The Isle of Deroge-The Grand Wager...
A prince among thieves
Val is the very model of the rogue. He is handsome, nimble and clever. Val's movements are smooth from dance lessons given by his first love. His skin is tan from working on the docks in Celendine. His easy smile hides a quick mind and a noble purpose. He often dresses plainly to appear like anyone else on the street.
Valerian D'Coeur Human Rogue 6
Ablities: STR (13) DEX (18) CON (14) INT (18) WIS (11) CHA (14)
Hp:38 AC:21 (Feathermail Armor+2)
Saving Throws: F/4 R/9 W/2
Class Abilities: Sneak Attack(3d6),Trapfinding,Evasion,Trap Sense +2,Uncanny Dodge
Feats: Weapon Finese, Two Weapon Fighting, Cosmopolitan, Combat Expertise, Improved Feint
Weapons: Raven Shortsword+2, Raven Dagger+2, Masterwork Shortbow
Skills: Balance(13),Bluff(11),Climb(8),Diplomacy(13),Disable Device(13), Gather Information(11), Jump(10), Listen(7), Move Silently(10), Open Lock(12), Perform/wind(10), Perform/sing(8), Search(10), Sense Motive(8), Sleight of Hand(12), Tumble(12)
Items of Power:
Ring of the Raven (Teleportation 2xDay)
Picture of Val is "Hero Thief 1" by ninebreaker taken from "deviant art":http://www.deviantart.com/
Val is a simple man who wishes to travel the world performing for audiences. He has run away from the family business and has been living by his wits ever since.
Spoiler Alert: Val’s true history follows
No, seriously, if you can’t seperate what you know from your character don’t read further
‘It’s a beautiful day,’ Val reminded himself as the hay cart he rode bumped and bounced along the High Tulip Road that ran from Celendine to Dalis. The sun was shining bright, cutting into the cool breeze of the early spring, enough to make it a pleasant hitchhike. He closed his eyes with a smile. ‘So much like that day,’ Val remembered with a bit of sadness.
“Bloodrose Guard, attend me!” A small girl’s voice rang out like a silver bell. A clatter of boys surrounded her, standing against another group of boys, sticks at the ready. All across Kantora, the same scene was being played out. For what girl did not want to pretend to be the Queen? What boy did not want to be a member of the most elite guardsmen? Of course, the girl in the pretty lavender dress was not just another little girl. Allegra Stratos was actually going to be the next Queen of Kantora. The boys, those she cared for today, were her Bloodrose Guard. Those who were out of her favor were the attackers.
Such had been the way the Bloodroses had been chosen for centuries, at the whim of the Queen. All of the noble boys, including Valerian, were not Bloodroses yet. Only the most skilled and dedicated of the noble bloodlines would be chosen to oath themselves to the defense of the Queen and wear the red lacquered, rose-etched armor of their namesake. Just like any boy, they all wanted to be. Kantoran bards and heralds sung of valiant deeds done in the Queen’s name. Some, such as Theodric Aquitane, were sad in its glory as he had valiantly defended his Queen in vain.
Valerian almost spit thinking of how the House of Aquitane now held the Stratos’ ancestral lands, and how they had fallen from the honor of Theodric’s time.
“Valeri, what is amiss?” Standing closest, because he was her current favorite, Valerian was the First Sword of the Guard.
He raised his practice sword in defense, “My Queen, it is the vile Prince of Ravens and his cohort, come to be off with you and your Crown Jewels!”
In the distance, Tiberius Stratos approached. The villain today, because he refused to allow Princess Allegra to dress him up in her clothes, as well as calling her a ‘silly girl.’ Valerian, in fact, had allowed her to dress him up and was noted by the Princess’ handmaidens that he looked quite beautiful in the clothes. “They will be mine!” Tiberius cackled, throwing himself into the role.
The crowd of nobility laughed as they watched the children at their mock battle, some with open humor at the play, some with a secret humor as if a hidden joke were being told. “Go for it, Prince!” Uncle Bastion called out, the reclusive relative cheered on the immortal thief of legend. Ever since the Merchant’s Guild House was built, the Prince of Ravens has been a thorn in the side of Kantora. On and off through the centuries, the Prince of Ravens stole priceless treasures, making the Guild and the Guard look like fools, even when he was caught and all but hung. Hidden laughs turned to open guffaws with Uncle Bastion.
The wagon hit an unearthed stone in the road, jolting Val back to the present. Like the ride, Val remembered, his youth was not always a smooth ride. There were wonderful days, playing for favorites with Allegra, training how to fight, and even learning about the great battles of the past and the cultures of the Devona and Eshih. In the beginning, even the expected child of Aunt Daphne was a wonderful memory. Of course, the newborn Gabriel Stratos was what he was now, Val thought as he absently rested his fingers on a dagger. Gabriel was now the in the most honored position a male of the royalty could be. He was the First Sword of the Guard, the highest and leader of the Bloodrose Guard. The youngest ever named the First. A position that Val himself would have held if only Gabriel had been born a few minutes later.
