The Binding of Narfell
== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ==
Varra Stargleam, level 1
Eldritch Blast Option: Eldritch Blast Constitution
Eldritch Pact Option: Infernal Pact
Human Power Selection Option: Bonus At-Will Power
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 8, CON 18, DEX 13, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 14
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 8, CON 16, DEX 13, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 14
AC: 15 Fort: 15 Ref: 15 Will: 14
HP: 30 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 7
Arcana +7, Bluff +7, Insight +5, Religion +7, Thievery +6
Acrobatics +1, Athletics –1, Diplomacy +2, Dungeoneering +0, Endurance +4, Heal +0, History +2, Intimidate +2, Nature +0, Perception +0, Stealth +1, Streetwise +2
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Warlock’s Curse Power: Warlock’s Curse
Warlock Attack 1: Hand of Blight
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Blast
Warlock Attack 1: Hellish Rebuke
Warlock Pact Boon 1: Dark One’s Blessing
Warlock Attack 1: Chains of Levistus
Warlock Attack 1: Vile Brand
Level 1: Reckless Curse
Level 1: Rod Expertise
Rod Implement x1
Leather Armor x1
Flint and Steel
== End ==
A Mother’s Love
With tears streaking down her cheeks, Varra Stargleam placed her hand upon a small boy’s cheek. She gasped slightly with how warm his fever made his skin. Eyelids fluttered softly at Varra’s touch, the child put in great effort to try to open his eyes.
“M…mommy?” the boy weakly asked.
“Shush now, Brennus, I’m here.” Varra replied, choking back a sob. Brennus’ lips quivered, attempting a smile, before the boy drifted back into unconsciousness. Varra glanced over her shoulder to the High Priest Silona who was praying over Brennus, gripping her holy symbol of Torm tight. Silona made eye contact with the mother and sadly shook her head.
Varra turned away, cursing the gods. Torm wasn’t the first who was unable to cure her son. Clerics of Amauntor, Ilmater, Sune, and Tymora have all tried their luck and failed. The Loyal Fury was the last of the major deities worshipped within a wide radius of the Stargleam home. Varra’s father had told her to give up hope when the priests of Amauntor failed, since Amauntor was the patron deity of their noble house, but how can you ever ask a mother to give up hope?
The Stargleam’s were a minor noble house in Veltalar, the capital city of Aglarond. Varra had seen twenty-six winters, but to her parents she was still too young to have ascended to a position of power in the house. Her family kept her tucked away, preventing her from being aware of any of the going-ons in the house. Varra had found solace in her son, a product of a more youthful, rebellious phase that Varra had undergone. Now, in some political attempt of power, some unknown group had placed some curse on her innocent son. No demands or ransoms had surfaced, or they had come and her parents choose to ignore them. Varra didn’t know but wouldn’t be surprised if her parents decided that Brennus’ life wasn’t worth negotiating over. He was an illegitimate heir.
Feeling a hand on her shoulder, Varra turned. Silona was gone, Varra distantly wondered if she had fallen asleep at her baby’s side. In the cleric’s place stood the only Stargleam besides Brennus that Varra felt a connection to.
“Grandmother,” She said, standing and embracing the woman. “I didn’t think you were going to make it.”
“As soon as I received word, I came.” Akisha said, creases of worry crinkling her eladrin features. Varra envied her grandmother’s fey beauty. Varra was actually very attractive, but always found the fey species to have a natural beauty that she could never obtain. “How is he?” she asked, gesturing towards her only grandchild.
Dying, Varra thought, but she couldn’t bring herself to say the words out loud. Instead, she felt the tears start to stream down her face once again. The Eladrin crushed her child’s child to her chest, cooing softly.
After a candlemark of sobs, Akisha convinced Varra to leave Brennus’ side, at least temporarily, to help calm her down. Varra reluctantly agreed. Brennus was still asleep and his condition, at the moment, wasn’t worsening. Varra hurried down the hallway of her family’s manor, deciding to wash up quickly and be back at Brennus’ side right away.
Varra dipped her hands into the basin and felt the displacement of the cold water from her touch. She splashed the water across her face and silently watched the ripples grow as the drops fell from her face. Tears ran down her cheeks, mixing in with the water droplets, becoming indistinguishable. She didn’t know how much longer Brennus could hold on and she didn’t know how the gods, curse them, could let this happen to him. He was just a boy! He was her baby! Her heart was ready to burst from the pain she felt at being so powerless to do anything. How could she accomplish something that the gods’ servants failed? She prayed, hoping there was anyone left listening who could give her a sign of a way to save her son.
She stood, waiting, and listening. No sign came. There were no sounds except for the dripping of water falling back into the basin. Varra scolded herself for being so foolish. Varra’s stomach grumbled and she distantly wondered when the last time was she ate anything. She decided she had enough time for a quick stop at the kitchen before returning to her son’s side. She had to take care of herself still. Perhaps a sweet for Brennus, he had not eaten anything as well in quite some time. Varra resolved to at least get a son a piece of pie, his favorite.
