Valerio de Lopez
Aasimar Knight of Solamnia
I am Valerio de Lopez I was born in the village of Descanso Do Soldado (Soldier’s Rest) that is located south of Kalaman on the road to Sanction. Our village is the last out post before entering the badlands of Taman Busk.
We are a simple people who make our living by catering to the National Army that keeps an outpost here as protection from orc invasions. My mother was a victim of misfortune and for many years she provided for our family as a woman of society (prostitute) until she died of the Woman’s Plague when I was but 6 years old. I never knew my father and we had learned at an early age to not question our mother concerning the men she knew.
After her death I spent several years begging on the streets and saw as the National Army was replaced by the Kalamani Guard. I saw and was afraid of what their new weapons could do. I watched as they abused our people and demanded services and goods without paying for them. Our town has suffered greatly and many talk of revolution. The streets were full of children like me who had no one to care for them.
When I was 8 years old I was saved from the streets by a kindly weaponsmith his name was Gregor Slivas. In all the turmoil he had continued to make made decent living by selling customized and specialized weapons to the Cardinal’s Guard. He and his wife being unable to conceive children on their own had come to the riverside slums to pick a child that they could raise and love. Being favored of the Gods in both looks and health I was blessed to be chosen by them and began a new time of joy in my life. I apprenticed to my adopted father and learned his trade. For the next 8 years I grew and learned from the knowledge of my new father. I matured through the devotion and nurturing of my new mother.
My youth was marked by an unusual propensity for me to get into trouble for defending those things that I felt were right and just. I made many true friends and many true enemies by always striving to do what my heart told me was right and good. I grew in favor and devotion to the gods of light and in defending those who could not do for themselves.
When I turned 16 my father allowed me to bid my first job on my own. I contracted with one Marque de Sol to create a sword of exceptional balance for his personal use. He promised to pay me 100 Pieces for the sword. A great bargain for him, but that is the how one begins to make a name in the craft. I labored with all diligence to create the weapon and when I was done the Marque returned to retrieved the weapon and handed me a bag of 100 steel pieces (which are no longer of any worth in the lands controlled by Kalaman.) When I protested that the payment was unjust he became angry. My father stepped in and demanded a fair price for the work or that he return the weapon. An argument ensued. For his insults the Marque returned the weapon by sheathing it in my father’s chest. My father took a brand from the fire and in the throws of death jabbed it into the hand of the Marque branding him with our family mark. The Marque’s men joined the fight as the Marque retired nursing his hand. I picked up a hammer and ran to my father’s defense, but I was shot by a musket ball before I could reach him. The world went black.
When I awoke I was dizzy and disoriented the world around me filled with smoke and fire. I realized that the smithy and the house had been burnt to the ground. My father’s body was near to me and crawled to him to find him already dead. I never found my mother’s head, only the burnt remains of her decapitate body lying in the rubble of the house.
After burying my parents I found myself without home or means. The smithy had been looted and stripped of all stock and valuables. I did, however, still have the bag of 100 steel pieces that was meant as payment for the sword. I decided then that my only hope was go somewhere that this money was good and gather the things I need to start a new life. Perhaps one day I would return to my homeland and avenge the murder of my family.
I was taken in for several weeks by Matthias Krusak a half-orc tracker that was friends with my father. He cared for my wounds and provided me with a some cloths, a little coin, few supplies for my journey and pointed me in the direction of Salomnia. He told me to avoid the orc lands for the clans has joined together for the first time ever and were planning a war with Kalaman to prevent the annihilation of their people. It was an indication of how far our kingdom had fallen that I could rely those of orc blood for compassion and honor, but not those of my own people who were writhing under the boot of the Cardinal.
