Residents of Alder’s Folly
Alari – A veteran freeblade from Alder’s Folly. After Dagra’s death and Jalis’s announcement that she would be hanging her blades up, Alari half-jokingly suggested to Oriken that he and her team up since he was now alone – an offer which he tiredly but deftly sidesteps. During The Blighted City, Alari was tutoring the novice Kirran, but it’s unlikely that she’ll have that responsibility for much longer. In truth, she was beginning to regret taking him on anyway.
Alderby – Alderby owned the Lonely Peddler prior to Maros. Alderby is not a first name, but a family name, and Alderby himself came from a line of Alderbys dating back to the ill-fated but ultimately modestly successful founder of Alder’s Folly, who arrived there from the Arkh. None ever knew the last Alderby’s first name, and there’s a chance he didn’t actually have one.
Dagra – Dagra grew up in the village of Eyndal in the north-western Kadelia Downs region of Himaera. His parents died when he was very young, and so he was brought up by his grandparents. Also living in Eyndal are his uncle, aunt and cousins. Dagra grew a beard as soon as he was able, and never went clean-shaven again. With his gruff manner and pragmatic attitude, he preferred functionality over finesse. His short stature and unkempt appearance made him somewhat reminiscent of a dwarf from the stories of the Taleweavers (though not reminiscent of those born with the rare, true-to-Verragos affliction) and caused him to be the butt of more than the occasional joke.
His closest childhood friend was Oriken. Together, they left home as young men and, several years later, met Jalis and Maros. Through their new-found friends they joined the Freeblades Guild.
Due to his grandparents being staunch gods-fearing folk, Dagra became likewise and was constantly at odds with Oriken over matters of theology. Despite their fundamental difference in beliefs, the two remained close friends for the rest of Dagra’s life.
Dagra contracted the blight while in Lachyla and died the true death (as the Lachylans call it) on the journey home, which he knew he would never complete. Early in his travels with Oriken in the Kadelia Downs, he discovered an ancient gladius forged during the Days of Kings. He learned how to wield it, and favoured it over the sabre. The short, wide blade was etched with umbral runes. As Dagra lay dying in the Deadlands, he gave the gladius to Oriken as a parting gift. His last request was for Oriken and Jalis to burn his body, which they did on the lonely coast of Scapa Fell.
Diela – A serving maid at the Lonely Peddler. Diela greatly enjoys serving drinks and meals, so much that she occasionally offers to do so even when she’s not on shift. Her smile is loved by everyone, despite her recent visit to the physician where she had to get a tooth removed.
Fenn – A journeyman freeblade, Fenn makes the mistake of flapping his lips to Jalis and Maros, effectively ruining his career as long as he remains with the Alder’s Folly branch of the Freeblades Guild. Even if he moves elsewhere, there’s a good chance that Maros’s influence around the Caerheath region will ensure Fenn has a hard time in any branch he tries to join. The best bet for Fenn would be to move to another region entirely, possibly the neighbouring Grenmoor.
Henwyn – A veteran freeblade from Alder’s Folly, Henwyn’s preferred weapon is the longbow, and he also carries a farglass for spotting those far-away targets. In his forty-third year of age, Henwyn is the longest serving member of Alder’s Folly Freeblades Guild, with a couple more years under his belt than Maros. He enjoys a watered wine with his meal, but will occasionally sup the harder stuff when he’s not undertaking a contract. Being afflicted with a gender-ambiguous name (the feminine version being Henwynne), it is equally unfortunate that some of his friends call him Hen, but in truth he doesn’t overly mind that the shortened version of his name is also an affectionate form of address for a woman.
Jalis Falconet – Jalis is a veteran freeblade. Her first few years in the Freeblades Guild were spent in Sardaya and Vorinsia. In the Vorinsian capital on the land’s west coast she met Maros while he was on a contract that took him from Himaera to Vorinsia. The two quickly forged a friendship, and Maros convinced her to return with him to Himaera where she has lived ever since, althoug she does sometimes miss the life on the continental mainland.
Holding the rank of bladesmistress, Jalis is highly skilled with a variety of weapons but favours the dagger, of which she carries two – namely Silverspire and Dusklight. As a freeblade, she wore Dusklight at her waist and Silverspire at her thigh, along with numerous throwing daggers situated strategically within her boots/shoes and heavy-duty leggings.
Upon first meeting Demelza, the girl thought Jalis’s name was pronounced Chalice; presumably she’d heard the word spoken in her village, though probably by descendants of high-born Lachylans.
Jalis is well-versed in modern and ancient languages, and appreciates her friends’ rudimentary attempts to learn a foreign word or phrase, something which the rarely silver-tongued Oriken actually manages on occasion when not trying to irritate her.
Jecaiah – A bar worker in Maros’s employ at the Lonely Peddler. Jecaiah is a man of few words, but he can get rid of an unwanted drunkard if the need arises.
Jerrick – Jerrick is an elderly, tobah-smoking, regular patron of the Lonely Peddler at Alder’s Folly. Upon overhearing Maros talking with several freeblades about Lachyla, Jerrick mentions that a friend of his journeyed to the Blighted City long ago, and never returned. This news spurred Maros into action to follow his friends and bring them home before the same fate befell them.
Shortly after the events of The Bligted City, Jerrick was found dead, slumped on the bench outside the Lonely Peddler with his pipe in one hand and a cup of ale in the other.
