By Jason Chambers
The Tale of Gors Ack-Stormaire of Lathander is the property of the author, Jason Chambers and is used with permission by Candlekeep. Email Jason with any comments and feedback on The Tale of Gors Ack-Stormaire of Lathander.
The Tale of Gors Ack-Stormaire of Lathander
1374 Year of Lightning Storms
Decades ago in the Bloodstone Land of Vaasa, on the shores of the Lake of Tears, Zhengyi the Witch King used his demonic allies to raise a fell fortress known as Castle Perilous in a single night. With the aid of his demons, he assembled hosts of dire wolves, giants, goblins, orcs, and undead to conquer Damara. In The Year of the Serpent (1359 DR) Gareth Dragonsbane, Paladin of Ilmater, led a band of adventurers against the Witch King. Dragonsbane and company defeated Zhengyi, ending the twelve year war between Damara and Vaasa.
Among the many beasts and fell creatures that served in the armies of the Witch-King was the Blood Elk orc tribe from southern Vaasa. The Blood Elk tribe answered the Witch-King’s call in The Year of the Crown (1351 DR), sending a war-party of twelve warriors to fight the humans of Damara. This was the first war-party excursion for Makh, the youngest orc in the band of marauders. Although Makh was large, even by orc standards, and a gifted hunter and fighter, the isolation of the Blood Elk tribe made conflicts with humans rare, and virtually nonexistent in the fifteen years of Makh’s life. Young Makh had long felt that he was somehow different than the orcs in his tribe, and these differences would soon become quite evident to the young orc.
During their first tenday of travel, the Blood Elk war-party came across a small human caravan. The older orcs, having had no outlet for their natural savagery for many years, became overtaken with blood frenzy and charged the tough, but out-numbered humans. Although human arrows took down several of the orcs, most of the party caught up to the humans as they retreated behind the circle of wagons they had formed. As Makh watched in horror, his companions brutalized and raped a young woman who had failed to retreat behind their defenses, as well as her would-be rescuer. Disgusted and infuriated by this sight, Makh sprang into action to defend the humans. The orcs, thinking their ally was simply coming to take his share, were caught completely unaware. Makh had killed four of the orcs before they figured out what was going on, a young human woman also realized their unexpected ally had turned the tide of battle to the humans’ favor, and led a charge over the barricade to help the orc who was now becoming quickly overpowered in spite of his impressive strength and prowess. Makh, along with his new human allies, defeated the remaining orcs.
The young woman who had led the charge was a ranger in service of Mielikki, who had picked up a few orcish words over the years. She introduced herself as Garsha, and tried vainly to express her thanks in orc, a language with no words to express gratitude. Makh, not fully understanding this strange and beautiful creature before him, understood enough to realize that she and her allies meant him no harm. Makh stayed with the humans as they finished their journey to the small human settlement that Garsha called home. This was also the settlement of the young woman who had been raped by the orcs, but thanks to Makh, she still had her life. Once the tale of his bravery had circulated among the settlement, Makh was welcomed into the community. He came to be known as Vriunt Stormaire, which roughly translates from Damaran into the common tongue as “A friend and fighter.” Garsha began teaching Makh common, and in time the two became lovers and were married by the village priest. On the sixth day of Tarsakh in the Year of the Dragon (1352 DR), the couple gave birth to a son. They named the child Gors Ack-Stormaire, which translates to, “Large son of the fighter.”
Young Gors grew up in a loving family, which is rare among half-orcs because of their usually violent heritage. From a young age, Garsha taught Gors the ways of the wilderness and the teachings of Mielikki. Like all good younglings in the Bloodstone Lands, Gors grew up hearing tales of King Dragonsbane and dreamed of the day he could fight alongside his hero. Vriunt became close friends with the family of the woman he had saved and showed a keen interest in their faith in the Morninglord. Vriunt was moved by the tenets of rebirth taught in the dogma of Lathander, believing himself reborn on the day he chose the path of good over the savagery of his former kin. Everything Vriunt learned of Lathander he would share with Garsha and Gors. While Garsha remained true to her faith in Mielikki, she supported her husband’s belief in Lathander, encouraging Gors to decide for himself what path in life he would choose. Vriunt’s faith in Lathander grew and under the tutelage of the village priest he learned the secrets of divine magic and received the blessing of Lathander, becoming a priest himself.
Gors’ path would take a major change when Garsha and Vriunt moved their family to Palischuk in The Year of the Turrett (1360 DR), one year after the fall of the Witch-King, in order to spread the faith of the Morninglord to the half-orcs of the fledgling city. Once in ruins, the city was rebuilt by half-orcs who had befriended the human and dwarven settlements nearby. Palischuk lies east of the ruins of Castle Perilous, where the local rangers and fighters patrol the area surrounding the castle, always on guard for signs of trouble from the haunted and mysterious castle. Gors continued his training as a ranger, and helped his father run the small church of Lathander. By his fifteenth summer, Gors had become an accomplished ranger and fighter, leading many of the patrols that guarded the borders of the city. With his father’s church established and the city reaching levels of prosperity undreamed of, Gors became restless and decided to leave his home and travel to Damara to pledge his service to King Dragonsbane.
After saying goodbye to his loving parents; Gors left his home in Palischuk and began the trek to Damara. Upon reaching Damara, Gors traveled to Heliogabalus, the capital of Damara, and was impressed with the Paladins of Ilmater in service of King Dragonsbane. Having grown up among rangers and half-orcs in the wilds of Vaasa, Gors quickly became self-conscious of his rugged appearance. The impressionable young half-orc began to mimic the appearance of the human paladins, cutting is hair in the fashion popular among the paladins and wearing clothes more acceptable in the metropolis. Gors was accepted into the militia of Heliogabalus and began training with the fighters and paladins stationed there.
Upon reaching his eighteenth birthday in The Year of the Tankard (1370 DR), Gors’ physical attributes had become impressive by any standard, and he was well respected among his brothers-in-arms. In spite of his success, Gors still felt somewhat out of place as one of the few warriors not part of the Ilmatari faith. Gors looked forward to the visits from his fellow Lathanderites, who often escorted merchant caravans to Heliogabalus. On one such visit, Gors decided to seek permission from his superiors to leave Damara and travel to the Western Heartlands with a cleric of Lathander who ensured Gors that he could find a place for him among the church of Lathander.
Although Gors had long since determined that the life of a paladin was not the path Lathander had chosen for him, he found acceptance among the church of Lathander and built close friendships with his adventuring companions. Gors’ strength and experience fighting against undead made him a powerful force for good among the Lathanderites. The church recognized Gors value, and as a show of gratitude for his faithful service, on his twentieth birthday in The Year of Wild Magic (1372 DR), Gors was presented with a magical greatsword which he named “Lightbringer.” In the two years that followed, Gors trained diligently with his new weapon, honing his fighting skills to near perfection, particularly focused on battling undead. In The Year of Lightning Storms (1374 DR), Gors and his companions were sent on a mission for the church that would change their lives forever.
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