The Nine and Six and One
Aldric was born on a plain just outside of Shaelas Tiraleth, Cyre, Khovaire on the 5th of Sypheros, 963. His parents, Melnornon and Gonranwen Gaagail are valued warriors of the Vaelesta War Clan. The Vaelesta War Clan was one of the many clans recruited by Cyre to come to Khovaire as mercenaries and help Cyre make good its claim on the throne.
The first few years were glorious! Melnornon especially gained much glory for the clan leading warriors to victory after victory over enemies that were surprised by the newcomers and their exotic tactics. As a warrior people, Gonranwen didn’t let anything like a pregnancy slow her down, and Aldric was born in a war camp that was currently campaigning against Breland.
In 964, when Aldric was 1, the Colonel Bragshaw of the Brelander army launched a daring raid: Since they had been unsuccessful facing the Elves in open battle, a diversionary attack was made, and then the Vaelesta camp was overrun while the majority of its warriors were elsewhere. While most of the camp was slaughtered, the Brelanders were curious about the elves, and decided to take Aldric and 2 other infants as slaves. Hopefully, more could be learned about their foes by studying one in captivity.
Bragshaw, however, had not counted on the ferocity of an elven war clan dishonored in such a way. Also, while he knew that the warsteeds of the elves were incredible, he had not counted on the massive endurance advantage that they had over normal horses. Finding his camp in ruins and his infant son gone, Melnornon lead his war clan on a massive chase over 500 miles to track the offenders down. When Colonel Bragshaw realized that he would never escape, his thoughts turned torwards preventing the elves from recapturing their children. Unable to kill infants out of hand, Bragshaw sold the infants to traveling slavers before riding onwards, desperate to find escape.
Despite years of searching, and a Melnornon never found his infant son, nor any of his age mates. Today (997) Melnornon and Gonranwen lead the Vaelesta in a multitude of raids on the Talenta plains.
The slavers travelled up and down Khorvaire for years, unable to find anyone willing to buy an elven baby. Eventually, the slavers made it north into Thrane, where their luck finally ran out. A cohort of the Emerald Claw was leading a Karrnathan advance into Thrane, which was finally stopped by the Knights of Thrane in a field just north of Flamekeep. The slavers were unfortunate enough to be some of the thousands of civilians caught in the middle that day. The slavers were killed, as were most of the slaves including the other Elven infants. Aldric was the only slave from the camp to survive the battle. He found himself waddling into a strange city at the young age of three.
After weeks of wandering the strange war-weary city of Flamekeep, eating out of trash piles and dodging big ‘uns, Aldric stumbled upon a gang of small children. While they did not trust him at first, they did allow Aldric to run with them, and eventually become a part of their gang. Being so small, Adric made an excellent lookout and scout that could warn them when danger approached. Being the first Elf any of the kids had seen, acceptance did not come quickly or easily. For years, Aldric was always given the hard or unsavory tasks, but Aldric survived. He learned to become better than everyone else just so that he could survive.
One day, after Aldric had reached the ripe old age of 12, the older kids leading the gang thought it was time to teach Aldric the fine art of being a cut-purse. After a week of instruction and practice, some of the smaller children were posted as look-outs, and Aldric was given his final exam: a human male of about 30 walking through the marketplace. Using years of accumulated skill in stealth, Aldric slipped carefully behind his mark. As we went to cut the purse off of the belt, he found it missing! And faster than he could blink Aldric’s hand was grabbed, disarmed, and he was hustled out of the marketplace.
Aldric panicked, and gathered air to scream. He heard a rough voice in his ear, “If you scream, kid, or give me any trouble at all, I’ll give you to the Flame Guard.” Aldric was scared beyond all reason, and let out all of his air in a rush. No one known to have been captured by the guard was ever seen again. After a moment Aldric gathered his wits, as the strange man hustled him through the streets. At first, he was heartened to see members of his gang shadowing them from the side streets. However, the strange man hustled Aldric even faster, and soon, without even appearing to watch the area around him, the man had managed to lose the gang. Soon, Aldric was forced down a tunnel, and through many twisty passages.
