Forgotten Realms - Rites of Ascension
Commander Durin Thrandheim
A generally cheery and helpful dwarf, Durin seeks little more than to aid those in need and do what little he can to make the world a little less harsh.
HP 84 AC 26 Fort 22 Ref 22 Will 22
Str 17 – Con 16 – Dex 9 – Int 15 – Wis 16 – