Talen: The History

Talen is a bladesinger, the elite elven warriors. However, his training as a bladesinger serves another purpose as well. Talen is one of the few elves who has felt all his life he is destined to become one of the mysterious Sentinels of the Coldwood. Due to the release of Darnakurian and Hunger, he has now been robbed of this ‘destiny’. He now finds himself taking on the role of adventurer alongside the other members of The Ministry.

Talen is quiet, reserved, and very serious. At times, his calm demeanor is somewhat disconcerting and sometimes leads one to believe that he is uncaring. This is not the case. He is not quick to anger and, in fact, has only lost his temper once in recent memory. He is not quick to make friends but his loyalty to those he calls friends knows no bounds.

Talen has been training all his life. From an early age, when he first took up the longsword and learned to wield it according to the beautiful yet deadly blade song, he learned to recognize and manipulate the flow of magic around him. To recent years, when he began his training as a Sentinel, Talen has trained to be the best and, one of the best he has become. It is a testament to his dedication and perseverance that he has accomplished so much at so young an age. Few elves have been given the honor of donning the mantle of “Sentinel” so early in their lives. A fact, of which he is proud, yet humble.

Talen‘s destiny (as he sees it) to become a Sentinel, like his father and grandfather before him, is what drives him. He feels honored to be allowed to follow in their footsteps. Unfortunately, the release of Darnakurian and Hunger by Tryiok has prevented him from joining the ranks of the Sentinels. He has taken it upon himself to rectify the matter – a lofty goal indeed. While confident in his abilities, he sometimes wonders whether he has made the right choice in pursuing the matter. He then thinks of the consequences of allowing Hunger to return to Darnakurian‘s grasp and knows what must be done. While not officially a Sentinel, he has adopted most of the traits of those he has met. He truly believes it is only a matter of time.

Talen stands somewhat tall for an elf (5’8″) and weighs 160 lbs. Every male in his family that he remembers (father and grandfather) has been tall and so he associates it with his “Sentinel heritage”. Due to the intense training he has undergone, he possesses a remarkably muscular frame. His long black hair falls to mid-back and is usually tied back in a ponytail. Talen dresses simply, wearing monastic robes (common to all Sentinels) of deep purple coloring with golden runes adorning the borders (I hate to make this analogy but they look like Jedi robes, that’s the way I picture it). Strapped to his side is his longsword. His hand can usually be found resting on the hilt, ready to draw it at a moment’s notice.

Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that Talen wears some type of armor beneath his robes. In fact, it is the suit of enchanted elven chain presented to him by his mentor’s on the Lendore Isles. He was also presented with a ring of warmth to help him overcome the extreme temperatures within the Coldwood. The longsword found at his side, while simple, is extremely well kept. As they say, “A bladesinger’s weapon is an extension of himself…”

Perhaps the most striking of Talen‘s features are his eyes. They are violet in color and are well contrasted by his dark hair and milky skin. Violet eyes are rare, even among elves. It is said that those with violet eyes are born to a special purpose. Only time will tell if this true or not.

Talen bears the mark of his bladesinger faction on his left shoulder. It is a tattoo of a Black Panther, which represents the graceful yet deadly manner in which his faction wields its weapon of choice – the longsword. The tattoo is quite unremarkable until Talen begins practicing his deadly dance. At this point, the creature seems to take on a life of its own – shifting and moving in accordance with its bearer’s motions. Perhaps it is a trick of the light or perhaps magic? No one truly knows except for the bladesingers themselves and they do not offer any explanation.

Whenever Talen gets the opportunity, he practices the bladesong through its many “dances” and the required meditations. Its rhythmic, deceptive, and entrancing motions awe those bearing witness to the movements of the “dance”. Its precisely choreographed motions belie its effective and deadly nature. It seems like there is a dance for every occasion one would encounter on the field of battle and Talen moves from one to next seamlessly. One loses sight of the longsword when observing the hypnotic bladesong; it seems to be an extension of the wielder being rather than just merely a weapon.

Talen also studies the stars. It is a pastime acquired from his father. Talen can be seen staring into space for hours on end. He finds astrology relaxing and informative. “Sometimes the stars reveal things which otherwise would remain hidden. Nature never lies…” his father used to say. Talen will speak openly and enthusiastically with any who shows an interest in the stars. Unfortunately, such souls are few and far between.

The only place Talen can truly call home is his mother’s residence within the elven community of the Grandwood, although, he has not returned to visit in many years. Mostly, because he has been training in the Lendore Isles.

Talen does not have many people he would call friend. His isolation as a result of his training has led him to become somewhat of a loner. However, his travels with the Ministry are quickly changing this. While there are not many he would call a true friend, as of yet, he counts most of them as allies. Including the dark elf S’Thiss but excluding Khaal Wraath. He also has allies amongst the bladesingers of the Grandwood with whom he trained.

Perhaps the closest person in his life, other than his mother, would be Elraniel Tesmaries, the elven trainer in Greyhawk City. After passing the tests at the Moon Arch of Sehanine, Talen had learned many things and also had many questions. He was sent to Greyhawk City to help him come to terms with what he had learned. Talen spent some time with Elraniel before departing for Lendore. He considers him to be a surrogate father. He has the utmost respect for him and would call him a true friend.

