Winter's Knight: A Valdemar Story
A bitter winter has descended upon the world of Velgarth, and the free country of Valdemar, bringing with it a killing cold and sickness that no Healer could cure, simply called "the Fever." The ranks of Valdemar, and the makeshift vale of k'Valdemar, have fallen in astonishing numbers, and tales from Hardorn and Karse bring more news of the mysterious ague. Even Rethwellen seems to be plagued. Borders have been left unguarded with too few Heralds or soldiers to patrol them, and the populations of many countries are waning as great numbers succumb to the mysterious illness. Iftel, Seejay, Velvar, and the Pelagiris forest seemed to be spared, and for the most part, Jkatha has been, too. Calls of succor have arisen from the affected countries, and all but Velvar have conceded to lend aid.
The biting, penetrating cold of this year's winter still has not ceased, and even the graceful Queen Selenay, the highest of all Heralds in the land of Valdemar, has fallen to the sickness, but not before sending her dear twins to foster in k'Rika, where the invisible hands of the Fever cannot reach.
Selenay's oldest child, who once abdicated her place in the line of succession, has taken up the crown in these bitter times, determined to find the cause of this Fever that plagues her people, and put a stop to it. OccupationsHerald
- When Duke Valdemar left the empire, to start a new land where people would be free, he knew that there would be a need for a policing force that could never be corrupted, that would always stand for the good of the people. He stood in a stand of trees outside his new palace, with his son, and his herald, and prayed to all of the gods he could name, to help him in this task. His prayers were granted in the form of three pure white horses, with silver hooves and startlingly clear blue eyes, who could speak in to their minds. Duke Valdemar decided that since there could only be one King, and one Heir, that this force would be named Heralds, for anyone could be a Herald.
Ages passed, and the Companions, as these more-than-horse creatures were called, bred more of themselves. Each new Companion will, when the time is right, forge out into Valdemar alone, with their dress saddle upon them, to find their partner, whom they will Choose as a Herald. Heralds always have some mind-magic, even if their abilities are weak, and they are bonded with their Companion for life. In most cases, if one dies, so will the other, with the lack of that bond, but History has recorded a few Companions that have lived on to choose new Heralds, and a Herald or two that has withstood the death of their Companion long enough to be Chosen by another. The surviving partner is always changed by the death, though.
If a Herald does something truly evil, his Companion may sever the bond with him, Repudiating him and essentially committing suicide. No Herald that has been Repudiated has ever been known to survive.
The Monarch of Valdemar has always been, since Duke Valdemar, and will always be, a Herald. No one who is not a Herald can be counted in the line of succession, even if that person is married to the current Monarch. If a wife or husband of a current monarch is not a Herald, then they are known as Consort, rather than King or Queen.
Heralds with mage power that have been trained in true magic are called Herald Mages.
Herald Trainees are always taught at Haven, the capital city, and wear grey uniforms. When they graduate to a full Herald, they change to uniforms of a pure snowy white, which matches their Companions.
The most famous Herald Mage, Vanyel, is pictured below, to give you an idea of the clothing that is worn:Mage
- Mages range the world, and are not an occupation tied solely to Valdemar. In fact, in years past, there was a spell laid upon the country that prevented Mages from entering, lest they be driven mad by the unseen air elementals that constantly asked them to identify themselves. This spell has since been modified, and Valdemar has set up a mage-training program. Mage Trainees in Haven wear brown, while Valdemar-trained mages wear Gold.
Valdemar is not the only school of Mages, and nor is it the largest. That honor lies with the school of the White Winds Mages, founded in the distant past by a hertasi, a sentient reptile-like creature, named Gervase. The White Winds are mages that stand for good, though they can be fallible. White Winds mostly focuses on a type of magic called Extraplanar Proxy, which requests the aid of beings from different planes of existence.
Many other types of mages exist, and near anyone with even a spark of mage power can perform blood magic, but such magic is evil and tainted. Tayledras
- Descended from the Kaled'a'in of the long past, living in secret Vales in the Pelagiris, these mysterious people have been, for ages, slowly taming the wild magic that infests that forest. They set up their Vale and Heartstone, fortifying their living space, and slowly drain away the excess magical energies from the land that leads to the creation of wild and dangerous creatures, making the world a safer place.
