The Quest for Shadow Flame
A slave grown to be a warrior, Who was then forged to be a king
Tired and scared, Dirdrik stopped to catch his breath. He didn’t know where he was, where to go or if that dragon-like creature was still following him, but he had done it. Dirdrik had escaped. It only cost him the life of the only caretaker he had ever known.
Dirdrik had lived his whole life as a slave of the Iron Tongue Dwarves in the Grey Witch Morass. Centuries ago, his Great Grandfather Jeromass Lightbeard, after defeating Zith, had started to lose his mind. Mad for blood, he wandered the earth with a few companions who stayed with him out of respect for what he had done, to protect Lightbeard from harming himself or others too much. They wind up near the territory of the Iron Tongues, a clan who had previously spurned Lightbeard’s request for help against the Zithrites. Seizing them, Lightbeard and his troop are pressed into slavery, and there they and their descendants remained.
The descendants of Lightbeard were always proud of their ancestor, but the Iron Tongues only allowed that he was a bloodthirsty madman. Although Lightbeard did regain his senses mostly back towards the end of his life. Dirdrik doesn’t know the details, only that it had something to do with losing his famous sword – Vaelin.
Dirdrik’s parents had an opportunity to escape when he was just a babe. His father, Dorn, had spent many years working on a carving with which he hope to buy his freedom for him and his family. Having finally succeeded crafting his masterwork, he offered it to one of the guards if he would help them escape. The guard agreed. But that night, as they were leaving, Dorn and his family were ambushed by the guard and a couple of his thug friends. In the tussle, Dirdrik was ripped from his mother’s, Delamaka, arms and fell under a pony that was nearby, and was apparently crushed. Grief-stricken, they are taken captive but not before Dorn is able to sequester Dirdrik’s toddler aged brother, Tordak, in a wagon just about to leave for parts unknown. Dorn and Delamaka are taken back and believed to be executed. The babe Dirdrik was found the next morning by Dorn’s brother Dathic, who raised Dirdrik.
Or so Dirdrik has been told. No one is entirely sure what happened, from what they admit. Dathic was not as skilled as Dorn, leading a more rugged lifestyle.
Years later, Dirdrik and his uncle were mucking out the sewage lines outside the gates, supervised by a few guards, when a dozen fierce-looking creatures that look like small dragons appear. The guards, with reinforcements from the gates, begin to battle the creatures. Dirdrik hears them referred to as “Draconians”. Dathic tried to protect himself and Dirdrik, telling him that this may be their chance to escape. Just then, one of those creatures comes near and throws his weapon at Dathic, killing him. Enraged, Dirdrik grabs for the weapon but only breaks of the end and skewers the Draconian through the eye. Suddenly sobered by taking blood, Dirdrik is mourning for his uncle when he notices something that looks particularly interesting on the dead monster. Looking closer, he is holding it in his hand when he hears another suddenly start hissing and spitting and making directly for them, weapon first. Dirdrik turns and runs, with the item still in his hand.
Running for his life, Dirdrik dodges a spear and rocks hurled at him. The monster pursues hotly behind him, running through one canyon after another. Dirdrik does finally manage to lose his pursuer, but gets lost himself. Wandering around for a day and a half, he spies other creatures that makes the hair stand up on the back of his neck.
Eventually Dirdrik wanders into a large, marshy area. He falls into a small pit, and is trying to escape when someone comes up. He is one of the catfolk that Dirdrik would occasionally see, and introduces himself as Brisstle. Brisstle says he is supposed to report all captives, but is considering rescuing Dirdrik as looks sympathetically at Dirdrik and he says he may have a use for him – a way for them both to escape from here. Dirdrik pledges his support but Brisstle is unconvinced until Dirdrik offers the item from the dead draconian as assurance.
Brisstle hides Dirdrik in a particularly thick patch of grass for several hours, until he is able to sneak him in to a hidden chamber. Brisstle wants Dirdrik to decipher the Dwarven runes where there is believed to be an escape route. But Dirdrik cannot read and leads Brisstle on that he is studying them. Brisstle is growing impatient when he gets word that there are several adventurers were taken captive. Dirdrik tells Brisstle that these hidden chambers can be exceedingly dangerous and they could be great allies. Brisstle leaves to spy out the newcomers, leaving Dirdrik sweating, hoping that they can help.
Later, Brisstle comes back huffing and puffing. He makes it into the secret chamber, but they were spotted and the newcomers are fighting it out outside. Brisstle tries unsuccessfully to get safely get their attention. When they had just about given up hope, first the elf then one of the humans come in. The dwarf and the other human were killed. Fortunately for Dirdrik (and everyone else), the human was able to decipher the runes and the elf figured out the puzzle.