I traveled cross country to the city of Throtyl and then took the Southern road along the river into Gaarlund. On the road I found Sir Samuel Shieldstrike. Sir Samuel was an old knight of the Salomnic order with a thick Kharolisian accent. He was aged and I would expect that he had seen more than 60 summers in his lifetime. His long grey mustache flowed from his helm to his chest and his eyes were grey as iron. I found him lying on the side of the road with several musket balls embedded in his legs. There was no doubt who had attacked the elderly knight. Only the Cardinal’s Guard have access to such weaponry. They didn’t even give him the dignity of death, they wounded his legs and left him where he was as a message to those who would defy them. I attempted to treat the knight and found him burning with fever and infection, not even conscious enough to drink. So, I gathered him up and put him back on his horse and collected his things. I cared for him and traveled without stop for 2 days until we reached the town of Maelgoth. There I found a healer that was able to assist Sir Samuel, but in doing so had to remove his legs at mid-thigh. After several weeks of care the Knight began to come around. My funds were running low, but I found that since my steel coin was good here I could provide for Sir Samuel and myself for some time yet.
Sir Samuel was grateful to me for rescuing him and as he healed over the next several months he instructed me in the Oath and the Measure and vowed to repay my kindness with training and instruction. We talked of the knighthood and of the way mankind should be. We spoke of the gods and of nobility. I took a job at a small smithy and rented a room at the local tavern where Sir Samuel could rest during the day in the company of those who still respected the Knights and sleep comfortably in a warm bed at night.
Three years had passed before I knew it and Sir Samuel was teaching me to be a knight, Not just the martial aspects, but also the responsibility. We trained day in and day out (except when I was at the forge.) He trained me with the Claymore and short sword as they are the customary weapons of his homeland. He trained me in tactics and combat, both mounted and on foot. He taught me that a knights strength is in his heart and not in his arm and that a man could defeat a thousand foes by a single act of leadership or kindness, but he could only defeat one foe at time with his sword. Then one morning he called me to his bedside and said that I had completed what is considered the period of Squireship as required in the Oath and Measure and that if I desired to become a knight he would bestow his earthly goods upon me as he would the son that he had never had and send me on to Palanthas with a writ of sponsorship to get me admitted into the knighthood.
I felt I finally found my call in life. A place where I could be supported in the cause of good and right that I had always felt obliged to follow. I accepted the offer and took position of Sir Samuel’s knightly raiment and weapons. He created the writ for me and instructed me to present myself in Palanthas. He instructed me that when I arrived that his horse and armor were to to be turned over to the knighthood as they were not his property to bestow, but that his sword would protect me as long as I was true to the Oath and Measure and that all his other adventuring gear was mine to do with as I saw fit. I left all my coin with the inkeeper who assured me that it was enough provide for his needs for at least another year and began my journey to Palanthas.
When I reached the High Clerist tower I found that Palanthas had fallen and so presented myself to you, the High Council of the Knighthood. I have done all that Sir Samuel Shieldstrike bade me. I provide to you the writ of sponsorship and I present here my declaration of intent to become one of your noble order. I admit in all truth that my heritage is not of nobility, but (as Sir Samuel recognized) my heart is. I ask to be proven through the trial of quests.
Valerio de Lopez
This declaration was accepted on the recommendation of a Senior Knight and Squire Valerio de Lopez is assigned to perform the following 3 quests and present proof of success to this council within one year.
Quest 1 – Retrieve Sir Samuel from the town of Maelgoth and return him forthwith to the High Clerists tower where he may spend the remainder of his days among the companionship of his piers.
Quest 2 – Find and capture the Marque de Sol and bring him to the High Clerist tower to testify of his crimes. In the event of his death Squire Lopez may present a person of honor to stand as a witness of his demise.
Quest 3 – Perform at least one act of defiance in the face of the Cardinal of Kalamani’s forces. This act must be deemed as one of honor and of value in the sight of this council and there must be at least 2 witnesses willing to bear testimony in his behalf concerning the act.
Signed and Sealed by The High Council of the Salomnic Order of Knighthood.
Court Transcript from the Trial of the Marque de Sol of Kalaman held on crimes of theivery, robbery, and murder.
Sir Burnam Whiteholt – acting head of the Order of the Rose presiding.
Sir Whiteholt: Squire de Lopez, stand forth and accuse the Marque.