Every Tayledras has a companion in the form of his Bondbird. Easily three times larger than normal birds, these avians are far more intelligent than their cousins, and are able to mindspeak with the partner they are bonded to. The type of bird that a Tayledras bonds with speaks of their personality. A wise old man may have a raven on his shoulder; an ostentatious man may have a firebird; a quick fighter may have a small hawk.
The bond between a Tayledras and a bondbird is not as strong as that between a Herald and a Companion, and though a bondbird's life span is extended, a Tayledras will probably have a small number of bondbirds throughout his life.
Tayledras have their own methods for teaching their mages (Spontaneous Direct Manipulation, also taught at Valdemar) and healers, and frequently have at least one Mindhealer in a Vale at any given time.
There are 17 Vales to choose from: k'Chona, k'Jeia, k'Leshya, k'Lissa, k'Onsova, k'Rika, k'Sheyna, k'Shira, k'Saurai, k'Treva, k'Vaia, k'Vala, k'Valdemar, k'Varis, k'Verei, k'Vesia, and k'Veyas. All Vales except k'Leshya and k'Valdemar can be found in the Pelagiris forest. k'Valdemar Vale is in Haven, at the palace, and k'Leshya is settled in a city far, far to the south, accessible only by Gate, named White Gryphon. The people of k'Leshya Vale have the strongest ties to their Kaled'a'in heritage, and are the only ones to still have the occupation of kestra'chern, a person whose job is part masseuse, part prostitute, and part psychologist, aiming to decrease the stress of those he or she serves. Many kestra'cherns are also versed in the art of caring for gryphons. Healer
- All Healers of Valdemar have the Healing gift. Trainees at the palace wear a muted mint green, and when they have graduated, change to emerald robes.
Those with the Healing gift are very rarely chosen as Heralds, and only when there is a definite need for them. Sometimes, as well, one will be admitted to another school, such as Bardic, before one's healing gift is discovered. Mostly, though, Healers are Healers, and nothing else, though in times such as these, the Healing gift has been cropping up more and more. Bard
- Bards must have two out of three gifts: Musical Talent, Musical Creativity, and the Bardic Gift. Bards, in addition to playing pretty music, also spread current news about the land in their travels. There is a Bardic school at Haven, from which all Bards must graduate. Trainees wear a rust-brown color until they graduate to the red robes of a true Bard.Guard/Blue
- Blues are Unaffiliated students (that is, they are not Herald, Herald-Mage, Sunpriests, Bardic or Healer Trainees) who are nobles, children of Palace workers or studying to be Artificers (Inventors), Scholars or Generals. They are the well trained individuals who keep the armies together, inventing new things or investigating histories to better understand the world around them. Blues wear light blue colors to their clothes before graduating and acquiring their darker blues. Not all Blue students go on to become Guards. Sunpriest
- Priests and priestesses of the V'kandis, the god of the sun, in Karse, Sunpriests recently went through a very dark time, where their church was rife with corruption. With the rise of Solaris, the current Son of the Son (even though she is female), many of the old priests were cast out, or burned to death in divine fire, to make way for the new principles of the church. Karsites have a traditional fued with Valdemar, though the animosity has been lessened a great deal through the truce between Solaris and the old queen Selenay.
Occasionally, a Sunpriest may have a divine companion in the form of a Firecat, a large siamese cat that has a number of abilities. In addition to being able to utilize mindspeech, they have the ability to appear as a common cat, become invisible and to transport themselves long distances by teleportation. They can also transport a human, although the extra "load" tires them greatly. Like Companions, Firecats are mortal, must eat and sleep and grieve.Shin'a'in
- NOT AVAILABLE FOR PLAY. Descended from the Kaled'a'in, the Shin'a'in are a mysterious race of nomadic people who guard the Dhorisha Plains, worshiping their goddess "The Star Eyed One" and are known as shrewd traders and excellent horsemen with excellent horses. They are willing to trade some of their horses, but only males and not their excellent Warhorses. They have a semi-permanent settlement, Kata'shin'a'in, on the rim of the Plains. They are characterized by a certain racial type; black-haired, blue-eyed, with golden skin, and are rarely seen outside the rim of the desert-crater that they inhabit.Races
Other races which inhabit the world of Velgarth are as follows:Gryphons
- Created in the far past by Urtho, the great Mage of Silence, Gryphons are at least the size of heavy warhorses, and are a mix between an avian and a feline. They are quadrupedal, winged beings who are sentient and have the potential for both mind-magic and true magic.
