||2020-10-03 10:47:37 - Update
Episode #6: The History of Brother Griften
The Scourge of the Underdark Campaign
NPCs mentioned in this Episode:
Griften is middle child of three born to simple farming parents on the outskirts of Rel-Mord in the nation of Nyrond.
Griften was raised in this loving family and wanted for nothing, enjoying mischiefs and explorations with his siblings and the other children in their farming community. His parents' farm was small like many, but they had a small barn, tiny stables and two fields for their crop; all surrounding the small house where his parents still live to this day.
Griften's younger brother Darin was by far the most mischevious of the three, and Griften's contribution to the family chaos was tame by comparison; but their parents would certainly not have called either of their trouble-making sons responsible! Griften's older sister, Xenoria was the disciplinarian of the three; often charged with looking after her younger brothers when their parents were working on the farm or travelling to Rel-Mord. Xenoria was quite a bit older than her brothers; a decade having passed between her birth and Griften's.
When they last saw each-other, Griften's younger brother Darin, was continuing to work on their father's farm, content to work all day, drink all night, and more than happy to harass the ladies about town only to be scolded by his mother for a lack of responsibility.
Griften's sister's whereabouts remains a touchy subject at family gatherings. Seldom spoken of anymore, Griften's older sister Xenoria left home when Griften was still a boy. Just seventeen when she left, Griften's relationship with his older was one of great kinship; an unspoken understanding that they shared something beyond parentage; that amidst the normalcy of their surroundings, there was more to both of them than their parents cared to admit.
Griften recalls now that Xenoria recognized in him the budding power of his mind long before it was apparent even to Griften; she encouraged him to try moving objects without touching them and setting straw on fire without a tinderbox. Griften knows now that Xenoria herself was not without her secrets, and this would come to haunt Griften years later. When he first witnessed Xenoria's strange hobby, he was still a young boy and magic was still a story people told and a carnival trick at the annual fair. But soon Griften and Darin learned that their sister was more than just an imaginative girl 'playing pretend', she was already speaking the words of magic!
This, Griften thought, was the source of the tension that caused a rift in the family; Mother and Father had always been supportive of all their children's interests. Griften had bothered his father for months to teach him tricks with the staff before his father finally relented, and Darin had quit his archery lessons about seven times. What Griften first thought to be his parent's general disapproval of his sister's 'useless passtime' soon came to be understood as horror at the nature of her gift, and not the gift itself. Griften's parents never spoke of it to him.
Griften's memories of all that led to Xenoria leaving are few and clouded. He was just too young, and Darin was younger still. Griften still can only recall fragments and scenes, but they are filled with his parents pleading with his sister, arguing, yelling and great sadness. Griften was only ten when Xenoria finally left, but Griften's burgeoning gift allowed him to burn her image into his mind; he would never forget her.
It was Griften's father, Ammon who next saw in his son the growing power inside him. Perhaps learning from the Xenoria, Griften's parents welcomed and encouraged his growing power and made it part of their daily lives; even finding usefulness in it when Griften was able to control them. The last thing Griften's parents wanted was to lose another child from the same mistakes. Griften, in a way, owes much to his older sister for this.
As a young man, Griften had many jobs in town. Besides helping his father on the farm, Griften would take some of his extra time and work for merchants and stable-keepers for extra money. One of his more frequent jobs was to be the assistant shop-keeper for a man named Renoit. Renoit was a middle-aged man, quite a convincing salesperson when he wanted to be. He had no family that Griften knew of, and he came and went from town to town every year as he saw opportunity to trade with traveling caravans or spend some time in neighbouring towns and cities across Nyrond. Renoit was such a good salesman that he used to brag that he could sell anything to anyone.
One day, without any warning, Renoit told Griften that he would be leaving his shop for six days and that he wanted Griften to look after the store while he was away. Renoit said he would travel east to meet a very reputable pottery maker who would sell him beautiful potteries that he could in turn sell at the shop. Renoit told Griften that this trip was very important and that he would pay Griften twice his normal pay if he would stay and work while he was gone. Griften agreed.
Two days after Renoit had left, a man came to the shop asking if he could speak to Renoit. The man was tall, several inches taller than Griften, and he was clad in beautiful green and brown woven silk robes, and he had a hood drawn over his head. His face was fair, with prominent, high cheekbones and a broad smile, and he talked with an accent that Griften recognized as being Elven. He asked where Renoit had gone, but Griften could only tell him that he had traveled east. The man politely thanked Griften, tossed several gold coins on the counter, and turned and walked into the bustling midday crowd.
On the seventh day of Renoit's trip, Griften still had no word. He desperately wanted to return to his work at the farm. He did not like trying to sell people things they did not want, let alone need. He wondered why Renoit was in the business of selling things, what pleasure he got out of it. Griften reminded himself what an excellent entrepreneur Renoit was, and that he love his store more than anything else. Griften decided to stay on a few more days.
