”- Ursion said looking at the older man- “Speak fast before I leave you here with the boy”. The older man quickly estimated the situation, stood up, flicked the dust from his robes and said the price. “No need to be cruel”- Ursion thought as he stepped forward to the boy and beheaded him with his blade- “After all, it’s only a job”.

Man introduced himself as professor Petros Lorrimor and asked for assistance on the way to Sothis. As Ursion was heading there anyway he agreed upon negotiating the payment.

No one bothered them on their way and they safely arrived at their destination. The whole journey his new companion spent on talking about his research, ancient ruins and their treasures guarded by eternal and formidable sentries. Professor asked Ursion if he might consider working for him but he declined, thinking that the man is more trouble than it is worth. Ursion bid him farewell thinking they will never see each other again.

After few years life became monotonous for Ursion. Even though he traveled a lot, it was all the same. Mistrust, contempt, hatred, hostility and disrespect in people’s eyes, only being valued for his skills in ending life. Bloodshed, wine, whores, fear and those eyes, the never ending cycle. After some time it became a blur for him. He started losing a grip on reality. Never having anyone, who would listen to him. Even whores were afraid of him although he couldn’t recollect ever hurting any of them. It was all tasteless for him. From time to time his brother’s words echoed in his head- ”…this kind of life is not worth living…”- but he always discarded these thoughts or drunk more ale to stop hearing them.

He started taking more and more risky jobs. He wasn’t sure why. Was it the better pay that lured him, possibility to test his skills or excitement of playing with death? Anyway, after a while even these lost his interest.

In his early 30s he was mindless. He stopped taking jobs and almost whole days spent drinking in taverns. Nothing interested him anymore, nothing had any meaning. He knew he was finished. He wished only to end this madness, but he was too proud to kill himself and he didn’t want to give any human satisfaction of finishing him.

Once, when he was recollecting his childhood, one thought came to his mind. He started laughing out loud. People stared at him but he continued for a while. Suddenly he stopped, stood up, gathered his equipment and started a journey somewhere, where he had thought he would never return, home.

He arrived about a month later after uneventful passage. The town and village didn’t change much. People didn’t recognize him or pretended not to. He didn’t care. His old home was inhabited by an old couple he didn’t know. Frightened of him they had hidden inside house when he opened wicket and moved past the garden, which was still beautiful as in his memories, although different because new hands were now taking care of it. The purpose of his travel was behind the garden, hidden in the shade of trees. Three graves of the only people who ever cared for him beside his brother. He noticed that they were looked-after, with fresh flowers on top of them. He felt grateful to the old couple. After a minute he left. He never had been a spiritual type, just wanted to check on them one last time and tell his mother few words. “I am tired mother. So very tired. It’s like a heavy burden on my chest which takes my breath away. But soon it will end. I know you wouldn’t agree but this is the only reason which keeps me still going. I will kill those who hurt you, I promise.”

His next step led him to Trunau. He had been here once before, following his contract. This time he had a different reason. After few days of inquiries he found out the exact location of the tribe that attacked this town over thirty years ago. It was a distant past but the immensity of suffering that assault brought on them was so overwhelming that he might have as well asked about events from a year ago. With his final destination known he didn’t waste time and set off deeper into Hold of Belkzen.

After two days he arrived in front of the wooden wall. Skulls and withered blood adorned the pitiful sight. This was it, the end of his journey and his grave. He didn’t feel sorry for himself, he never did. Moreover he felt a lot better than in a long time. Sudden shot of energy ran through his veins.

He pierced his greatsword deep into the ground in the distance of twenty yards to the wooden gate and started yelling. He was circling around his sword within radius of two steps to it and screaming insults at orcs hidden behind the safety of the wall. Soon they started pouring out of the gate. Wave after wave, they started forming a circle around him laughing in the process. He didn’t mind. Ursion pointed at one of them and spit in his direction. This worked, the orc thrown off balance by this insult, rushed at the unarmed madman in front of him. Ursion, positioned in the way to block the orc’s view of his greatsword, with one quick move drew it from the ground and beheaded the beast. Even greater laughter hit his ears. He once again pierced his weapon into the ground and started circling around it, inventing more interesting insults on the way. Next opponent stepped towards him and after him another and another. And between each of them same ritual took place- dead orc, sword buried in the ground and Ursion circling around it. Soon the grass around him was covered in blood making each step harder not to slip.