With birdlike heads with feathered ears and large feline-like bodies, their legs end in taloned feet, the forefeet capable of fine manipulation. Their tails are feathered, and sometimes end in tufts, not unlike those of lions.
Gryphons are astonishingly deadly fighters, especially in the air, and there are very few creatures that can match them without the aid of ranged weapons or magic. Kyree
- Living about as long as humans, Kyree are wolf-like creatures with a natural talent for mind-magic and large number are born with the ability to become Mages, Healers, Shamans, and God-Touched. They have three genders: male, female, and neuter. Kyree have rather blunt, wolf-like heads and bodies like a cheetah, with tails and coats like wolves. Hertasi
- Known for their friendly working relationship with the Tayledras, these short lizard-like people were created by accident by one of Urtho's predecessors. As a whole, while not subservient, this race has a compulsion to serve (cooking, cleaning, repairing of clothing or housing, etc.). They act more like good friends who kindly realize that great mages and the like will often forget to tend to their daily needs without the help of their allies.
Hertasi only sleep in the wintertime, and are cold blooded. Some Hertasi are able to use mind-magic or become Healers or Mages.Tervardi
- A race of flightless, anthrompomorphic bird people, Tervadi can be found among the Tayledras and k'Leshya, and are often skilled musicians.Dyheli
- A race of sentient stag-like creatures with a talent for offensive mind-magic, dyheli herds are led by the male with the strongest mind. In times of crisis, the leader can and will psychically control the entire herd. Dyheli an be found in the Pelagiris forest and near the city of White Gryphon. Countries
Notable countries besides Valdemar are as follows:Rethwellan
- Rethwellan is lead by a monarchy, and has extensive dealings with Valdemar. Currently, the country is led by King Faramentha, after the death of his brother Karathanalan. The monarch of Rethwellan is traditionally chosen by a magical sword that was lost and considered a legend until it was returned.
Prince Darenthalis of Rethwellan was Chosen during Valdemar's second war with Ancar of Hardorn, and thus married Queen Selenay, becoming Prince-consort and fathering the twins Lyra and Kris, the current Heirs-presumptive. Karse
- While technically a monarchy, Karse is, in practice, more of a Theocracy. The actual governing of the country is done by the Church of V'Kandis Sunlord, led by the Son of the Sun. The current Son of the Sun, instead of being chosen by a council as had been done for a very long time, was chosen by a statue of V'kandis himself, which came to life and placed its crown onto Solaris's head.
Solaris has made peace with both Valdemar and Hardorn. Hardorn
- For ages, Hardorn was quite peaceful with Valdemar, until King Alessandar was murdered, replaced on the throne by his power-hungry son Ancar, who made two wars on Valdemar. Eventually it was discovered that Ancar was being manipulated by the mysterious Eastern Empire, and after Ancar was killed, the Empire sent a man named Tremane to conquer the land.
