A dying villager enters a temple of Helm mumbling about a family carrying out evil rituals on the villagers that are within the lands they control. The man dies before he can give any more details, but upon readying the body for burial a priest noticed infernal markings had been cut into his skin. Investigations into the markings lead to the grim conclusion that somebody is making human sacrifices to demons.
The temple hierarchy met and messengers soon leave the temple to seek out and ask for Paladins to visit the lands owned by several wealthy Trigean families, to carry out discreet investigations to see if the mumblings and markings contained any truth.
Reports came back that while there were some minor corruptions routed out, noting that nothing needed the intervention of the church. Some reports even went on to say how well the people and the land were looked after. However, one of those reports signed by a paladin named Guildan was deemed to be a complete fabrication, as it was a marked difference from previous reports, and so most of the report was stricken from the records by the ministerial departments gathering the notes.
One of the Temple hierarchy was not so quick to dismiss the Paladin's initial report, and so investigated further to find a completely different story unfold to what the reports implied.
After receiving the instructions to investigate the local noble families, Guildan first decided to pay a visit to the home of Lord Ricardo Trigean whom lived a few days to the east. After traveling a couple of days Sir Guildan heard a commotion in the woods just to the side of the road. Deciding to investigate Guildan approaches the source of the noise. Up ahead in a small clearing he can see three men in the livery of the Trigean family surrounding a man on his hands and knees while a fourth man, in more richly looking dress, raise’s his leg to kick the man on the floor.
Without thinking about it Guildan Shouts “don’t you think he’s had enough?” the man pauses with his foot in the air, and nods his head. At the signal, two of the men draw their swords and advance on the paladin. Guildan faints towards the man on his left, takes a sword blow to his shield from the man on his right, and retaliates with a slash that opens the soldiers stomach up and spills his intestines on the floor. As the soldier drops to the floor dying, Guildan manages to get his sword around to parry an incoming strike from the soldier on his left. Using the man’s momentum against him, Guildan Kicks at his knee and the man goes down screaming as his leg folds in its new unnatural direction.
Guildan Brings his attention back to the other 3 men. The Lord and the remaining Soldier had started towards the paladin while he was occupied by the first two and are almost upon him, but the forgotten man on the floor lunges at the Soldier and while he barely touches man, the soldier goes down as if poleaxed. Guildan reacts first to the surprise and runs the lord through his chest piercing his heart and killing him before he can react.
Guildan Gets his first look at the man from the floor and as he picks himself up off the floor, Guildan can see that for all that the man is at least 6-foot-tall, he still has the boyish looks that mark him as a teenager. “thank you for saving me from my uncle’s wrath, I fear that this time he meant to kill me” before Guildan Can ask, the youngster continues “please you should leave these lands before my Father finds out what you have done, for he will stop at nothing to get his vengeance upon you when once he finds out…. and he will find out!” and with that the youngster runs off.
After the encounter it is late by the time Guildan reach’s the village that sits in the shadow of Castle Trigean, home of Lord Trigean. Guildan Decides to stop for the night rather than intrude at the castle at this late hour. Upon entering the village Guildan goes straight to the small chapel and speaks with the village priest about How Lord Trigean treats his people. The fatherly priest speaks good words about the family and in particular about how merciful Lord Trigean is.
Feeling grateful for the positive information, but mindful of the encounter in the woods, Guildan leaves the priest in the chapel and retires to the village inn for the night. The priest watches the paladin as he settled his horse for the night in the inn’s stable. As Guildan enters the inn, the priest retreats to his private quarters and goes to the cabinet at the back of his bedroom. He mutters a few words under his breath and the cabinet, along with a section of wall move to reveal a secret room. The priest crosses the threshold into the secret room and moves towards the table along the far wall. On the table is a crystal which he picks up, and saying a few words of magic he throws the crystal up into the air. At the apex the crystal shatters and a small winged demon appears “Go tell our master that a paladin is in the village asking questions about him” with that the demon flies out of the concealed window.
Sir Guildan speaks to the innkeeper asking for a room for the night and a meal to be brought over, with a glass of wine to go with it. Guildan notices the glances that are thrown his way when the local’s think he is not looking, but he puts this down to the fact that they probably don’t get many paladins in this area, nor half-elves either for that matter, it’s always the same in these quaint little villages. After a few more glasses of wine, Guildan retires to his room and promptly falls asleep.
In the early hours of the morning Guildan wakes up and rolls off his bed to the right in a practiced move as a club hits the pillow were his head was. In the blink of an eye as he grabs his sword, Guildan notices that there are 4 other assailants in the room along with the one whom had just brained his pillow. Guildan thrusts his sword to the left, stabbing the pillow basher through the throat, before reversing the sword to bring it in front of his head to block a club, leaving a deep gash in the arm holding it.
A 3rd club smashes into his ribs as he ducks yet another strike. Grunting from the pain in his ribs Guildan grabs the arm of the 3rd club holder and pulls him onto the blade of his sword running him through. The fifth assailant jumps across the bed and grabs hold of Guildan, and before he can react a club smashes down on Gildan’s head causing an explosion of stars before his eyes and then blackness as another blow lands.