He didn’t notice when laughter stopped. “You stopped laughing now? Finally realized you all die today?”- he spit the words towards them, trying to catch a breath and regain some strength. He wasn’t circling any more, instead he was leaning on his sword with sweat dripping into his eyes.

The real reason the laughter subsided was contrary to his words. They knew he would die soon. There was more than a hundred of them and he only by himself. But they had acknowledged his strength and soon the air started vibrating with mad screams and roars. They encouraged him to stand up, to continue his dance. They adored fight and death. They were brought up like that, it was all they ever knew. And anyone who would show his power to them was, in their eyes, one of them.

After few more dead opponents he almost couldn’t move. His hands shaking, feet losing ground, wielding sword only through willpower. Blood and sweat covering his eyes.

At some point sudden silence fell on this scene. It threw him off at first- “Did I lose hearing too?”. It took him a moment to realize they were no longer looking at him. Instead the wide gap formed in front of him and all of them turned to have a better view of something at the very end of it. After a moment new roars started, nothing like before. They already knew, this was it. The end of fun. Half-breed will soon be dead.

A minute later a creature came through the gap. Ursion had never before seen something like that, he wasn’t even sure if this was an orc. The creature was horrifying. Over 10 feet tall, red eyes, sharp fangs, white hair, full in scars. His body almost half the size bigger than Ursion’s. And it was wielding two greatswords, one in each hand. “You are really pretty, you know”- Ursion mocked him.

The creature didn’t waste a moment and rushed forward. “They call me to such an insignificant worm?”- it was thinking- “The half-breed is already dead and they dare waking me up?”. His attacks were brutal, no finesse at all, just pure strength. Ursion couldn’t do anything against such a force, especially not in the state he was in right now. And soon he found himself on the ground, bleeding from many wounds and not being able to move at all.

“If I could move just a tiny bit I would kill you”- almost none of the words reached the orc. The monster interested in his prey’s last words moved closer but still couldn’t understand him. So he leaned over him in intention of pressing his ear to his mouth. Ursion noticed this and in the right moment, using the last reserves of his strength threw himself at the beast and sank his teeth in it’s larynx. Orc shocked by this, threw himself back, dropped his weapons and not knowing what to do, started pushing Ursion’s head away from himself. In this very moment Ursion jerked himself back and ripped creature’s larynx out. Orc finally freed from him, took few steps forward and fall on the ground. His blood spilling from his dead body.

And once again total silence swept through the field, broken only by Ursion’s laughter.

Moments later they lifted him to his feet and two orcs, one on each of his sides, supported him so he wouldn’t fall. He could barely see but few seconds later he recognized that the orc standing in front of him differs from the rest.

“I am the chieftain of this tribe”- he said- “You have killed many of my warriors today and my champion”- he pointed at the dead creature- “I deem you worthy and I invite you to us as a new champion. Join us my son and together we will drink blood of our enemies”. “I may very well be his son”- this thought amused Ursion, but instead he answered- “No. Kill me or I will kill every single one of you before this day ends”.

Chieftain said nothing but someone else stepped from behind him and said- “When chieftain gives you something you accept, you can’t refuse him”. Ursion was unable of moving his head to look at him so he focused his eyes at the chieftain and once again declined.

He could have very well slapped him in the face, the chieftain’s reaction to this looked just like that. “Very well, k-“- he started saying but the same person as before stopped him before he finished- “Sire, look at him. He has a death wish written all over him. You want to punish him? Keep him alive.”

By looking at chieftain you could easily tell that he very liked that suggestion. He nodded, but Ursion didn’t see it. He had already lost consciousness.