This backfired on the empire, however, as Tremane became popular with the locals, and became King of Hardorn by binding him to the land of Hardorn and awakening his Earthsense. After this, Tremane severed ties with the Empire, around the time when the existing Gates were destroyed by the ending of the Mage Storms. Iftel
- For ages, Iftel was a mysterious secret, its borders shut to all but only a few traders. With the ending of the Mage Storms, however, the god-created shield around the country came down, and the strange gryphons that inhabited the land, began to make diplomatic ties with the surrounding countries. As in Karse, the Sunlord is worshiped in Iftel. - CHARACTER SHEET -Name:
(This should be fantasy-like, but not over-the-top. One name only, unless your character is a noble, Tayledras, or comes from another country. If a noble, please consult with a GM as to the name of your family's holdings. If Tayledras, please choose a Vale from the list provided, and put a "k'" in front of it, such as k'Valdemar. If your character comes from another country, PLEASE keep it to the list of countries provided and put "of Countryname" after your character's name, which should fit with any naming schemes of the country you have chosen, e.g. Kethryveris of Mornedealth, Albrecht of Karse, or Darenthalis of Rethwellan. Canon name examples from Valdemar: Kris, Skif, Savil, Vanyel, Elspeth, Selenay.)Occupation:
(Please see the above explanation and choose one.)Companion/Bondbird's Name:
(If a bondbird, please include the species of bird.)Appearance:
(Please be as descriptive as possible.)Personality:
(What's your character like?)OPTIONAL History:
(This section is entirely optional, but extremely
good Histories will be rewarded with more Ability points.)Skills:
(Please detail your character's skills here. If a History is present, it MUST explain the skillset which you have chosen. Remember that even the smallest skill has a use.)Abilities:
You have 7 points to spend here, as per the list below. Please include the level at which you have bought each of your abilities. If you do not wish your character to have any of the above abilities (for example, if you wish to play a soldier, rather than a Herald), please send me a PM, and we will work out special abilities. Also, you need not spend ALL of the points, if you do not wish to.
Note that all Heralds and Tayledras have the ability to Mindspeak with their Companion or bondbird.Mindspeech: 1, 3, or 5 points
- 1 point denotes a weak gift of Mindspeech, with the ability to speak to people only when they are within line-of-sight. 3 points gives a larger area of affect, and the target may be out of the range of sight, up to two miles away. 5 points shows an extremely strong gift, and the user may speak to multiple people at one time within a 3-mile radius. Mindspeech at 3 or 5 points may be combined with Farsight, if applicable, to speak to targets over great distances. Farsight: 1, 3, or 5 points
- Much like Scrying, though Farsight is a psionic ability. 1 point allows the user to see over great distances, and 3 points extends the length of time this ability may be active. 5 points increases the level of the gift again, giving a wider range and more active time. Empathy: 3 or 5 points
- 3 points gives the ability to feel the emotions of others, a receptive-only ability. 5 points, on the other hand, adds a projective aspect. Foresight: 1 or 5 points
- 1 point allows the character to see glimpses of the future (Some characters are better at seeing the immediate future, and some are better at seeing the distant future. This will depend on your character.). 5 points gives the ability not only to see more specific points in time, but to see multiple possible futures. Fetching: 1, 3, or 5 points
- The ability to teleport objects. 1 point denotes that only small objects may be moved short distances. 3 points allows larger objects to be moved over greater distances. At 5 points, it is feasible to Fetch a person, though instances of such are rare. Bardic Gift: 3 points
- The ability to bespell others with a tale or song, and have them experience the emotions that the work is meant to convey. Healing: 3, 5, or 7 points.
- The ability to heal physical wounds. A rank of 3 indicates that you can treat minor sicknesses and causation wounds. At 5 points, you are able, with time, to heal someone of mortal wounds. If 7, you have been trained in Mindhealing.Animal Mindspeech: 1 or 3 points
- The ability to speak with the minds of animals. At 1 point, the range is very limited, and you may speak with only one animal at a time which is within 30 feet. At 3 points, the range is expanded, and you may speak to a number of animals in the vicinity at the same time. Firestarting: 1, 5, or 7 points
- 1 point gives your character the ability to start very small fires, like candle flames. 5 points gives enough power to, say, immolate a human being. 7 points denotes a VERY strong Firestarting ability, with the potential to sear whole mountainsides. Mage Power: 3, 5, or 7 points
- Mage power is the ability to performe true magic. Each rank of this power corresponds to the potential power your character may finally obtain. 3 points indicates a Journeyman-level potential, 5, a Master-level potential, and 7, an Adept-level potential. Note that your character's Mage potential may grow or decrease depending on your actions IN GAME.