Right now, Talen is embroiled in the Tharizdun Gambit along with other members of the Ministry. He knows the importance of stopping the dark god’s return and has consequently put his quest aside for the moment. He has undertaken the task of returning Hunger to the Coldwood. In truth, Talen doesn’t know if this is truly possible. The magic which kept Darnakurian and Hunger bound for centuries has been shattered, and it was the most powerful wizards of the legendary “City of the Summer Stars” who created the binding spell. Are there mages powerful enough to restore such a powerful enchantment? Regardless, Talen has his mission and it will be accomplished. He will take his place among the Sentinels and perhaps, become one of the greatest of their number!

The Ministry‘s recent discovery of a tome detailing the destruction of the City of Summer Stars by the Ur-Flannae is now in his possession. Although he has not had the opportunity to study the tome, Talen believes it may contain some very important information regarding the magical corruption of the land. Should he discover what type of evil magic has been used to corrupt the land, perhaps it can be reversed and the legendary City of the Summer Stars can be resurrected.

Talen was born to a family of bladesingers in the Grandwood. He was an only child. At an early age, his father was called to take the mantle of a Sentinel and consequently had to leave. His mother, a lieutenant in the bladesinger regiment, then raised Talen. Talen was thus enrolled in the bladesinger academy at a very young age. In a sense, he was adopted by many of the bladesingers as a “little brother”, and they taught him well. Talen learned the intricacies of the bladesong, how to grasp and manipulate the magic that existed in all things around him, and of his elven ancestry. Talen studied extremely hard, always practicing, and always wanting to learn more. His resolve and thirst for knowledge impressed many of the bladesingers and he rose through the ranks rapidly. He was even given command of his own small party. His mother could not have been more proud.

One day, while on patrol, Talen began to feel a strange “calling” in his head. It spoke of death and rebirth… he was frightened and attempted to ignore it. However, the urge became stronger and stronger until Talen could no longer fight it. With a scream, he fainted from the exertion.

Talen awoke to find his mother by his side. Apparently, his patrol had found him in the middle of the Grandwood, unconscious, and returned him to the city. He hurriedly attempted to explain what had happened but his mother just quieted him and pointed to the corner. Standing up from the table nearby was a figure Talen did not recognize. An aging elf, he was introduced as Elraniel Tesmaries. Talen sat with Elraniel for many hours and they discussed what he had experienced. Elraniel explained that the “calling” Talen had felt was indeed a call to “die”, but not in the literal sense of the word. It was to be associated with the death of his old life to be reborn into a new one, that of a sentinel. Talen was awed and honored. He was also happy because he could finally be reunited with his father, who had been gone for so long. Elraniel explained that Talen must journey to the Moonarch of Sehanine and undergo the tests and then join him in Greyhawk City.

Talen did as he was told, bidding his old life a fond farewell and travelling to the Moonarch of Sehanine. He underwent the three tests given by avatars of the elven pantheon. The whole process was awe inspiring to say the least. The tests judged his very being and left him tired and disoriented… but he passed. And those that tested him were impressed. However, while many tests give definite answers, these tests just led to more questions. And so, Talen journeyed to Greyhawk City to meet Elraniel once again.

Talen spent many months with Elraniel, who helped him come to terms with what he learned during the testing. Although confused when he first arrived, upon his departure, Talen was a new man, more confident, wise, and intelligent. He truly understood what it meant to be an elf. He was now ready to begin his training as a Sentinel. For this, Elraniel informed him, would take place at the mysterious Lendore Isles.

Upon arrival at the Lendore Isles, Talen could not believe the beauty that surrounded him at every turn. It was by far the most beautiful place he had ever seen; perhaps it even matched the beauty and serenity of the legendary City of the Summer Stars! His training began almost immediately. It was hard and enduring but Talen still flourished despite the extreme conditions. His mentors and the sages of the Lendore Isles were truly impressed that one so young could display the courage and fortitude necessary for the training and exceed even their expectations, they were pleased. For unbeknownst to him, the Sages of Lendore had already foreseen the release of Darnakurian and Hunger, the fall of the Sentinels, and the cataclysm that would follow, and so, Talen‘s destiny was revealed to them. He would be one of the key figures in the final confrontation with Darnakurian. With that accomplished, he would be there to pick up the pieces of those Sentinels that remained and lead them into a new era.

With his training complete, Talen left the Lendore Isles to join his brothers in the Coldwood. However, what he discovered when he arrived would shock him. Upon entering the Coldwood, he was not greeted by a Sentinel, as was customary. He continued on, toward Bitterness only to find signs of a great battle throughout the forest. Upon arrival at the keep, he discovered a funeral pyre and three Sentinels standing guard. As he approached and explained who he was, the expression of sadness on the faces of the guardians only deepened and tears began to flow. They recounted the story of the battle against Tryiok and the aid of the Ministry. Of how Darnakurian and Hunger had been released and how Tryiok had captured the sword but it was taken away by the Ministry before he could properly wield it. They explained how many Sentinels died in battle and how some of those that survived took their own life out of grief for allowing both Darnakurian and Hunger to escape. They and a few others remained because the Ministry had promised to return both to the Coldwood. Talen too, began to cry. His calling had been denied. For how can one become a Sentinel with nothing to guard? It was at that point that Talen vowed that he would seek out Darnakurian and Hunger and return them to the Coldwood, thereby restoring the Sentinel‘s purpose and saving those who yet lived. On Lendore, the Sages smiled for they knew he walked the path of destiny.

Talen left the Coldwood to seek out Darnakurian and Hunger. His path would lead him to the Ministry and the beginning of his quest…

Author: Dave L