Squire de Lopez: Nobel council, I present for your judgement that the Marque de Sol did knowingly and in a position of authority did cause that my adopted parents Greggor and Mariana Silvas be murdered in cold blood. He furthermore took possession of all their earthly belongings and burned their residence and property to the ground. At the same time the Marque de Sol did also make an attempt on my life and only by the grace of the gods of light was I spared. I further through testimony of reliable witnesses accuse the Marque of the crimes of rape, assault, and heresy and present to the council the written and sealed testimony of the victims of these crimes.
Marque de Sol you may now speak to the accusations that have been presented to this council.
Marque de Sol: I refuse to plead before this court! I was unlawfully kidnapped from my lands and brutally driven into hostile territory. I am nothing more than a prisoner of a war that has yet to begin and your actions today will be heard by the Cardinal himself I guarantee it gentlemen! What gives you the right to decide what is a crime in lands that do not belong to you?
Sir Whiteholt: Sir, we are the Knights of Salomnia and are oath bond to the gods of light to defend injustice wherever it may spring. We are from many lands and we claim authority to exercise the strong arm of riotousness wherever there is cause. Answer the accusations sir or we will find you guilty on all counts.
Marque de Sol: Then sir there will be a war between our people. The mighty are of Branchala will trample your old knighthood beneath their feet and this very tower will be toppled to dust by the thunderous cacophony of our mighty weapons. Do with me what you will I will not beg before a used up order of old farts.
Sir Whiteholt: Knight Captain remove this man from our presence. We find him guilty on all accounts and sentence him to hang by the neck until dead. Then see to it that his body is shipped back to the Cardinal of Kalaman with our best regards.
End of Transcript
I am Squire Valerio de Lopez and present here my written report of the capture of the Marque de Sol and was assigned to me by the High Council.
I left the Tower of the High Clerist on the morning of August 4. I travelled due east across the plains of Salomnia and then turned south until I reached the city of Jansberg. I spent 1 day in Jansberg restocking my supplies and then proceeded east toward my homeland. On my way I saw many companies of Kalamani soldiers and as such made the decision that it was more important for me to complete my quest as assigned than engage and/or harass them. For the next several weeks I journeyed in a direct route to my homeland and upon reaching the city i found it in disarray. All the respectable tradesman were gone and their buildings and homes replaced by brothels and houses of strong drink.
I had several engagements with the soldiers and dishonorable populous of the town when they thrust insult and degradation upon me and upon the knighthood. In one such altercation I drew my sword and found it glowing with the white light of the gods and it spoke to me saying, " Sonny, this town bears the stink of corruption and deceit. have at them!" Not entirely sure what to make of this I did as instructed without hesitation and was successful in defeating 4 armed villains. Once captured I enquired of them where the Marque de Sol could be found and they (amidst profanity and all manner of filthy speech) told me that he now resided in the city of Kalaman. He was, I found out, a relative of the Cardinal.
Emboldened by this information I made my way north to the city of Kalaman. I will break briefly from the account of my quest in order to give you all the knowledge that I have gained concerning the capital city.
Kalaman is a walled city on the norther coastline. They have new weapons that guard the walls and port. Cannon they call them and they are like catapults in that they can (with roar of fire and thunder) propel a stone or ball of large size accurately across a great distance. The city is heavily fortified by soldiers that wear little or no armor, but carry miniature versions of these cannons called muskets. A musket can fire a small metal ball about the size of a marble across a distance of 50 to 100 feet. The ball can penetrate even platemail and inflicts heinous wounds that are quickly filled with vile infections.
The city itself seems to be rotting from the inside out. The buildings and architecture is grand and beautiful in a gaudy sort of way, but society is crumbling within. The knights are not welcome and most respectable tradesman have left the city. I could not find even one blacksmith to re-shoe my steed within the city walls.
