During a time of distress, Kadrus conveyed a story to Kumiko
that hinted at their origin.
"This is a story about a gnome, curious about the ways of the world as is their way. He stood on the shoulders of giants, raised high by mighty adventurers that he was fortunate enough to call a friend. Some tried to teach him the ways of warfare, but he was never a militant type. He knew he could never stare something in the eye while he took its life and felt its blood spill onto his hands."
"Magic, though, the gnome did seem to have an affinity for. Magic and a hunger for knowledge. He discovered a love of history, ancient relics, and the mysteries they locked away. He had actually considered joining the Pathfinder Society when he met some people who he thought shared his interests in Thassalonian lore. They were searching for artifacts, and the gnome wanted to help. To learn."
"One night, the gnome and his new friends were sitting around a table in a tavern in Magnimar, discussing the history of a particular item of great power. It was an item of legend, one of the rare aeon runestones, and one of the gnome's traveling companions mentioned the name of an elf that had written one of the only surviving texts about the runestone. The traveling companion suspected that perhaps the item was real, and its location lay within the pages of the text. As luck would have it, I knew the book that the elf had written. And I knew someone who had it in their library collection."
"Before my eyes, I saw his expression change to one I had never seen on his face before. A desperate hunger, like someone dying of thirst and being offered a full waterskin. It was a subtle look, but it was so strange to see it on his face that I regretted saying anything at all. My traveling companion inquired as to the location of the owner. I explained that the book was so old that reproducing it was next to impossible. The owner would not part with the book. My traveling companion told me, matter-of-factly, that they would simply kill the owner and take the book if it came to it."
Kadrus hesitated and took another drink. "I had to leave. The look in his eyes was so frightening to me that I dared not stay. I apologized, saying that the book would do them no good so there was no point in discussing matters further. I got out of my chair and walked out of the tavern."
Kadrus picked up the glass, hands visibly trembling, then sets the glass down. "I had no idea where I was going, just that I needed to get away from them. But he had no intention of letting me leave. I saw his shadow fall over me, and when I turned around Roglas struck me. I've been beaten before. Many times. I've been beaten and left for dead. But that single blow felt like it knocked the soul out of me. I could... see myself as if I was outside my body. And when he brought down his axe, I watched my body being carved almost completely in half. I didn't feel pain. Just cold, and an odd sense of relief that they'd never get the book now. Then nothing."
"The first thing I smelled was lilacs. I couldn't see anything, but as soon as I tried to move I heard a woman's voice. It was firm, yet reassuring. She told me that I was safe, I was well, but I had suffered a terrible injury and that I had to remain calm. She had a cloth over my eyes. She told me that she found me in a garbage wagon covered in filth. She had been looking for me and found me there. I asked if I knew her and she told me it wasn't important. However, to return me to the land of the living she had used her druidic magic to restore me. I wasn't the gnome I was before. Through reincarnation magic she had brought me back." Kadrus looked at them. "As this."
"She told me that I had a fresh start. A new life. But I knew Roglas had to be stopped. I spent weeks trying to find where my former traveling companions were, but all I could find were Roglas and Sereg. The others in the party were gone, and I never learned what happened to them. I put the word out that I was looking for explorers of Thassalonian relics. Roglas found me, and it was only through alchemical measures that I was able to even be in the same room as him."
"As much as I hated him, my fear kept me from killing him. Sereg always had an eye on me, so I could not let him be killed through my neglect. I played my part, and we discovered the shard of pride. This became Roglas' focus - finding the other shards. I knew if he wanted it, I could not let it happen. Over time I discovered that he was working for someone and was acting under their orders. It didn't matter. He had to be stopped, but I could not do it."
"Enter the Saviors of Sandpoint. When our paths crossed, I knew fate had brought us together. I saw your potential. I heard how you turned back the goblins in Sandpoint. I thought that you could do what I could not. So I stole the satchel from Roglas, knowing the shard was inside. I knew he would come for it and hoped you would not let him have it. If you had decided to hand it over, well..." Kadrus drinks the drink. "We wouldn't be having this conversation. I would be dead again, and you would have an open seat before you."
"I used you because I could not face my fear," Kadrus confessed. "And for that, I am so very sorry."
Kadrus was born to Loriana
and Lasdolon Stormblade.
Lasdolon was an elven adventurer-turned-General in the Kyonin army who turned to sources both dire and vile in his search for a solution to the age-long war against the Drow
hidden deep underground. His faith in the crown was already faltering due to the perception of his people's reticence to utilize all the tools at one’s disposal to solve a problem.