Days pass in an unending agony as Guildan Is tortured almost to death only to be healed and tortured again. Guildan overhears how the Lord will have his vengeance, how he will soon be marked and then sacrificed, how the blood of a paladin will enable them to summon far more powerful demons then previous sacrifices. In a few moments of lucidity, he thinks he sees the youngster form the woods, in the shadows of the dungeon, looking on with what could be pity or shame but when he glances up again the person is gone, and then the pain comes again.
A small click, mumbling, then nothing. A slight shuffle, possibly a breeze as somebody moves close Guildan look’s up slowly to see the youngster from an age ago looking at him. The youngster appears even younger this close and looks both scared and sad. “They made me heal you so you didn’t die, I’m sorry I couldn’t do more” whispers the youngster. “Are you a real paladin?” the youngster continues when Guildan nod’s an affirmative “I hate it here, if I help you escape do you promise to take me with you?” As Guildan finishes his promise, the youngster utters what sounds like a pray to Helm and Guildan feels the miraculous healing of a priest blessed by his god. The youngster nods his head, as if apricating his work, then turns towards the door, “wait here, I’ll be back” the youngster whispers to Guildan, who shoots an incredulous look at the youngster’s back and then at his manacled hands, even as the young “priest” disappears out the dungeon door.
A short time passes and Guildan hears what sounds like a sack hitting the floor outside the dungeon door. The door opens and the youngster comes in dragging an unconscious guard. “1 minute I will be back” whispers the youngster and again disappears out the door. Time again passes and Guildan can hear the small sounds of metal clinking on metal, the youngster reappears carrying several bags. He walks over to Guildan Closes his eye and whispers a short prayer and Guildan can feel more healing taking hold as his full strength returns. The youngster loots through the pockets of the unconscious guard, and finding the keys he undoes the shackles holding Guildan to the table.
Guildan stands up with a little wobble, and walks over to the bags. Inside he finds all his equipment and wastes no time donning his armour. He notices that the youngster is also well equipped and is wearing the tabard of Trigean (a striking black eagle on a red background). Guildan moves to the downed guard and takes his tabard.
“Thank you, youngster, do you know a way out of here?” “I should think so” replies the youngster “I have lived here for 15 years” he says with a grimace. “Follow me I will take us to the stables, we can grab a horse each, then I will take us to a side gate that nobody guards as it has been lock forever as the key is lost” with that he pulls a rather old looking key from his belt pouch with a small smile.
They leave the dungeon, sneaking past the guardroom were door is fractionally open and the guards can be seen playing a game of dice in a rather loud manner. Luck seems to smile upon them as the stables seem quiet and appear empty of stable-hands. Both Paladin and Priest saddle a horse, and the paladin follows the young Priest out of the stable, down the side of the yard and almost walk into the back of the priest’s horse as the youngster stops at a door that is concealed by overgrown ivy and covered in moss.
The door is just large and wide enough for a tall man to lead a horse through unhindered. The youngster uses the key and slowly pulls the door open, and to Guildan’s surprise, without a sound. “I always had hope of one day being able to escape so I used oil on the lock and hinges every now and then when I could” the youngster explains … after seeing the look on Guildan’s face. The youngster locks the door behind them, and leads them into the nearby woods.
“Ok this is as far as I have ever been, I have always turned back before I got caught. Which way do we go?” Before Guildan Can reply an arrow hits the ground between them. “go to the clearing where we first met, I will meet you there!” Whispers Guildan urgently. The youngster follows the instructions and a while later he arrives at the clearing. He finds somewhere he can hide whilst watching the clearing, and sits down to wait.
As the youngster leaves Guildan pulls out his bow and fires an arrow back towards where a torch is being held, a strangled gasp reaches his ears as the torch drops out of sight. Guildan moves around to the front of the wall where the main gate is and shoots a few arrows up at the guards who are still standing on the wall. One takes an arrow to the shoulder and rest drop below the parapet for cover.
An alarm sounds from within the castle as Guildan now rides away unseen. He continues down the road until he comes to an ideal place and ties a rope between 2 trees at roughly the chest height of a somebody riding a horse. Guildan rides along the road at a good pace and reaches the clearing not long after the youngster. The youngster comes to meet him, and they both turn to face up the road from the way they came. Muffled screams, from both horses and men, can be heard faintly coming from the road leading to the castle. “that will ensure that they move slowly from now on” “we should lose them by the morning” continues Guildan.
they both turn back towards the road and continue on into the night at a canter. As they ride away from the clearing the youngster strikes up a conversation “what’s your name Sir paladin?” “Guildan” Replies Guildan and the conversation gets fainter as they continue to trot away “and yours?” can be heard form Guildan, after a brief pause and even fainter now, “Vincent Trigean” replies Vincent, and the rest of the conversation is lost.
The pair vow to return some time to help release those in need from the evil clutches of Vincent’s family. But for 2 years, always weary of Vincent’s family tracking them down before they are ready, the pair continue to move, helping those in need, but never staying in one place too long. Shortly after Vincent’s 17th Birthday the pair arrive in another new village, and a new adventure awaits……….