Mendax the Tusk, of the Wolf Tribe (witness the beginning)
|Name: Mendax, the Tusk, of the Wolf Tribe
At Age Eight, Mendacitvs was sent to live as a hostage among a rival wolf nomad tribe known as the Two-Claws clan, where they referred to him simply as: "Boy!"
The exchange of hostages was a common practice when outsiders threatened, to limit inner nomad conflicts and casualties.
Three years later, the Tusk clan had disappeared, most likely they were wiped out by invaders. To settle other antagonisms, the chief of the Two-Claws sold the boy to a "civilized" society. There it was that he was trained to fight and to kill with civilized weapons. He did so to survive and for the sport of others. For loving life, he took no pleasure in slaying. The youth was also introduced to the finery of society from afar, and he was not allowed to sample what his "superiors" enjoyed, so he observed without ever understanding.
Nor did he learn the meaning of the strange tattoo they placed upon his right forearm in woad capital letters: MENDAX
Whether it is his name, his legion's name, an identifying brand, or a statement of status, he does not know. Mendacitvs was taught much in the new land but not how to read their strange writings.
Out of place in the city and unhappy with his lot, Mendacitvs, now age 17, yearned for freedom. When his military unit marched for Vuraaka, he finally escaped. He traveled south, away from his homeland, vowing to never look back.
Level: 12 (of 22)
Currently, at age 18, Mendax is the youngest party member. He has brown eyes and black hair which is forming slowly into a beard and mustache. The warrior stands just above five feet, ten inches tall and weighs in around one hundred seventy pounds. He is fit and athletic and in all ways a superb specimen of his species, both physically and mentally. Beyond this physicality, his history and upbringing among tribes of the wolf nomads have influenced his outlook on life.
Although he speaks with the accent of his northern ancestors, he is not a typical savage. Upon seeing him now, one would notice a skill beyond his years.
A tattoo in woad reads,MENDAX vertically down his right forearm from elbow to wrist, with the "X" upon the back of his right hand. He is often accompanied by his gray wolf, "Ger," a reincarnated werewolf defeated by Mendax, Shin-Kaaka, Bergeren Silverforg'd, and Tatelland, a gnome druid. Indeed, it was the gnome's mentor, Yarew, who cast the spell.
Mendax wears finely wrought, dwarf-forged mithral silver chain armour, and in battle he often wields the magickal, glowing two-handed, double bladed great-axe. He also carries other weapons as tokens of victories over foes, such as a magick spear and a knight's longsword.
About his neck are several trophies: the large ruby of the troglodyte sorcerer, GoB'bgoz, is secured with a leather thong; also there hangs necklaces of a black dragon's teeth and claws; and of a grizzly bear's fangs and claws.
Mendax dons the cape of a grizzly which nearly killed him, and over this he wears a silvery elvish cloak. He also carries his original trusted longsword which was silvered by his warrior friend, "Cap'n," Bagalok StumbleStone, a dwarf. He sometimes carries a large wooden shield or charges into the fray upon a golden heavy warhorse.
When consumed by his rage, Mendax appears slightly larger and more ferocious to his foes. Upon first encountering the party in Hemmloct, he introduced himself as "Mendacitvs," but the elf girl, Endica, upon noticing his tattoo, called him "Mendax," and now so do all his friends.
Genealogy: Mendacitus: son of Tenacitus, and the warrior-maiden, Nadiaska, daughter of Tenebrus.
Paternal Grandfather named Temeritus: chief of old, once leader and protector of the Tusk Clan, of whom the legends say: "He could run the steppes from daylight to dusk, tiring never."
The story begins...
One cloudy day, a scraggedy youth appeared in the village of Hemmloct from seemingly out of nowhere, save for the dust and odor about him signifying a long overland journey. He apparently had no connections there, nor any money, for he stayed on the fringe of town and often kept to the shadows, although he was no beggar.
Not long after his arrival, he beheld such a sight as had never been in that town; someone who reminded him of a princess from a far off empire. All he could think to say to gain her attention was a phrase he once overheard from one of his former captains, but in this case they held true enough. So as the young elf maid passed by, she heard, "Nice ass," from somewhere behind her.
Turning somewhat embarrassed - indignant yet at the same time complimented - she beheld her admirer: a young and obviously brash human male.
"Excuse me? Who are you to speak to me in such a manner?" she said.
"I am Mendacitivs," he answered, just now considering the propriety of his comment, "And I do not lie. I come here seeking adventure and the means to make my fortune. Who are you?"
"I am Endica, and people just don't talk to others like that, at least not where I come from," she said, "I'm going to get my friends to teach you some manners and respect."
"Lead the way," replied the brash youth.
Endica meant to turn around to lead him, but then she thought better of it. "The tavern is back that way," she motioned, "But I'm following you!"
Mendacitivs considered his lack of funds as he walked toward the Slippery Wench Tavern, but he was too proud to reveal it to the pretty elf. And so for the first time he entered a pub as a free man.
Endica soon found her companions: a dwarf, two humans, and her sister! One man in black robes bought Mendacitivs drinks and took him nearer to the fireplace.
"I am Oaf, the Shadow-Fire," he said. He promised to relay their group's exploits and seemed to enjoy the sound of his own voice, for he had no shortage of coin with which to provide himself and the "captive" barbarian drinks.