Loriana, a cleric of Desna, tried to temper her husband's frustration with patience and understanding. She knew her husband only wanted what was best for their people and his family. Lasdolon was devoted to his people but loved his wife and child. Loriana knew that few things touched her husband's heart and worked to temper his rage against those who would try and take those things away from him.
As devoted as their parents were to the defence of Kyonin
, Kadrus did not have the constitution for the military. But Lasdolon and Loriana had hope for their child. Both were involved in fighting the drow and hoped Kadrus would one day join Queen Telandia
's military might.
Kadrus seemed to have an unnatural aptitude for magic, able to shape it beyond normal wizardry limits from an early age. They were able to shape the magic into healing like their mother. "Shaped by love," Loriana would say with a smile. Lasdolon saw his child's potential in the military and encouraged them to continue to study and train. "One day, you will protect your people as we do," Lasdolon told them. "Always be as prepared as you can be."
While Kadrus did not entirely share their parents' desire for war, they did share Lasdolon's love of adventure. He would tell young Kadrus bedtime stories about his many antics - dangerous escapes from long-forgotten tombs, fighting undead warriors, and discovering strange and new magical baubles. Before committing to aiding the elves in their fight against the drow, Kadrus wanted to prove themself to their stern father. Lasdolon told Kadrus of a staff deep beneath Kaer Maga
rumoured to be a powerful artifact. However, only someone steeped in arcane mastery could wield such an item. Lasdolon believed Kadrus was such a mage, and if his child wanted to become a great adventurer, this would be a good place to start.
After Lasdolon and Loriana went off on a military operation in the Darklands
, Kadrus departed on their own operation. Kadrus led the party to Kaer Maga with four other elves and spoke with a Duskwarden that had once been Lasdolon's ally. The Duskwarden led them to a bloatmage named Deitrich Millheart
. Deitrich had an old map of a crypt deep below the ossuary that he could not reach. This crypt held the staff that Kadrus hoped to retrieve. The bloatmage was in debt to Lasdolon and agreed to part with the map to settle that debt.
The map led Kadrus through the pathways off the Halflight Path beneath Kaer Maga. Those pathways were protected by guardians who were determined not to let anyone near the crypt. The party fought through those subterranean corridors and lost two of its members. The surviving three made it to the crypt. A spirit within the crypt possessed one of them and drained his life to gain the strength to speak. The spirit was old, an apprentice of Runelord Karzoug
, sent here to die because he stole spells from the runelord of greed. He said Karzoug was working with chronomancy and had started to build something to travel through time with the help of some otherworldly allies.
As a student of magic, Kadrus thought it was brilliant. Powerful magic that could be used to travel in time. If Kadrus could master such a power, they could go back in time and stop the drow from ever coming into existence. The eternal war could be stopped before it even started.
Kadrus asked Alaire to teach them the ways of chronomancy magic. Such magic was unheard of in the present, and losing it would be a crime. Alaire agreed and created a pocket of time where Alaire could teach Kadrus the rudimentary basics of chronomancy. To Charis
, Kadrus' fellow survivor, an hour had passed. For Kadrus and Alaire, it was decades. When the training was complete, Kadrus was rewarded with the staff and the knowledge of how to use the magic he had learned.
On their way back through the tunnels to Kaer Maga, Kadrus and Charis were ambushed by drow mercenaries. Deitrich, who was working with the drow, had set them up. Deitrich felt betrayed by Lasdolon, who had beaten him for trying to steal a magic ring for himself. Lasdolon threatened to kill the bloatmage if he ever saw him again. Deitrich dared not move against Lasdolon, and now fate delivered the next best thing. Kadrus and his friend would never see sunlight again. They would suffer in darkness before being allowed to die.
That was all Charis needed to hear. He struck Kadrus from behind, knocking them into the drow before fleeing. Several drow gave chase, but Charis managed to escape. Kadrus was not so lucky. The drow mercenaries confessed they knew who Lasdolon was and decided to vent their frustration on his child. They tortured and abused Kadrus in all sorts of ways for months. They would heal the mage, and then once Kadrus had regained their strength, the torture would continue.
During that time, Kadrus was dragged from his cell and brought into a room where Deitrich and the drow hosted a celebration. Deitrich told Kadrus that their parents had been involved in an attack on a temple of Abraxas where drow refugees had barricaded themselves. Only a handful of brave drow warriors remained alive to protect them against the overwhelming number of elven invaders. Loriana had been struck by one of these brave warriors with an arrow tipped with a powerful demonic poison. Lasdolon had ordered his men to wipe out the drow within the temple and return with the antidote. The drow were heavily entrenched, and the cowardly elven soldiers quickly realized they were being ordered to commit suicide. With his wife writing in agony, begging Desna to help her, Lasdolon struck down several of his men who tried to retreat. But retreat they did once Lasdolon had been restrained. The Darklands echoed with their mother's dying screams, and their father could do nothing about it.