Prices of even the most mundane of items and services have risen astronomically and the traditional Steel piece is no longer of any value in the city. All things are paid for with a gold coin that bears the image of the Cardinal on one side and his symbol on the other. Money changers would only give me 1 of these coins for every 10 good steel pieces. I found that just brokering a room at an inn cost me over 5 of these coins or the equivalent of 50 steel pieces a night and as such I forced to camp some distance out of town and ride in each day. During my short ride into town each morning I would see the remains of the city officials work during the night. The poor, the orphaned, and the homeless were abused and thrown from the city. Women (usually widows) were raped and beaten and then tossed from the city without cloths. Children were beaten and in some cases abused until death and then discarded well beyond the walls of the city. Men trying to shield their families from the abuse were shot and wounded. Left to die of infection. All this was done because the prevailing belief among the Kalamani elite is that these poor people are cursed of the gods. that they deserve what they get and they are a blemish upon the high society of the city. Likewise all other races; dwarf and elf, colored men from the south lands, and all other races are banned from the city upon penalty of death.
One night I observed a strange ship make port in the private docks of the city. Column after column of elven men, women, and children were herded like cattle off of the boat in chains. I overheard the sailors speak of the high price that the nobility will pay for elven slaves. Then after all the slaves were emptied from the ship the captain came on take with a beautiful young elven girl. he said that her name was Alahandra Nightsong and that she was the daughter of a Silvanesti king. he claimed that the Marque de Sol himself was going to pay them 1000 coins for her to use as his “bed maiden”.
At this point I had all that I could bear. I had found that my sword was always glowing of late and I had feared to draw it> I know that the increased attention to myself at this juncture would result in my failing my quest. I followed the captain and his men to the house of the Marque. When the transaction was about to take place I drew my sword and the light of the gods filled the area. Men stepped back, blinded by radiance of it. A voice emanated from the sword once again saying, “This is intolerable, we shall send these cowardly snakes to the Abyss where the belong. Give them hell!” I attacked, severely out numbered and without assistance I cried the battle cry of our order and charged. There were 4 sailors including the captain, 2 guards and the Marque. In the first few minutes I had slain the guards, but had suffered several wounds myself. I was in a defensive position when I noticed that to me left was a man of the Estwilde and to my right appeared a Nordmarrian Noble. They joined the attack and we prevailed. When the fight was over I followed the Nordmarrian to a place he deemed safe. I had in custody both the Marque and the Captain. We had also rescued the elven princess.
The men who had assisted me were one Demarcus Soote and a Angeli di Ganis. Through the remainder of the night we talked of the corruption in the city and of plans to help the people here and I felt that the third part of my test for Knighthood had been revealed to me. I made a pact then and there to rejoin these men as soon as possible and strike a blow at the evil in that city.
For the journey home I brokered passage on a ship that was crewed by Kalamani sailors that were pushed out when the Cardinal took power. Apparently they have been striking at the Cardinals navy whenever opportunity presented itself and I believe that they might be willing allies to subvert the city from the inside.
On the journey home I made 2 important discoveries of which I will make mention here. First, the Elven girl is the second daughter of Sivanious Nightsong the speaker of the Stars. She is Qualinesti not Silvanesti and was living with her family in Silvanos to avoid the war taking place in her homeland. Second, the sword that was given to me by Sir Samuel Shieldstrike is known to the knighthood as Severo Cavaliere the Sword of the Oath. It has been born into battle by many Knights of the order for many years and can speak with the power of the gods of light who endowed it to fight evil men.
I make this report and request that the Knights care for Alahandra until I can return her safely to her family. I further request permission to return to Kalaman and complete my tests by striking at the heart of this corrupt city.
I am Squire Valerio de Lopez and I sign this report with my own hand.
Some notes on Valerio:
He prefers to be called Val by his friends.
He is deeply devoted to the ideals and designs of the Knighthood.
He does not know that he is other than pure human.
The only outward sign of his Assimar heritage is his extreme good looks and strong personality (18 chr).
He makes friends easily and due to his rough childhood esteems his best friends as close as family.
His personality is usually relaxed and easy going, but there is a rage that boils within him and can rise to the surface when the situation calls for it.