This is a small price to pay, thought Mendacitivs. Oaf introduced him to the others in his company: Brother Machlizdek, a holy man; Ileana, Endica's sister; and Bergeren Silverforg'd, a dwarven warrior.
Then Oaf produced a book. "This was written by our old guide, 'Straggler,'" he said, and he began to read from it. As he read, Mendacitivs thought of his own long journey, but he became weary. Whether it was due to Oaf's incessant vocalizations or the many ales which passed his neck, he did not know.
As his eyes blinked in rhythm with his tilting head, he felt a soft touch upon his right arm. Endica was tracing the marks of his tattoo.
"Why does this say, 'MENDAX,'? You said you were called, Mendacitus."
"I was...in my old tribe, far to the north. I did not have this then." He made a play for her hand, but she deftly eluded his grasp.
"Then I will call you, 'Mendax,'" she whispered into his ear. He turned his head, and like her words' sudden absence, the elf girl herself seemingly disappeared.
Mendax awoke the next morning on a bench in the bar. He had slept in rougher places, but perhaps not on one quite so unforgivingly uneven. Coupled with the ale to which he was unaccustomed, his head's soreness matched that of his frame.
Ulf was entering the bar then. He looked fresh and rested, wearing a new change of clothes. He smiled to Mendax. "So will you be joining us? We have an appointment with the local wizard, shortly."
Mendax grunted. He did not trust magic or those who could wield it's power, but if it meant seeing Endica again.... "I will."
Outside the town's borders near the edge of the forest, the group of six soon found themselves at the base of a formidable tower. A dragon-emblazoned gold banner flew in the wind at the pinnacle. On a balcony just below this, there stood several forms.
Mendax heard footfalls in the nearby forest and he deftly drew his sword in response to the approach of others.
"Sheathe your weapon," said Bergeren the dwarf, "These are friends."
Reluctantly Mendax stowed his weapon, remaining cautious. He saw two odd figures emerge from the trees' shadows: one large and another which was less than half the first's size and trailing behind the larger for cover. As they stepped into the light, they looked even stranger. Mendax's hand gripped his sword hilt once again. The large one was no man. It was a deer. The small one was no child -he wore a beard.
"Tatelland, I'm glad you could join us," smiled the dwarf.
"You're late!" came a strong voice from far overhead, but it echoed as if borne by the very wind itself. "A wizard does not wait!" The company of now eight assorted beings gazed upward to the tower's balcony. The wizard wore green robes and a long grey beard which also flapped in the breeze, but his voice boomed strongly. "I see you have renewed your numbers. Perhaps now you will defeat Sir Theral?
"I think not. He has not been seen. It is believed he has fled to recruit another army -at least you were able to inconvenience him by dispatching his retainers. Before his return, I will flood his former stronghold in the old castle so that he may not return there. However, I will give you until this time on the morrow to salvage what you may from that place. The rains will come and those dungeons will flood permanently. You will not want to be there when this happens. So do not tarry, for I shall surely not be late!"
Mendax thought the wizard sounded angry, and yet also amused, if possible, like an adult addressing children. He disliked this wizard and felt they were being recruited to do his dirty work. Oaf, Tatelland and a few of the others knew the direction of their next destination, and they proceeded down the trail.
The group moved slowly due to the short legs of the dwarf and gnome and the Brother's armor weighed him down. Mendax moved toward the front to scout ahead, since he was not sure of his place in this large group. Soon the trail was twisting and narrowing, but the higher walls of the old fortress signaled their destination above the overgrowth. He could not get too far ahead of the others or lost, since they made not a little noise.
Mendax rounded a corner and beheld a tower entrance beyond a straightaway. He quickly decided to approach and scout it out before the other's noisome arrival reversed the element of surprise.
The thick wooden doors were unhinged: one lay on the ground and another was propped up diagonally in the doorway. He silently traversed the interval and reached the tower wall beside the opening. As he inched closer, Mendax heard a sound from inside... snoring?
His mind raced. Was it friend or foe? The others would arrive soon, and their clamor would surely awaken this napper. Mendax slowly freed his sword with painstaking silence. His palms were sweating and now his brow, but he mastered his lungs to not breathe too loudly. He almost jumped as the wind swirled some dry leaves over the stones. He had to enter now.
Inside, it was almost too dark to see. He gauged the size of the room from what he saw on the outside. Near its center, there was a form like a pile of cloth draped over a rock. As his eyes adjusted, Mendax saw it expand and contract as he focused on it. It matched the pattern of the snoring, which was much louder in here, thankfully, else he feared the sound of his own pounding heart would be enough to rouse whomever it was. The others would be rounding the bend about now, he thought, no time to hesitate.
Mendax raised his sword in the darkness above the sleeping form -of what? He could not slay a helpless being, but he did not wish to endanger the others. He also did not want to die himself. If it went poorly, perhaps the others would be near enough to rescue him. He steeled himself if the sleeper were to raise an alarm, and he let his sword descend. It fell upon the form with a firm tap from the flat of the blade.
"Hisssss!" The robes swirled and the shape immediately twisted and spun, raising up swiftly. He thought he awakened a giant snake and backed toward the exit.
"You will die for attacking me!" hissed the creature.
a later Mendax at twelfth level:
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