One of the drow mercenaries partaking in the celebration had been there when Loriana was poisoned. Her deformation destroyed most of her possession, but he salvaged one thing before the elves returned to retrieve her corpse - a magical snow globe. Deitrich bragged that he paid a great deal of gold for that trophy. Kadrus had been unwilling to believe the story until they saw the snow globe.
Torture. Betrayal. Hatred. Revenge. Kadrus may have been frail, but their will to survive was one thing they had inherited from their father. Revenge would keep Kadrus alive.
One day, the bloatmage gloated to Kadrus about the staff Kadrus had recovered for him. Kadrus asked how he liked it. Deitrich was frustrated because he could not get it to work. Kadrus began laughing, calling the bloatmage useless. Deitrich began beating Kadrus with the staff. Kadrus grabbed it, spoke the command word the spirit had told him, and unleashed the staff's power. Kadrus killed the bloatmage and the three drow mercenaries watching the abuse. Kadrus fled before stopping at the bloatmage's home and reclaiming his mother's snow globe.
The Winter Council
After returning from the Darklands and learning his mother's true fate, Kadrus tracked down his aunt Malindil
, who had been arrested and placed in the dungeon for treason. She confessed to having been a member of the Winter Council
along with her brother, Kadrus' father, Lasdolon Stormrage. She told him to travel to their fortress in Thorn's End
, where Lasdolon had his notes.
The Lantern Bearers
had reclaimed Thorn's End and driven off the demons. When they first arrived, none of the Winter Council remained. So they reinforced the keep and restocked the outpost. They were apprehensive when Kadrus arrived but welcomed the mage nonetheless. However, one of the Lantern Bearers was still in contact with Winter Council member Perelir
and sent word that the son of Lasdolon was there.
came to the fortress to bring the boy back to the new Winter Council home and explain what had happened. Villastir gave Lasdolon's notes to Kadrus. Kadrus was disturbed by what they read but became interested in the Eye of the Abyss
that kept coming up in their father's notes. Villastir told Kadrus that the Winter Council wanted what was best for the elves, and what the Queen was doing would undo everything those before her had sacrificed. Kadrus wasn't about elven superiority since they felt many of their people had looked down on them but politely humoured Villastir's rantings.
However, when Kadrus learned about Villastir's notes on chronomancy, they thought back to their plan of stopping the drow. Kadrus stole a spellbook from Villastir to try and harness the magic they needed to travel back in time. They then fled.
Lord Villastir learned of the theft and sent the Lantern Bearers to track down Kadrus. Before they could be caught, Kadrus sent the book to Sandpoint
, a place they saw they would be in the future. The book had protective magic to prevent anyone from scrying on its location. Kadrus was sure the book would be safe until they could get to it.
The Winter Council caught Kadrus, but they dared not kill the mage. There were whispers that Lasdolon had been killed, but details of his death were vague. Villastir and the others dared not risk the wrath of Lasdolon. Villastir was not concerned about his spellbook as he knew it would come back to Kadrus eventually, and it was filled with incomplete spells. A worthless trinket.
Kadrus was mind-wiped with a Modify Memory
spell. They were given a new backstory where they originally were a gnome and had no association with Kyonin. This would keep Kadrus from contacting their father and from ever returning to Kyonin. Kadrus would be used as bait until Lasdolon appeared.
Villastir hired an orc mercenary he had used in the past for more "unsavoury work" named Roglas Gorestorm
. Roglas was placed in charge of Kadrus. The elf was a mage that could also heal. To Roglas, this was a tool worth using. Despite the modified memory, Kadrus still retained their knowledge of Thassalonian history. Roglas built an adventuring party to take advantage of that knowledge, wanting to make money while waiting for Lasdolon to arrive.
The Warbound was a formidable force and soon became a wealthy one. Roglas obtained a contract for them to track down powerful magical Thassalonian artifacts. Kadrus was intrigued by the contract and the mysterious party who had given them the contract.
In their travels, Kadrus learned of an expert in Thassalonian history - Brodert Quink
, a scholar living in Sandpoint
. They would find out if Brodert knew anything that could prove valuable. Brodert did have some knowledge and was willing to share if the Warbound would retrieve his daughter and idiot son-in-law from whatever foolish scheme that had befallen them. The job seemed simple enough, so Roglas had Kadrus stay behind with Brodert and start researching while they retrieved the scholar's kin.
While at Brodert's, Kadrus met another group of adventurers - the Saviors of Sandpoint
. They also had encountered some Thassalonian items, and Kadrus began to wonder if this region bore important fruit. Plus, they seemed nicer than the Warbound. Kadrus aided the Saviors by providing insight into some ancient Thassalonian ruins beneath the sleepy town.