Kirran – Kirran is a novice freeblade in Alder’s Folly. Not only is he wet behind the ears, but he probably doesn’t have what it takes to climb higher within the profession. It wouldn’t bother Maros if the lad hung his blades up and went to become a baker’s apprentice instead, which is probably exactly what Kirran will do.
Leaf – Leaf is the youngest addition to the Alder’s Folly Freeblades Guild. During The Blighted City she is under the tutelage of Henwyn, and also receives an in-house contract from Maros to complete alone, a task she practically snatches from his hands. Leaf is elusive about her past, but eager to prove herself when given the opportunity.
Luthan – The chef at the Lonely Peddler originally hails from the town of Aster in the north-eastern region of Asterdale, famed for its picturesque beauty. Luthan’s ice-blue eyes are a contrast to his warm, empathic character, making him popular among the townsfolk of Alder’s Folly despite his occasional blunt but still heartfelt honesty. Luthan is a freeblade in all but title, his weapon of choice being his prized carving knife which has never killed anything but has certainly helped create some delicious meals including his famed whitesand, a meal he named after the long stretch of Himaeran coast known as the Whitesand Strait.
Maros the Mountain – The human-jotunn Official of the Freeblades Guild in Alder’s Folly, and owner and proprietor of the Lonely Peddler tavern. The jotunn side of Maros’s ancestry makes him taller than Oriken (who is a six-footer) by almost two feet, but the human side of his heritage makes him more than a foot shorter than the average pureblood jotunn. He has gained a slight paunch since hanging up his blades, but his muscular frame is still as strong as ever. Due to his halfblood stature and his renowned golden days of freeblading, he is known to many as the Mountain.
Maros could still squash a man’s head in his voluminous hands if he desired, and has no problem in hurling annoying bar patrons through the Lonely Peddler’s saloon doors. Ever since a lyakyn rended his knee with its needle teeth, the simple act of walking is a painful chore for him. During a brief stop at Caer Valekha – a deserted stronghold in Scapa Fell – an arrow was shot into Maros’s shin a couple of inches below his gammy knee. He was already considering having his lower leg lopped off, and perhaps the wound from the arrow has sealed that particular deal. During the same journey, he discovered that using a crutch as a weapon was an interesting way to fight, which gave him an idea…
Oriken – Oriken lived in the large mining village of Eyndal in the north-west region of the Kadelia Downs with his parents. His father, a mine worker, died in the mines when Oriken was a month away from his fourteenth birthday. Less than a year later, his mother was found dead a couple of miles outside of Eyndal, her flesh scored with incisions that suggested a lyakyn attack. Oriken continued to live in his family home but Dagra’s grandparents, Ilhdra and Gafrid, kept a watchful eye on him and often included him in their family meals.
When an offer from a family seeking to settle in Eyndal was made to purchase his house, he accepted and moved in with Dagra, Gafrid and Ilhdra for a short time until he and Dagra left Eyndal. The two spent a few years adventuring across northern Himaera, becoming competent fighters and offering their services as amateur sellswords until they met Maros and Jalis. The veteran freeblades recognised Oriken and Dagra’s talents and characters, and suggested they join the Freeblades Guild.
Some of his friends call him Orik. He was also once referred to by Demelza as the Orc King, a phonetic misunderstanding which he took somewhat to heart. Although Oriken often shaves, his face seems forever shadowed by stubble. His short mop of hair spends most of its time hidden beneath his wide-brimmed hat. Oriken favours low-ankle dustboots, drawstring shirts, and lightweight leather jackets. The unquestioning belief and blind faith of others has always irked him, scepticism being a trait he learned from his parents. Oriken does not believe in the existence of gods but will accept something to be true if he witnesses it, the main drawback being that some of the things he’s experienced make his brain hurt just thinking about them. With his rangy height and his eyes cast in shadow beneath the birn of his hat, Oriken may occasionally exude a mysterious aura, but, just as occasionally, he breaks that mystery by opening his mouth and saying something irritating or daft.
The death of his father, Kyne, was officially called an accident, but both Oriken and Dagra knew he was murdered. Dagra, being a loyal friend, sneaked into the killer’s house at night and stabbed him through the heart while he slept, and retrieved Kyne’s hat. Oriken wore the hat from that day on until a particular occurrence in the Blighted City, a moment he would remember whenever he touched the blade Ammenfar at his hip.
Renfrey – A bar drunk in Alder’s Folly who mouthed off at Maros at precisely the wrong time, if there’s ever a right time. Renfrey hates working at Wymar’s mill, but it brings in the coin to pay for his ale. Renfrey has no friends. He does enjoy a bit of banter with some of the other patrons of the Peddler, but he sees red when someone he dislikes (for example, any of the freeblades) refers to him as Ren. He’ll be dismayed to learn that Wymar has sacked him; that, combined with being permanently barred from the Lonely Peddler, ought to result in Renfrey leaving Alder’s Folly to start afresh elsewhere.
Wymar – Wymar owns the Alder’s Folly Mill, He is a dari-pincher and is disliked by Maros; after witnessing Wymar running from a lyakyn with his trousers down, Maros used that knowledge as leverage to strike a more amicable financial agreement with the mill owner.
Wymar received a fatal injury in the Deadlands from an arrow to the lung. With the alternative being death, Wymar decided to put more faith in Ellidar’s offer to take his body to Lachyla where he would be revived, than in his spirit being reborn in the Underland. It may be difficult for the erstwhile mill owner to find his place in the Blighted City, where food is a pleasure rather than a necessity, but perhaps he can put his skills to another use.