Bralm Battlehammer Backstory
It would be my last winter in the Mirabar Peaks located in the Spine of the World, the home of my people. It was the coldest winter I can remember. So much snow, wind, and ice it seemed the sun itself had abandoned us, showing itself for a few fleeting moments in the morning hours, only to be masked by the dark clouds that seemed everpresent.
But it would not be the cold that drove me from my home. It would not be the cold that sent my people fleeing into the caves where only death and starvation awaited. No, it would be the cowardly evil that slithered into our homes on the coldest nights. The shadows in the blowing snowthose shadows that played tricks with our minds. They danced in the flickering torchlight, escaping our gaze just as we would look their way. They would howl in the night when the wind was the battering our homes. They never showed their ugly faces for they knew we would fight them where they stood, even if it was certain death. Instead, they taunted usteasing our senses, leaving us to fill in the detailsto our own nightmarish imaginations.
They delighted in our torment. Driving us to insanity. To turning on each other. They knew we were counting the days of winter, praying the sun would visit us, if only for a brief reprieve. When the cold and death were not enough, they danced to the sounds of our crying stomachs. Our hunters scoured the land for food—-most never to return—-doomed to the same fate as those that were taken from their beds at night.
They never touched the children. At first we thought it was a merciful act. How wrong we were. They knew we would soon realize the fate that awaited our children. That they would be alone and helpless and that we were doomed to live our final days with that knowledge. It was the worst.
Many of us stood in the night, screaming into the wind demanding our challenge be met in battle. They never showed. Cowards! Damned cowards!
For all the hatred I had for these demons of winter, I had started to despise my own god more. Where was he? We were a devoted people, never failing in doing our god’s will. But he was no where to be found. Perhaps we had offended him? Perhaps he didn’t exist. Bah, I no longer care.
The Elders decided our only refuge would be the caves to the north. Some wanted to take the trade passes down to the foothills, but that would have been folly. Several had tried to make the journey only to be found along the trail the contorted look of horror frozen on their face. No, we would “wait it out” in the caves. Short on food and insane with fear and anger, we were doomed.
I would not sit and watch my people die. Nay, I would choose my own path. That night I decided some other power was at workand it was not my deity. When I fell asleep that night, I had a dream. A profound dream. A servant of my God came to me. The one true God—-the God of creation. He told me the pass would be safe that night. He told me the children would follow. He told me not to bring the others. I snapped awake in a cold sweat. It was so real. I fought with myself over what to do next, but in my heart I knew what I had to do. That night I gathered the children. Just as the servant had said, I was not stopped. The children followed. It was as though they knew. We departed without a whisper.
The pass was clear that night, absent of the evil that plagued us and we moved without fear. My faith had strengthened. Whatever god it was that we worshiped before, he was not the One. I was finding my true God.
We arrived in the foothills two days later, exhausted and cold. Alive. Some of the children were very sick. I took the them to the church. They would be fine now. I, however, was just beginning my journey. I had to know more about my God. Who was he? Why did he choose me? And what would he have me do to avenge my people? How was it I gave up so easily on my people and their ways so moved in an evening of despair? That night I slept longer than I had in 3 full moons. When I awoke, there was clarity. My questions were not answered, but I knew that I needed to head south to find my answers. I would depart later that day.
My travels would take me through many cities and villages, down many roads. And somehow I knew that everything that would happen along the way would be guided by a power far beyond my understanding. I was unafraid and full of faith. I would pray each day for guidance, confident I would receive it.
Today, I found myself on the Kings road, heading for the fair town of Vergwild. One of the first stops in my long journey. The memory of my people still haunts me. My desire for vengeance is still strong. Patience. I have much to learn before I am strong enough to confront the winter demons. In due time …
After Bralm’s remarkable march to lead his Clan’s children to safety at the church in the foothills of Mirabar Peaks, he met a High Priest named Marlah. She is a scholar and part-time information collector, studying the history and current activities of various demon and death cults.
According to Marlah’s sources, witnesses saw a small group of death cultists traveling toward Vergwild more than a year ago. She has since learned that the head of this group is a dangerous and twisted priest named Kalarel (she notes that this information was gained at tremendous cost to the church—-the lives of loyal church members have been lost in anti-cult spying and information gathering).
Marlah fears that Kalarel has set up a secret cult in the area and is conducting unholy ceremonies of some sort. When she becomes aware of Bralm’s skills and intentions, she tells him that it would be a great and honorable service to the church if he could determine if there is any death cult activity near Vergwild, and if so, to stamp it out.
Upon learning that his own father had been kidnapped and taken in chains down into the Underdark to the Grimmerzhul fortress, only to end up in the Well of Demons; and that Bralm had actually been so close to finding him but didn’t even know it at the time:
My father? He’s alive? How could it be?
Many years ago, he was more than my father. He was one of the town elders and a fearless leader. Stout, strong and full of vigor. That all changed when the night howlers came. Not at first—he met the challenge head on, leading the first expeditions out into the wild, hoping to track down the aberrations and put an end to their torment.
In time, his hope diminished. His fight left him. Overnight, it seemed, I hardly recognized him: hallowed, worn, defeated and afraid. He started mumbling and rarely slept. He spoke of past deeds and debts owed. He seemed to believe that he somehow brought the evil onto our small village in the Miribar peaks. Others started to believe it too.
A month before I left, he led his last expedition into the wild. He never returned. Some claim he fled. Others, assumed he suffered the same fate as the rest. I never knew … until now.