From the Secret Journals of Kargan Ulron:
How many times must I lose my son?
It’s been a long time since I wrote in this journal. I haven’t opened this book since before I first crossed the border into Brevoy. That last time, a little over ten years ago, was the last time I thought he, they, were dead. This time, though, I think it might be for the last time, until we meet again on Gorum’s Final Field.
Let me explain, to myself I guess, if no one else, as I don’t expect anyone else to read this.
In the ten years since I received what I thought was news of the defeat at Touvette, where I thought Krensa had been slain, I wandered from the River Kingdoms into Brevoy, taking first a job with the Royal Guard just before the Royal Family disappeared, then taking gold from every Great House in Brevoy, from killing Lamashtu cultists for the Medyved to my most recent position, pirate-hunting and body-guard duties for the Lodovka. The Lodovka are decent masters, Lord Kozek especially is a cunning old bastard of whom I have grown very fond. Almost half-orc in his own way. Which, indirectly brings me to where I am today.
Today, I am in Restov. Kozek’s adopted great-nephew Darius, who I once helped escort to a swordlord Academy (for all the good THAT did…), and a bit of a holy terror in his own way, had been chosen for that Aldori thing into the Stolen Lands. Didn’t think much of it at the time, after all, its been tried before and, well, if anything had ever come of it, they wouldn’t still be the Stolen Lands, would they? But one thing drew my eye when I looked over the charter, a name, scrawled, barely letters at all, almost like Orcish pictograms, ‘Tralg’.
Tralg. The last Tralg I knew was Krensa’s father, old Tralg the Ironfist, my first weapons teacher. And I started to wonder. Of course Krensa would have named our boy, the boy I barely knew existed, after her late father. I put the thought aside, I mean, the name means ‘Strength’ in Orcish, there’s probably lots of half-orcs named Tralg. Sure.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t think about it in the weeks that followed. Of course I did. But I got on with my job. After all, Captain Hightower thought he had a lead on those oyster smugglers off the northwest cliffs. Real ‘Fate of the Realm’ stuff. Prick.
I’d also be lying if I said we weren’t all kind of surprised when word came up from the the Green Belt that Dare, sorry Master Darius, and the crew with him had taken out the Stag Lord, the local bandit chieftain. Well, maybe not Lord Kozek, never seen him look surprised at anything. Never beaten him at cards, either. So there’s no telling what he was really thinking. Never is.
What I was thinking? I was thinking that if Master Dare and his party had been recalled to Restov to be awarded formal control of the Green Belt would bring this Tralg up to Brevoy where I could meet him in person. The whole thing was a circus. By killing the local bandit chief, they already control that area, but by ‘granting’ it to them, the Swordlords provide the illusion of power over them. The usual nonsense. Let the Houses and other power players a chance to bid for a piece of these new players, like scavengers around a fresh kill.
I shouldn’t be judging them. I was the same. I wanted something from those kids and I was going to Restov to get it. However, what I wanted was to meet this ‘Tralg’, to meet, I hoped, my son. So when Lord Kozek chose his second-cousin Petrov to go down and represent the Lodovka in Restov, I volunteered my squad to lead the security detail.
I knew the whole of that group would be in Restov. Including this ‘Tralg’. I wanted to meet him. Wanted to look him in the eye.
But you don’t always get what you want. It turned out that this Tralg, he’d fallen in battle against the Stag Lord. Died with his axe in the man, delivering the killing blow. I have no more proof he’s mine and Krensa’s boy than I did when I first read the name.
But he died doing Gorum’s work, killing his enemy. It was how my father died. How Krensa’s father, the first Tralg died, and likely how I’m going to go. And that is what a son of the line of Ulron would do.
Restov was what I expected. Young Dare and his remaining companions showed up and immediately got down to horse-trading. They’re an unusual lot. Back in Winterbreak, Dare stood out, the black sheep of the family. In this company… well, let’s just say he’s in good company.
There’s one of old Gorev’s brood, seems bright enough, if a little more, well, ‘Medyved’ than the rest of them. He’s one of the casters, I think. The other, Nymka, is a catman who is either more than commonly stoned or actually mad. Cleric of one of the magical gods, I think. Then there’s the halfling, Hamond. Wolf-rider, fighting man. Seems a likely enough sort.
Not a bad crew. I think. And with their defeat of the Stag Lord, they’re garnishing even more attention than when Maegor Varn came back. Side note, look him up, he might be a useful man to know.
They’ve been cutting deals with the Great Houses, avoiding, I’ve noticed the Surtova. Smart move. I wonder which of them thought of that. The Churches of Abadar, Gorum, Erestil. I’ve been keeping an eye on them. Some independents, like Lady Vallara and some others.
Of course, so have I.
For the first time in a decade, I want something more than to get into another fight and collect my pay. I want to go south. I want to find out if Tralg was my Tralg. But if I’m honest that’s not the only reason I want to go south.
And all this thinking about Kresna and our son has got me remembering something else. Remembering who I really am. I was always meant for more than this. I am an Ulron, perhaps the last. I am the Skywound. I have a destiny.
So I’ve been cutting some deals of my own. If I’m to go south with these lads, it’s not to be as their serving man, It’ll be as an equal. But for that to happen, I need to be added to the charter and to accomplish that, I’ll need patrons. I think I’ve got some pretty solid support. Petrov Lodovka, Mischa Medyved, old Ratibor the Shatterer.
Still, might want to approach some of the swordlords, Mivon, Restov, the Aldori academy. Might be useful if…
Hold on, I think I see Dare headed towards the swordlords, and he’s smiling. Do not see that ending well…