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Druvvaldis

Written by KoshcheiBessmertnyi

Druvvaldis is a middle-aged man of average height, on the thin side, with striking grey eyes, and shockingly white hair. He is a quiet and intense man, whose brooding may conceal thoughts of violent revenge against those who have wronged him.   He is the lone survivor of an isolated Galindy tribe that got wiped out by the Knights of Ritterheim when he was a young teen. The tribe lived on a remote wooded island that remained an important cultic center of the Old Faith, though it had fallen into disuse after the Knights began to establish their dominion along the coast of the Western Sea. The old priesthood that tended to the idols had long vanished, and the people kept the old ways as best they could remember. Still, the Knights had sworn to wipe out every last trace of heathen ways, and one day, they landed on the island, and put the god-pillars, the temple, and the outlying village to the torch and the sword. Druvvaldis attempted to flee, but was cut down. As he lay dying, he lost consciousness. The next thing he knew, an old man, dressed like one of the priests, was bending over him, muttering an incantation. Druvvaldis lost consciousness again, and when he awoke again, the village was empty, smelling only of smoke. His family, the knights, and the old man were gone, but countless spirits of the dead, whom he could now hear, screamed out their vengeance into the night sky. A black raven pecked at the ground by his side. A strange sensation told him that raven was an emissary from a world beyond life and death. He didn't know if he had been saved, or cursed.   When he was strong enough to walk, Druvvaldis followed the raven, and made his way to the mainland. It said nothing, but pressed him ever to keep moving. Not knowing where to go, Druvvaldis made his way to the city of Laima. It was now the capital of the powerful Grand Principality of Galinda - the last remaining heathen stronghold, and it shared the name of a goddess venerated by his tribe. But even here, he felt oppressed by the size of the city. One night, one of the ancestors came to him in a dream, and told him to seek out a place in the east called the Crows' Meadow. His fate, and fortune, awaited him there. In the morning, the raven pressed him to keep moving.   Druvvaldis walked for hundreds of versts. There were many places that seemed to fit the description of a crow’s meadow along the way. But after he stopped to investigate, it always seemed that there was nothing significant about them. And after a time, the raven urged him onward once more.   The area Druvvaldis had wandered into was populated by a people who spoke a different language. Their religion was a salvation cult that shared something with that of the Knights, but it seemed less aggressive, at least some of the time. Durvvaldis found that under the official veneer, the people actually shared many of the customs of his people. Most of them had forgotten the names of the old gods, but they still performed rituals that venerated them without fully knowing why. They also knew that the minor spirits of the woods and streams and meadows had not gone away, regardless of what their priests said, and propitiating them was a matter of survival. He found a common language with these people, and began to feel that perhaps something of the old ways was still alive among them.   Finally, he arrived in the environs of the meadow toward which his raven had been pushing him. Here, he met a band of people who were searching the meadow for some treasure that had been buried there by a nechist' creature that turned out to be the deceased mother of one of the group's members - a changeling called Plamen. Druvvaldis, driven to find distant abodes of various spirits, had no use for treasure, but another of the group's members - Chonkorchuk - apparently served a crone named Baba Yaga, who would hand them the keys to the Otherworld if they continued this mission. Despite his disdain for Lionia the Red - the most materialistic member of the group, Druvvaldis joined it.   He subsequently helped the group to fight off numerous skeleton guards, and find the treasure. Underground, he learned to manipulate different spirits, and to get his familiar to assume multiple forms - a giant glowing beetle, a dog, a donkey, or a deer. After the treasure was divided, and carried out of the warren, Druvvaldis was attacked by Lionia, who took his share of the treasure but did not kill him. Chonkorchuk and Plamen found the unconscious Druvvaldis, and revived him, and then took him to meet Baba Yaga. Druvvaldis engaged the crone, and told him of his homeland. In exchange for helping her recover her treasure, he asked her to help him to defeat the knights who had destroyed his home. The crone gave vague promises to this effect, if Druvvaldis helped his companions to complete their mission.   Subsequently, Druvvaldis helped to capture Vasya Toptygin from Radei Smuggler ring, to initiate Katarina Borisovna into the service of Baba Yaga, and to help her flee to the Otherworld past Zhitko the Smith, who turned into a fire-breathing serpent. Once in the Otherworld, Druvvaldis was soon captured (with most of his companions) by several Ritterheim Knights - his mortal enemies. The Knights sought to find their way to Baba Yaga's realm, so they could force the companions to serve her in exchange for horses from her herd, which the Knights would then take. The Knights made the party build them a bridge across the River of Fire, and then destroyed it, leaving the party behind, but through strenuous effort, Druvvaldis' companions rebuilt the rope bridge, and tracked down the Knights. In the ensuing confrontation, Druvvaldis' dog managed to kill (or seriously hurt) their priest, Father Sigismund, though his body was then spirited away by the Knights' leader, Andreas von Drachenberg.   The party then found their way to Baba Yaga's compound, and met the crone once again. Though she did not seem terribly concerned with the close proximity of the Knights, she nevertheless took Druvvaldis in her mortar the next day, possibly to hunt them down, possibly to look in on what was now happening in his homeland. Whatever the case, Druvvaldis never returned to the hut.   His current location is unknown.

Species
Human
Ethnicity
Galindy
Year of Birth
6795
Eyes
Pale gray
Hair
White
Height
5'8"
Weight
127 lbs.

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