It was a rainy night when Aunt Daphne was in labor. Val and his mother had been present at the Daphne’s family estate, Val’s mother lending support by running the estate in the final trying days of her sister’s pregnancy. Val played with his older cousin in the rainy courtyard, their fighting stopped by the entrance of the aged Salamon Cannon, his gray unkempt beard wet with rain, bald head furrowed with worry. He ordered Val and his cousin out of the rain. “Go see to your father, Gaius, he likes this,” Uncle Salamon handed Val’s cousin a bottle of liquor. Valerian turned to go with his cousin when Salamon laid a heavy painful grip on Val’s shoulders. He looked to see that no one was in earshot. “Your Uncle Bastion died this night. He fell while running along the roofs of the Guild district. Do you know what that means?” Val, equally saddened by the news of the death as he was fearful of what Uncle Salamon was about to say.
Salamon pulled a flask from out of nowhere and took a deep swig. “No? Well it means you’re him now.” Val shook his head in confusion. Uncle Bastion held no title other than the one he was born with, and what was he doing out on the Guild’s roof? “Don’t you understand, boy,” Uncle Salamon said with a kind of glimmer, “As the youngest member of the royal family, you are to be the next Prince of Ravens!” A boom of thunder shook the house as Valerian fell flat on his bottom. Of course, a few minutes later, and Gabriel Stratos would have been the youngest member of the ruling family.
Val smiled as he shaded his eyes from the sun. He had in fact begged Uncle Salamon to choose Gabriel, to pretend that he hadn’t said anything till the young babe was born. It was not meant to be. That very night he was taken from his mother and his family and taken to the royal palace. Valerian already felt like a thief. Instead of being brought in with fanfare and heraldry, he was shuffled in a servants’ door by a key Uncle Salamon produced with a smile. He was herded through the winding passages of the castle and brought before the Queen. Worse, the Princess Allegra was also present. Uncle Salamon kneeled before the Queen and explained the situation. The Queen nodded solemnly and walked over to Valerian. “I charge you Valerian Stratos to be our agent of the Shadows. You are to spend your life reminding the Guilds that they are not all powerful in Kantora. The glories of the sun are not to be yours, but know that you stand at the heights of our heart. Rise, Valerian Stratos, Prince of Ravens.”
“Not Valeri!” The princess called out petulantly. She raced over to her mother, grasping at her dress. “I want him to be my First! I told you!” Valerian’s heart rose, he had never known Allegra to not receive what she wanted.
The Queen dashed all those hopes when she pushed her daughter off of her and spoke harshly, “The Throne of Kantora is not for you, nor for me, it is for the people of Kantora. The people must have their heroes, they must have Hope. It is done, daughter.” That was the end of the argument, and the last he saw of the Queen, Allegra, and all of his family.
Val hopped off the hay cart and thanked the driver for the ride. He was home. All the time he had spent in Celendine had not made it home. Though there were quite a few memories. In the beginning he had thought of it as his captivity, or his imprisonment. It had felt as much, as the first several months of his stay in the port city was forced labor. Whether it be working on the docks, scrubbing out iron pots, or delivering messages through the dirty streets of Celendine, Uncle Salamon made sure that when Valerian came home he was exhausted. Still the city was so full of life. He discovered music while working in rough taverns. In between sets, he always managed to get the player to teach him a bit. When Uncle Salamon discovered the pastime, he added an enrollment to a bardic school onto the day’s work. It became a reason to get up in the morning.
As a matter of truth, his most pleasant memory of those first months was Uncle Salamon’s secretary, Talynn. When he first met the lithe Eshih, Valerian felt that she was the most beautiful female he had ever seen. It also did not hurt that she was glisteningly naked from her recent bath. Her sparkling green eyes and exotic curved body entranced him from the start. She merely smiled coyly at him, closing the door slowly. As true training began, she was revealed as a skilled thief. Her smiles made Valerian push himself all the further, even as he faltered when she was watching him intently. One day she put her arms around him, Valerian was painfully aware of her breasts pressing against his back. “You’ll never be able to function as a proper thief if you can’t work under distraction,” she whispered breathily into his ear.
Her distraction culminated one day when they were practicing tumbling. Their bodies, loosely dressed for movement, were laden with sweat. Talynn had attempted to guide Valerian’s flip and both had landed on the floor. He landed on top of her, both laughed until Valerian leaned in to kiss her. “Sorry, I’m s…” was all he managed to say before she pushed him to the floor and returned the kiss.