Varra turned to leave the washroom and gasped at the sight of person in the doorway. She recoiled at the unwelcome sight when she realized who it was. “What in the abyss are you doing here?” She hissed at Brennus’ father.
The man’s head inclined slightly. “I beg your pardon? Do you have me confused with someone else?”
Varra was prepared to curse the man worse than any dockyard sailor; but as she studied him, she slowly realized it was not Brennus’ father. The man looked remarkably similar but there were subtle differences. She hesitated, confused on two accounts. One, why did this man looked so much like her one time lover, and two, how did this stranger enter the occupied washroom without her notice.
The man held up his hands, gesturing Varra to wait. “I’ll explain everything,” he said, as if he knew what she was thinking. “To put it simply, I’m here to offer you a way to save your dear Brennus. There are just a few things that you’ll have to do for me in repayment.” With these words, the man’s eyes flared red.
Varra, no student of the arcane, could still feel the dark entopic energy pouring off the man. This was a being to run from, or seek a priest to banish, not make a deal with, but he claimed to be able to help Brennus. She felt the urge to run and hide. But what chance did logic have against a desperate mother’s love?
“I’ll do anything you want,” Varra said without hesitation. The man’s eye changed a deeper shade of crimson and Varra’s vision darkened. The last image she saw before she fell into unconsciousness was Brennus, smiling and happy.
Akisha lit another candle and set it on the floor with the others. She did not know if the Archfey that she regularly communed with would be able to do anything for Brennus but she knew that the magic of the gods had failed her great-grandson. Perhaps a different more ancient magic would make up for the other’s shortcomings. Power unrefined, just the same as when the three worlds merged.
The eladrin moved to Brennus’ bedside and placed a hand on his forehead, amazed at how much heat his little body could produce and endure. She placed a dry cloth over his forehead and whispered a word of power at it. With the whispered word her breath was visible, she had lowered the temperature of the room. The cloth dampened instantly and she hoped that it brought Brennus some relief.
Across the room sat the last unlit candle necessary for her ritual. Akisha headed to light the wick, but hesitated when she heard a slight russling from Brennus’ bed. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw a strange man standing beside her ill great-grandson. The experienced eladrin could quickly tell that there was something amiss with the figure.
“Step away from him this instance!” She cried out angrily, waving her hand in his direction. Rays of green light burst out of her fingertips, crashing into the intruder’s chest. If he was even aware of her attack, he didn’t acknowledge her.
Instead, his hands wrapped around Brennus’ hands and he whispered a few foul words that caused the old eladrin to grimace in pain from their dark energy. The boys eyes opened wide and he let out a chilling scream. The room grew dim as the candles suddenly went out, plunging the room in an unnatural darkness.
Akisha cursed as she cast a simple spell to bring light into the room. She followed this by starting to draw mystic energy to her. She began to cast the most powerful spell she knew, but the words instantly fell from her lips. The man was gone and in his place, Brennus was sitting up, wide-eyed and alert.
“Geegee?” he asked, using his name for his great-grandmother. “What is happening?”
Akisha was too stunned to respond. Instead, she gripped her great-grandson and pulled him in tight, noting how cool his skin was to the touch now. She glanced at the door, wondering where Varra went off to.
One year later
Varra was kneeling on a rooftop, watching the flow of people on the street beneath her. The people were going about their normal, everyday life. These were people who were with their family, people who were worrying about the usual issues, such as making enough money to meet rent and getting food on the table. These were people who did not worry about the deal that they made with a demon.
These people were not like her.
Varra had taken to wearing a concealing black cloak that was currently wrapped around her face to ward her from the biting wind. The cloak wasn’t working, but Varra had become numb to the pain in the same way she had become numb to most things over the past year. She couldn’t live with the things she had done if she allowed herself to feel emotions.
She wasn’t shocked when she found out the man she made the deal with was actually a demon. Nor was she shocked when he refused to tell her his name, names were a source of power for creatures of the abyss. If Varra had such knowledge, she could use it against him. Varra was stunned to find out the favor the man would ask of her. She had become his assassin. For the past year, she had killed and killed. She never asked the demon why he wanted these people dead, she preferred not to know. That way, she could at least pretend that the people deserved it.
The demon had granted her some power over darkness and flames to assist her in her tasks. He called it a reward for the pact they made. She knew Akisha made a pact with creatures of the Feywild and some of the spells she could use now reminded her of the magic her great-grandmother practiced, but Varra’s spells were more brutal. She hated them. She hated the demons and thought they were cruel to give her these talents.
But the cruelest thing that the demons did was deny her request to see Brennus after the bastard healed him. She knew at least that Akisha had taken Brennus in and was caring for him as of late. The eladrin was also leading a search to try to find Varra, but the demon prevented such contact. Varra’s parents didn’t seem to care that she was missing or that Brennus was no longer around their home. Perhaps this was better, Varra mused. Akisha would raise Brennus better than his grandparents would have, at least until Varra could return to him, however long that would be.
