The Time of Shadows
On the eastern coast of the realm, there is a small city few know of and even fewer seek to enter. A hidden city called Red Sunder better know as “the city of red chains,” is used mainly as a slaver port. Tallon has many memories there. None of them were fond. He was just a child when he was kidnapped from his home. Being a tiefling slave he was worth a sizable amount of gold. Even so, all his days he were filled with hard labor, little food, yelling, pain, blood and sweat. One day a wealthy noble, a Lord Cannon, was willing to buy Tallon and two others. After paying for Tallon, they were taken by cart to the noble’s estate. When the they arrived, they were taken to a underground holding cell. Tallon’s fellow purchases were taken from the cell after only a few days to fates unknown. When Tallon gathered his courage sufficiently, he asked one of the servants that tended to the cell: “What is to become of me?”. He was informed that Lord Cannon only wanted him as a new play-mate for his spoiled daughter named Diane, and that she would be returning from a holiday within the next week. The servant also added that Tallon should take what enjoyment he could of his remaining days in the cell, because once Diane returned, the time spent here, confined, could very well be considered a happy dream.
In his mind, not much changed from his days in Red Sunder, once he was given to Diane; mainly just the scenery and an increase in his food portions. Diane treated her new play-mate almost as terribly as the slavers had back in Red Sunder. Her family was a major benefactor to Red Sunder and the bloody Terra Clan that ran it. Though as the months went by, Diane’s actions became more friendly towards Tallon. She stopped using him as a horse to ride around the estate. She hardly ever used him as a moving target when she was a playing with her father’s crossbow. And the alchemy she practiced on him was more tame, rather than cruel and acidic. She began to see him a friend. Especially since he was the only one her age to play with.
One day Diane was to travel to Altoor’ Rang for a social event. Tallon was to pose as her servant, but Tallon had other things on his mind. This trip would be taken with minimal men-at-arms from the estate. It would be his chance to escape the hell he had been trapped in. And it seemed fate was on his side. Before they reached the city, bandits attacked their caravan. In the confusion of the battle, Tallon managed to slip away. He ran as fast as he could towards the nearest town. But his race to freedom was brought up short when he heard the screams of Diane. Mixed emotions whirled inside him. Does he keep running, leaving her to her fate? Or does he save her, knowing that to do so would more than likely lead to his continued mistreatment and suffering. He thought about how over the years, she had become less like a tyrannical master and more like an uncertain friend. Tallon mutters under his breath, “…damn conscience…” and runs back. Not even Diane deserved to die so young. He made it back to find all the guards dead and Diane huddled in the carriage, filled with fear as the last two bandits closed in. Tallon ran towards the bandits, scooping up a short sword near a fallen guard and then ran it through the back of one of the bandits. It pierced his heart and he feel over dead. The last bandit backhanded Tallon as he struggled to pull the sword from the dead bandit. Dazed from the blow, he found himself on the ground and attempted to stand. The bandit began to beat and slash Tallon into the ground but each time the bandit thought Tallon finished, he started to stand up. Diane was surprised that Tallon had returned to save her at all. Diane shouted at him that he was not allowed to die. Tallon was surprised at her words, he had never had anyone care about his well being before. He could barely move from the bandit’s last assault and it took all his strength to stand and lift his head so he could meet her eyes. She was crying, telling him he was an idiot to come back for her. He was able to let out a single chuckle- he was more used to those words from Diane; before the bandit’s final blow came. Tallon fell to his knees with the blade still in him. The bandit turned and started to walk back towards Diane. As the darkness came over his eyes, the only thing he thoughts he had were not of his freedom and life being snatched away, but of protecting Diane. Suddenly there was a surge of strength that came over him and woke from his darkness. Tallon saw a scimitar that a guard had lying on the ground and pick it up; he pulled out the sword the bandit had left in his chest and the wound it had made healed itself. Tallon threw the sword at the bandit to have it pierce his back. Not a fatal wound, but got his attention. As the bandit turned in pain he saw a charging Tallon coming at him with the scimitar blade held low. Tallon crashed into the bandit and gutted him in a single blow. As soon as the bandit’s life faded away, so did Tallon’s new found strength. Tallon was surprise at what he did. He never new he had such power. But Tallon’s happiness over his victory had turn to fear when he noticed what the bandits were wearing. They all had the Terra Clan’s emblem. After searching the bandits bodies, Tallon found a written order to capture Diane and kill all who accompanied her. It was signed by the head of the Terra Clan and countersigned by Diane’s own father. Tallon showed the note to Diane and told her they must run.
Altoor’ Rang would be where the Terra Clan would look for her first, so they headed south. On their journey, they ran into a cleric who was returning to his church. Diane pronounced that they would travel with him, in which he smiled slightly and agreed if they would only explain why they looked so battered and splattered in blood. Diane & Tallon told him their story as they traveled. The cleric was greatly moved by their plight and told them that he would help to find a safe haven for Diane. The cleric’s name was Emale Kopaka, he was the head cleric of this church in service to the Goddess Avandra. Emale told them that there was a church in South Port that could grant Diane safe haven. Emale asked Tallon what he planned to do. Tallon told him he would go with Diane to watch over her. Diane didn’t want his pity and released him from servitude to her and her family and said he could do whatever he liked. But still he repeated his decision to follow and protect her. Diane was his only friend and wanted to make sure she did not go through what he had. Emale told Tallon he would have to become much stronger then he was now if he wanted to protect her. Emale told him he would need a teacher to show him how to fight properly, and that he knew just the person. He told Tallon that after they reach the Temple in South Port there would be a man named Stark that can teach him to fight. Tallon agreed to the offer. Emale asked that two paladins from his church accompany him and the children during the trek down to South Port.