Stepping onto a gondola, Val directed the boatman to a brothel, his memory putting him in the mood for an Eshih maid. It had been about eight years and he learned much from Uncle Salamon. Despite the beginning, he had learned to enjoy being a thief. There was a certain rush of the heart when he was working and the means to his own riches was a thrill as well. He decided never to steal from those who couldn’t afford it, unless they were Guild lackeys. Then he would take them for all they were worth. It was not the life he had ever imagined, but it was his duty to be the Prince of Ravens, lord of the night’s shadows and he would be the greatest of that notorious legacy.
Prince of Ravens
The Immortal Shadow, Thief of Always, Rogue of Romance, the Prince of Ravens holds many names and is many things to different people. The nobility, the guilds and the people of Kantora each have their own impression of the legendary thief. The nobility is split into two opinions. Those who know that the Prince is of their own number see him as a thorn in the side of the Guilds. Although he does not increase the power of the nobility, he does make the Guilds look weak and ineffectual. Usually, it is only the Queen and her most trusted, the Bloodrose Guard, that know of this truth. These trustworthy few often see the position as tragic. For the noble chosen to be the Prince made out to be a black sheep, shunned and estranged by the family proper. The nobility who do not know see the Prince as an embarrassment. They see the rampant theft and protect their own goods and order the Watch to arrest him. Worse, those nobles that have become the willing pawns of the Guilds see him as a threat and seek to assassinate him.
The Guilds have absolutely no love for the Prince of Ravens. Investigations have spanned over several generations of Ravens in an attempt to capture or kill the legend. Rumor has it that the Guilds have a group dedicated to this cause. The Guilds hate him. They hate him for his arrogance to challenge their authority and power. They fear him that he might steal their hoarded wealth or uncover their dark secrets. The Guilds would like nothing better than to reveal his identity and publicly execute him.
The people of Kantora see him as a hero. Many of them live under the harsh yoke of the Guilds. Long work days and strangling dues make living difficult at times. It is the main reason why leisure time is so important to the people. They love to hear songs of the Prince’s exploits. Many plays have been written about him and songs sung about him. Those that paint him as a hero and the Guildmasters as fools are the most popular. In fact, in the few times that the Raven has been caught, his freedom was sometimes won by the intervention by a common citizen. In the streets, boys pretend to be him and girls dream of dating him.
In days gone by, the Guilds, through their economic strength, managed to gain the upper hand in the governing of the lands of Kantora. Over years, they reduced the nobility to mere puppet rulers. Their final stroke was building the massive guild house which placed the throne in its shadow. Only one, the Queen’s brother, acted on his anger. He became the first Prince of Ravens. In the night, he donned the black costume and stole the Guilds’ greatest treasures and exposed their dark dealings. When he became too old to continue, he decided to pass on his mission. Tradition has become that the youngest boy of ruling family is named the Prince of Ravens. This happens in two ways. The first is that the current Prince decides that it is time to retire. He then finds the boy and has the Queen charge him with the duty. He then takes the boy and trains him as a replacement, even taking him on missions. This has given rise to the legends that the Prince can be in two places at once, or that the Prince is really a guild of thieves, not just one man, or even that the Prince can make his shadow move on its own accord. Even in the best of circumstances, several years are needed to train the new Prince. This accounts for some periods of inactivity in the Prince’s actions. The second, more tragic, is when the current Prince dies. In that case, the Prince’s aid, the Keeper of the Rookery, finds the youngest boy and has him brought before the Queen. The amount of training needed for the position, in addition to the lack of an existing Prince, have led to long periods of inactivity. These periods have given hope to the Guilds, who think that they have finally done away with the nuisance. This hope has always proven to be false when the Prince of Ravens becomes active again. The Prince of Ravens has always been aided by House Cannon. The first Prince was from this house and they have vowed to continue the First Raven’s struggle. One of their number, the most loyal, the most trustworthy, becomes the Keeper of the Rookery. He is the one who aids the Prince in all of his endeavors. He is a trainer, a housekeeper, a healer, a confidant, and much more. The current Keeper is Salamon Cannon, often referred as Uncle Salamon. The Rookery is headquarters to the Raven. Hidden by powerful magics, it serves as home to the Prince and his aid. It also serves as a museum, honoring all the deeds performed by the Raven. It holds treasures, diaries, and mementos. Most importantly, it holds the Histories of the Ravens, a ledger on how the Prince is to be trained as well as a code he must follow.
In essence, being the Prince of Ravens means to give dreams. To the people of Kantora, they are dreams of adventure and of romance. They are given hope that even in their strongholds; the guild masters are not comfortable amongst their ill-gotten riches. To the nobility, they are given a dream that the Guilds are not all-powerful that there is someone who can take away from them. To the Guild, they are not dreams, but nightmares. They dream of their wealth being taken away, their power stripped.