The Warbound returned with Brodert’s niece. Her husband was turned and corrupted, so he was put down. Brodert's niece was upset by this. Roglas privately admitted that they hadn’t tried too hard to restrain the husband despite knowing powers beyond his control had influenced him.
Kadrus told Roglas that they, along with the Saviors of Sandpoint, had found a runelord statue and that there may be a temple of some sort beneath the town's glassworks factory. Brodert wanted to see for himself. Roglas offered to have the Warbound clear the catacombs first, but Kadrus said the Saviors had already cleared the place.
Roglas went behind Brodert's house. Kadrus watched through a window as Roglas produced three small ioun stones. They orbited around the orc’s head, settling in a triangular pattern before his face. The image of the stone giant Mokmurian
appeared between them. Kadrus heard Roglas tell Mokmurian that the Warbound had been the one who found the statue. Mokmurian said, “Good work. I knew I was right to send you. Keep looking and keep me informed.”
Kadrus felt frustrated. Mokmurian seemed to have a great deal of knowledge about Thassalonian artifacts, and for reasons they could not explain, Kadrus wanted to find those items too. But they would never get close to Mokmurian unless they could produce a discovery that would interest the stone giant and be the one to present it to him.
There was only one thing to do. Kadrus saw Roglas set down his “go-bag” with the ioun stones and stole it. Brodert had mentioned that Thistletop produced Thassalonian items before the goblins moved in. Kadrus took a chance and left to find the Saviors of Sandpoint, who had gone to Thistletop, hoping to find something to present to Mokmurian.
The Warbound tracked Kadrus to Thistletop and demanded the Saviors of Sandpoint hand over Kadrus and the bag of stolen items. Instead, the heroes chose to defend their new ally. After multiple encounters, the Warbound was defeated, with most members scattering to the winds. Roglas, however, would not flee and was killed by the Saviors.
From Memory to Reality
Queen Telandia Edasseril learned that Kadrus was alive and sent for him. She didn't want to push when Kadrus didn't know who they were. Given the trauma the mage endured, she gave Kadrus time. Villastir discovered the mage had returned to Iadara
and appeared before them. Villastir breathed a sigh of relief when Kadrus didn't recognize him. Villastir offered Kadrus a ride back to their friends and gladly teleported them away.
The con was up. The Queen knew Kadrus was alive, and it was only a matter of time before she discovered what had been done to them. Villastir planned to bring Kadrus back to the Winter Council, restore most of their memory, and offer to help the young mage achieve their goal. Villastir appeared before Kadrus and offered to tell them the truth about their life, but Kadrus didn't want to know. They liked who they were now. Villastir took the choice out of the mage's hands and caught Kadrus in combat at Skull's Crossing. He forced the mage away with a Baleful Teleport.
Back at the compound, Villastir restored most of the memories taken, omitting Kadrus' theft of the notes from the Winter Council. Kadrus knew who they were and who their parents were. They also felt they didn't trust the Winter Council but could not remember why. Kadrus would use the Council as best they could.
Kadrus developed a pair of Speaking Stones. Each stone could send and receive a message of up to 25 words regardless of distance. He fashioned them into earrings so the message could be sent and received quietly. Kadrus would wear one and give the other to Kumiko to wear. If she ever needed them, she could send a message of up to 25 words, and Kadrus would hear it.
Villastir told Kadrus about Lasdolon's past with the Akashic Brotherhood
and all the good work he had done for the Council. He confessed that Lasdolon had left the Council under unfortunate yet understandable circumstances. He was frustrated with grief and wanted revenge against the drow by whatever means necessary. When he left, he had taken important magical items with him. Sadly, Lasdolon was killed in the Darklands and his body was never retrieved. But, perhaps, if Kadrus was willing to train with the Akashic Brotherhood, there could be a way for Kadrus to reach out to their father and return the items that had been taken. Villastir hoped the powerful magic had not fallen into drow hands.
Through their interactions with the Saviors of Sandpoint, Kadrus was learning how to trust. Kumiko
had been given Loriana's snow globe to display that trust. But there was something about what Villastir was asking that made Kadrus feel like they were being used again. There was very little trust there. Still, Kadrus would use this opportunity to speak to their father.
Surprisingly, the training was similar to the previous chronomancy training Kadrus had received. They contacted the Akashic Record
, hoping to reach Lasdolon. Through Villastir's guidance, Kadrus discovered a ritual that could be used to speak to Lasdolon. It would take two powerful spellcasters to perform the ritual, and Lord Villastir planned to be the one to perform the ritual with Kadrus.