They had dressed his wounds and when he finally woke from medicine- induced sleep he felt fine. At least until he understood the situation. He was inside the tribe walls, lying on the sand in the middle of empty square. Chained by his feet to the wooden stake. He could hear laughs. He looked around and noticed some orcs staring at him and others just doing their works. He felt anger and tried to free himself by pulling the chain, yelling at them to come closer to him. But he provoked only more laughter. Eventually exhausted he passed out.

He spent few weeks trying to free himself, considering various plans how to get out from there but all of it in vain. Then he changed tactics and tried to kill himself. First by refusing eating or drinking. They were smart. They didn’t force him, instead they started leaving the food out of his arms reach so he could smell it and always be able to look at it. It never failed. After some time he couldn’t resist, he nodded and they moved it so he could grab it. He also tried ending his life by bashing his head against the stake. He almost made it but they arrived in time, stopped him and healed his wounds once again. This time they attached both his arms to the taut chains so it was only possible for him to sit or lie. Hitting his head against the sand didn’t harm him at all, only made him dizzy.

No one was speaking to him except one person. From time to time he arrived and always asked the same question- “Will you join us?”. And always the same answer was waiting for him- “Never”.

Not having anything to do, he spent time either deep in his thoughts, observing the life of the tribe or listening to them. After some time he could understand few words and after many months he learned their language.

I will not go into more details here. This was horrifying time for Ursion and he later wished to forget it ever happening. After months of enslavement, day and night, being awaken and asleep, all of it was indistinguishable. He started having hallucinations, not knowing what is real or not. Being able to talk to someone was a relief even if it was only a delusion. He had seen people he killed, his grandparents, his mother, even his brother. He started anticipating those visits.

One time when his brother came to him in the middle of the night, Ursion welcomed him- “So brother, you lucky bastard. You are dead and I am still alive”- he started laughing- “Why aren’t you laughing wraith? I find it quite funny”. Alexite answered him- “Come brother, I am here to free you”.

Alexite saved him that night. But he also freed him from a different kind of prison. The one Ursion made for himself in his own mind. Of course it didn’t happen at this very moment and he would never admit it, even to himself, but being able to travel with his brother and see the world through his eyes made it much easier for him.

When you absorb hatred your whole life, it closes your eyes. You start to see the world not how it really is but how you want to view it as. At first you subconsciously give it a chance- maybe next town things will be different, maybe the next person I meet will not look at me like the last one. But once again it turns out the same. Either because it is true or you just believe it is true. At one point you run out of places you can visit and this is the time you realize things can’t change.

But Alexite brought a little bit of difference. Imagine a dark room, in which you spend half of your life. With each day it becomes darker and darker and at some point all light is devoured and you are left in total darkness for many years. Now imagine that after that time a tiny bit of light, a spark, shines in one part of the room. You gather all what is left in you and move to this spark. To protect it. Because compared to what you are used to, this tiny light may as well shine as bright as the sun.

CHAPTER III

First months were difficult for Ursion. He was very weak and it took him almost a year to regain his full strength.

It was strange for him meeting Alexite after so many years. He seemed more dedicated to his deity now, spending most of the time preaching to his brother about Iomedae, his life as her warrior and his holy quest. For Ursion all of this sounded like fool’s errand. He couldn’t understand his brother back then when they were children, it made even less sense for him right now.

One thing became clear for Ursion. He is in his brother’s debt. And he intended on repaying it fully. By the looks of things, Alexite would need his help. Probably mostly from his own zealous flame.

Alexite was eager to resume his mission, finding this professor of his. Ursion didn’t tell him he had met this person before. It seemed like a madman’s task for him. How else to call it? A strange person tells you to go, look for someone, doesn’t give you a reason nor a place to start and you just blindly assume it was your god’s avatar. “Madness”- he thought. Yet he followed his brother. “Someone has to take care of him”- his thoughts- “Or soon he will end up in a nameless grave”.