On the tenth day, Renoit had still not returned. No word had been sent, but Griften could not ignore his responsibilities at home with his father any longer. After two weeks of tending to Renoit's shop, Griften reluctantly closed the shop and put the keys in his room at home. Without any idea what happened to his friend, Griften always expected Renoit to casually walk back onto the farm and ask for the keys to his shop.
Renoit never returned.
As Griften became a teenager, his psionic power became undeniable; even a hindrance. Griften's father knew that he could not teach his son anything Griften didn't already know about his power, and so it was decided to find suitable instruction for what could no longer be denied; a destiny beyond the farms of Rel-Mord.
Having heard of a monastic order called 'The Brotherhood of the Yellow Rose', Griften's parents decided to seek them out. Entrusting Darin to a neighbouring family during their trip, Griften travelled with his parents further north than they had ever been, deep into The Rakers. Wild, barren and unwelcoming, they were led by caravan to a small village at the foot of a rise in the mountain range that disappeared far into the low clouds. It was there that they were greeted by monks who apparently resided there in the village, acting as 'gatekeepers' for those just like Griften and his parents; some curious, some desperate, and some with less honourable intentions.
They stayed in this small village three days before they were called to a tiny wooden house in the center of the village. There, Griften and his parents were introduced to more monks, all wearing the tell-tale yellow sashes. Griften recalls keenly being asked to demonstrate his gift, and it was shortly thereafter that Griften was invited to say goodbye to his parents; for the monks had decided.
It was a tearful goodbye; as any thirteen-year-old would fear the unknown so different from their home. Griften's parents assured him that he would see them again soon, and that this was the best thing for him. These words, however, rang empty in Griften's ears.
When finally brought to the Temple of the Yellow Rose; Griften marvelled at everything around him. He learned very quickly that the rigors he complained of working on the farm at home paled in comparison to the discipline and work ethic of his new teachers. Griften found a focus and a willpower he didn't know existed within him. Griften learned very quickly that an extra-ordinary mental being must be balanced well with a healthy body.
Griften remained in the secluded community of the Temple of the Yellow Rose for the next many years. In fact, no one came and went as Griften could tell. Many of his monkly-brothers had gifts such as him, some were martial in their focus, some psionic, some both. The degree to which Griften's gift could grow was limitless, but it was the contstant practice, experience and proper use that separated the strong from the weak. Griften was determined to succeed.
Not long into his eighteenth year, Griften began to have a recurring dream. It plagued him at no regular schedule, with no warning and no apparent reason. Some nights Griften slept peacefully, his dreams filled with peaceful memories of home and the comraderie of the brotherhood, but some nights Griften stared awake long into the night, trying to stay awake for fear that those dreams would turn into nightmares.
In this strange dream, Griften was surrounded by a thick fog so dense that he could not see his own feet. His skin shivered as the fog wafted over him and there was no noise, but this silence was unnatural. It was as if everything was being quiet, waiting quietly in anticipation for something to happen. He could see and feel very little but the cold, hard ground beneath him.
Griften had a sense of fear and urgency though he knew not why. Amidst the dead calm that the fog seemed to lay over him like a smothering blanket, a low, harsh whisper started very faintly, muttering words not loud enough for him to hear.
The whisper came not from one place, and not from his mind, but from all around him at the same time. In such a vaccuum of sound, even as a whisper it was enough to want to cover his ears. From his studies of ancient language, from all of his readings, Griften had never heard such horrible language; it was ugly and distasteful. It filled him with terror, though he did not know why. The unintelligible chatter seemed almost familiar, but Griften could never know whether it was because it was a recurring dream, or for some other reason
Then, as quickly as it had begun, it faded away and disappeared into the horrible fog, and Griften was left alone again in the cold vaccuum of darkness.
Griften shivered in his beg again as he returned mercifully to the oblivion of dreamless sleep.
After his induction into The Brotherhood of the Yellow Rose, the dreams plagued Brother Griften no more.
On the eve of having destroyed the altar in the temple of Tharizdun on the Isle of Shadows, Brother Griften had again for the first time that dream from years ago. Unable to wake himself using the powers of his mind, Brother Griften relived again the uncharacteristic terror that seeped through his bones and into his soul. He heard the same, unintelligible whispering, and this time, very clearly there were more words. He listened with some reluctance, almost afraid of what he might hear. He singled out the extra wording, and could hear clearly amidst the heavy silence: "Freeeeee.... freeee at laaast. You have my thanksss..... you will be rewaaaaardedddd..... freeeeee.... freeee at laaast. You have my thanksss..... you will be rewaaaaardedddd.....". This Brother Griften only heard twice, and then again the haunting whisper that gave him a sense of ominous foreboding.
When he awoke, Griften stared into the darkness of the Sunless Sea with wide-eyed horror. What had he done!? Those words, all this time... is that what they meant? What language was this?! How could he have had those dreams so many years ago, before all of this happened?!
Griften chose not to mention his latest dream to his companions. He wanted to keep it a secret lest he become even more of a burden and a suspicion when other matters more immediately should be dealt with. The towers of Great Sh'abboath loomed over Brother Griften as he returned to the cold, lifeless halls of troubled sleep.