After hours of misunderstanding, repeated panic attacks and unbelievable patience on the strange man’s part, Aldric was finally made to understand that he was being offered the choice of a lifetime: gain a mentor in Sharil Trannyth (the strange man) or continue on as an incompetent street thief that would soon be captured by the guard. Aldric chose to excel.
Sharil was a former member of the Thrane army and currently a master cat burglar. While Aldric often heard various stories of Sharil’s past, nothing ever seemed to hold together: no two stories ever seemed to be related. His past was always shrouded in some mystery. What was clear, is that Sharil used to be one of the feared Thrane Archers, and he passed on his skill with the long bow to Aldric. Secondly, Sharil was a master thief, of the cat-burglar persuasion, known as “The Shadow” and Aldric quickly learned the true arts of stealth, acrobatics, and thieving.
Slowly, Sharil became the father that Aldric never had, as he taught Aldric not only skills, but life lessons, quickly illustrated by life on the mean streets. Under Sharil’s tutelage, Aldric quickly became proficient at sneaking into the houses and offices of wealthy merchants, nobles, corrupt guards and acquiring “dense” merchandise. “Never take what you can’t carry off easily,” Sharil would often say. “It just slows you down and makes you easy to capture.” Aldric learned to find the items that were light yet valuable.
Other than his ears, and light bone structure, one would never have known Aldric was an elf. He had spent his entire life growing up in the company of humans.
Eventually, Sharil taught Aldric about the Thieve’s Guild, and how it was important to pay dues. “No man is truly an island. They provide valuable fencing services… and can sometimes make trouble disappear. It’s always good to have friends. Even if they are only so good as your latest dues payment.”
Sharil also taught Aldric a hatred for the Silver Flame. In his stories, as well as examples pointed out on the streets month after month, Sharil was able to show the corruption rampant in the church and its leadership. “Never trust the flame, Aldric. It’s far more evil in its pursuit of power than anyone who hides in the shadow.” Sharil also cemented Aldric’s belief in a good team. The two of them together were always able to accomplish more than if they were working solo.
One night, When Aldric was 28, Sharil stole a ruby the size of a fist from one of the Church priests, on a commission job for the Thieves’ guild. As Sharil was on his way to turn in the gem, two full platoons of guards emerged from hiding places in alley ways, surrounding and capturing Sharil. It had been a set-up! He did see that the guards appeared to be led by Leoben Foechuckle, Sharil’s arch rival in the guild. In a rage, he risked his concealment to launch an arrow right at Foechuckle’s face. While Leoben received a nasty scar on his cheek, Aldric missed his true target of pinning the head to a wall. Only through the greatest of luck did Aldric escape, despite having been watching from a distance.
Despite an intensive 36 hour search, Aldric managed to avoid the guards, return to the hideout, and load up on as much gear as he could carry. Before leaving town, he did discover several important facts:
- The guards had put up Wanted posters with his description, but appeared to no longer be actively searching for him, nor did they have a good likeness of him.
- Reading between the lines as Sharil had taught, Aldric realized that the Flame Guards only wanted him because he was another potential handle on Sharil.
- Sharil was given a life sentence in prison “For crimes against the Flame.”
Devastated by the loss of his mentor, not crazy enough to go up against the Flame alone, and unwilling to trust anyone in the current Thieves’ Guild after Foechuckle’s utter betrayal (there used to be honor among thieves…) Aldric left Flamekeep and headed west towards Aundair, a land that had to be good if the Flame hated it so much.
Avoiding major cities in order to avoid the inevitable bounty hunter, Aldric made his way across the Aundarian countryside. Aldric has been on the run for two years before meeting the stranger in the tavern.
Aldric plans to use the wealth and training Vanwick provides to become something more than the urchin he so recently was, and begin to amass his own fortune. He hopes to secure the release of his mentor, as sufficient “ransom” is sure to loosen any jail door. Failing that, a daring rescue could be in order. Finally, he hopes to use Vanwick’s contacts to learn more about his past, as Aldric knows very little about Elves. He thinks of himself as human.
Aldric aspires to become even greater than his mentor: practically invisible as he rains down death upon his enemies, and picks their treasure rooms clean.
Aldric wears tight fitting leather armor that allows a significant freedom of movement. Over the armor he layers camouflaged clothing so as to better blend into the shadow. Most of the time, he also wears a hooded cloak, the better to hide his face.