Varra sighed, wondering how long she’d been up on this roof now. She was awaiting her latest target and had been waiting for longer than she cared to. She shifted uncomfortably, and tried to imagine what Brennus was doing at that moment. It was her favorite way to pass the time. She imagined Brennus was getting tucked into bed, it was late into the eve after all, and Akisha was giving him a kiss on the cheek as her boy drifted to sleep, there! Varra snapped out of her daydream as her target walked around the corner. It was a middle aged woman with bags under her eyes. She was struggling to carry the load of food she had back to her home. She looked… nice. Varra felt a twinge of hesitation, but pushed it away.
A deal was a deal.
Varra studied her target, figuring out the best angle to strike when a small figure suddenly darted out of the darkness at her. Another assassin? A halfling, perhaps? The shadowy figure entered the light and Varra was taken aback to see a child, no older than her Brennus. They were close enough that Varra could read his lips. “Mommy!” He cried out, embracing the woman. She grinned down at him, and for the first time since Varra saw her, the worry and stress-lines in her face vanished. The child took the smallest bag from his mother and they walked off hand in hand, the mother suddenly no longer struggled to carry the food home.
At once, the faces of all Varra’s victims flooded her mind. Every one of them was just like this woman and her child, who in turn were just like Varra and Brennus. They all had children, or parents, or siblings, or lovers. No one was alone. Varra was taking people’s loved ones away from them. “What had a done?” She whispered into the night, gripping the rod she channeled her new dark magicks through so tight her knuckles were turning white. No more. She vowed from this day forth, she would use these powers to benefit the world. She knew just how to do it.
She just had one stop to make first.
Varra stood in the doorway, watching Brennus sleep and roll over peacefully. He looked perfect, even more handsome than she remembered him being. Akisha was raising him well. Tears filled Varra’s eyes as she watched him and wondered what he was dreaming of. She wanted nothing more than to wake him and embrace him and tell him that she was home and… but she couldn’t. Not yet. She bent over to give him a light kiss on his forehead, then turned to go.
She froze, conflicted. She didn’t want to tell him she had to leave again, but how could she just ignore him. “Mommy!” he said, sitting up and rubbing his eyes to make sure he was seeing right.
A tense silence passed before he asked, “I’m dreaming again, aren’t I?”
“Yes, dearheart,” Varra said, reluctantly she whispered. “You are dreaming.”
“I dream of you coming home so often, but you never do.” He said sleepily, reaching out and grabbing her hand. “You feel so real.”
Varra choked back a sob. “I’m trying baby. I really am.”
“Are you lost, mommy?” He said, his eyes closing as he leaned against her shoulder.
“I was lost, very lost. But I’m trying to find my way back to you now. I will be back someday, I promise. Now, go to sleep.”
“Sleep? I’m already dreaming, why do I have to go to sleep?”
“Because,” Varra said with a grin, “This might be a dream, but I’m still your mom and I know what’s best for you. I love you Brennus.”
“Love you, mommy.” He said. Varra sat with him leaning against her as his breath slowly got heavy as he drifted to sleep. Varra wrapped her arms around him and held him tight as the hours passed. Eventually, reluctantly, she stood and snuck out of his room. Akisha was waiting for her outside Brennus’ bedroom. Varra wasn’t sure how long she had been waiting, but was grateful she didn’t interrupt her moment with her son.
“You aren’t staying.” It wasn’t a question. Varra shook her head. “I don’t know what happened a year ago, Varra, or why that demon healed Brennus. I hope you will tell me the story, sometime.”
“I can’t. Not now. Someday, though.”
Akisha smiled at Varra. It was a genuine smile that both woman shared. “Well, it’s good to see you for now, at least.”
“I came because I have to ask you a favor.” Varra said. “You and Brennus need to get someplace safe. You need to disappear.”
“What?” Akisha said, worry flashing across her face. “What happened?”
“Someone is going to try to get to me, and I don’t want him using you or Brennus. Do you have someplace safe you can go?”
“Yes, I can hide return to –“
“No, it’s better if I don’t know. Don’t tell me.”’ Varra interrupted. Akisha said nothing in response, and the two stood with a heavy silence in the air. “I’ve done so many awful things, grandmother.” Varra finally said, hanging her head in shame.
“There is always redemption, Varra.” The ancient eladrin said knowingly.
Varra weighed the words for a second, and then nodded. “I am going to find him. And I’m going to kill him.”
Three months later
Varra sat in her chair in her temporary living arrangement. She had rented a room out in a town called Highwatch, if you could call it a town. It was more of a keep, housing a squadron of Tormites guarding the region of Narfell. In the month that she had been living here, she had seen the servants of the Loyal Fury to be very unforgiving for even the pettiest of crimes. She had to take care that they would never learn her secret.
In her travels, she had summoned many small demons to pry information from. Varra had finally learned the name of the one who bound her to him. Jeggred. Knowing his name, she now stood a fighting chance. She had also heard that there was a heavy level of demon influence in this region, so she decided it would be the best place to start her search. She knew however that she would never be able to fight Jeggred by herself. He was far too powerful. She needed to find allies, and fast. They had to be used to combating demons.
So much to do; she knew she had to get started. Her baby was waiting for her at home.