He has a secret he keeps from most people and that is that he is fascinated by magic.
He was never exposed to it in his youth and now that he has seen it he finds it mesmerizing.
He has yet to see it used for evil.
Val has fallen deeply in love with Alahandra Nightsong and although he is unsure if his feelings will be returned he has been recently encouraged by her willingness to wait at the High Clerist’s tower for his return before journeying home.
She has also given him a necklace bearing a pendant that is inset with the Elven Star (we can decide later if it is a Star Jewel or not.)
Although he doesn’t have living family he is very close to his mentor Sir Samuel Shieldstrike and his half-orc friend Matthias Krusak.
Val is a weaponsmith of some skill (took the Feat skill focus: weaposmithing.)
Val is competitive and enjoys any game of challenge whether it be physical or mental.
Val’s favorite color is white and he has had a white cloak made for himself that is easily recognizable.
He takes as good of care of his cloak as he does of his weapons and armor.
Val has always had a deep hatred for evil.
Note about Severo Cavaliere:
The name of the sword literally translates to Stern Knight.
Here is (in part) its story:
It was created before the cataclysm by a master Kharolisian weaponsmith and still bears his mark on the blade. the sword was purchased by was a Kharlosian noble one Mac McConnough who travelled to Palanthas and became a knight. He was notable as a knight for his fearlessness in battle and his stubborn insistence on using a Hand-and-a-half sword when most all knights at the time used a long sword and shield. He rose to prominence among the Knights of the Crown. One night while Sir McConnough was praying in the temple there was an attack. Evil assassins had infiltrated the grounds and the temple itself and were quietly slaying the priests and patrons. Since there was no way to tell friend from foe the High Cleric blessed the sword so that when Sir McConnough came across men filled with evil intent it would glow. He took the sword and began to hunt the killers. He had the priests bar all the doors so that none could escape, knowing full well that this meant that no help could come to him. When the deed was done all the killers were killed. In an climatic battle Sir McConnough was backed up against an alter by the last 4 trained assassins who had realized what he was doing he defeated them all, but Sir McConnough was gravely wounded. He died on that alter in the temple as his life’s blood drained down it and onto the floor before he could be healed.He was then buried in the temple in a magnificent crypt placed directly below the alter upon which he had died. The sword was set atop his crypt and a painting was commissioned which still hangs in the temple to this day to honor his sacrifice.
One day many years later a young squire was studying the history of the Knights and the Church and had gone to the crypt to see the place where Sir McConnough was laid. Being a little mischievous the young squire took the sword and removed from its scabbard. It was then that the sword first spoke. From that time forth the Sword has passed through members of the Knighthood and always seems to appear where there is need. It refuses to serve anyone that is not tied to the Knights. It has the personality of an old gruff knight. A grumpy grandfather for which a young knight can never preform good enough, but it also seems to have a grandfatherly like pride when it speaks of the deeds of its past owners. It does not claim to be the spirit of Sir McConnough although many have conjectured that it is he. Its legend states that it has great powers, but no one has ever proven it is anything more than an annoying voice that can point out evil men with startling accuracy.
Valerio has learned from Severo that there are many powers that it can provide, but that a knight must earn the right to unlock those powers. So far, very few knight have had the valor to do so.
In game terms Severo is an intelligent weapon that can speak Salomnic and Kharolisian. It is a Kharolisian Claymore (bastard sword) of magnificent craftsmanship. It has the following ability scores Int
14, Wis -14, Chr 10. It can currently use the Bless ability to help Valerio 3x a day. Aside from its intelligence it is a +1 Bane weapon. It targets Evil Humanoids and will be enhanced with the Bane abilities when battling with them. It claims that, " I can smell the evil in them, lad." It will also glow bright white in the presence of the evil humanoids (picture Frodo’s sword around orcs.) This glowing ability cannot be suppressed although it can be muted by sheathing the blade. Unfortunately Severo has the unnerving habit of unsheathing himself and speaking loudly to rebuke the evil men people he senses.