They started traveling, visiting each city on the way. Their journey would go faster only if Alexite didn’t get into trouble every single time. Was it the monster in the woods, who was terrorizing nearby villages or a murderer, who was evading justice. All of it demanded retribution in Alexite’s eyes.

But one day they got information that some kind of scholar had dug up ruins in the woods near Senara and is leading the expedition to investigate them. It was all Alexite needed to hear. They mounted their horses and only with necessary stops to allow the animals get some rest, they arrived at their destination.

The information was correct. The place was an excavation site, with tents and fireplaces filling every free spot. Alexite started asking about the professor of his and soon they had found out that it is indeed professor Petros Lorrimor but he was not seeing anyone. His tent was guarded by heavy- armored mercenaries not allowing any priests, merchants nor scholars inside. And there were many who wished to see the man. Not sure how to proceed they decided to call it a day and they set a camp.

In the morning they were awakened by a young lad, who introduced himself as professor’s messenger and told them that his master had wished to see them. They were led to his tent. It was indeed the person, who Ursion saved many years ago and the reason for this meeting was that he had recognized him and wanted to seek his help. When Alexite found out they knew each other he said it must had been his deities holy guidance. Ursion wasn’t so certain, but he kept his thoughts to himself.

Professor told them that this discovery may be very important, depending on what they find out down there. But he had two big concerns. First, the ruins were crawling with undead. And the second he trusted no one, even his own men. So when he noticed Ursion in the crowd yesterday he couldn’t pass on that opportunity. He was quite sure, in the business he was you couldn’t ever be certain, that Ursion and his brother don’t have hidden agenda and so he sought out their help.

Ursion would prefer not to get himself involved in all this mess but there was no possibility of convincing Alexite out of it. And so it was decided that they would join the expedition. The date was settled and they started preparing.

Professor had picked his most trustworthy men and they all went into the ruins. They were proceeding carefully, making sure to clear every room before going further. It took them hours but they finally arrived at the gate leading to the main chamber.

Neither professor nor Alexite were able to hide their excitement. Ursion, being his usual self, was observing everything, looking for any sign of trouble. But everything seemed to go smoothly. Maybe that’s why he was so cautious, in his book things rarely went smooth to the very end.

When prof. approached the gate, Marcus- his right hand, moved to one of the supporting pillars in this room. He seemed to look for something. Alexite joined the prof., because he needed help opening the gate. They started pushing together and soon the room started to fill with the light coming from the main chamber.

But before they were able to finish the task, Marcus pulled some kind of lever and said: “I’m sorry professor, but some secrets should stay hidden”. He hid behind the pillar and soon massive explosion erupted from his location. Two people nearest to him died instantly, their remains scattered all over the place. But the explosion also destroyed the pillar and the floor started shaking, with pieces of ceiling falling everywhere. It became clear that they don’t have much time before whole place collapses.

Alexite and prof. being so close to their goal, oblivious to what was happening, and Ursion’s commands, tried pushing even harder. But the gate seemed to be blocked and the gap still too small to get through. Finally Ursion convinced them it’s madness staying any longer in this place and they rushed to the exit, getting out just moments before the entrance got buried.

Professor and Alexite were woe some. Especially the latter. He seemed downcast and for days was avoiding contact with anyone. Ursion, after few days, started to really worry about his brother’s state. It didn’t help at all when the professor shared with them that his estimations of excavating the ruins were closer to decades than years. Alexite stopped eating and spend whole days wandering around the site and into the woods.

Ursion patiently waited, not knowing what to do. Any kind of talks he tried to have with his brother seemed to bring no effect at all. But one morning he woke Ursion and told him to get ready because they were leaving. When asked what changed his mood, he only smiled. Was it his goddess, who send him a vision or again the old man hiding under the hood, Ursion never learned the truth.

CHAPTER IV

Few years later, when they were in Kassen, visiting their mother’s grave, an out of breath courier approached them suddenly. He handed each of them an envelope…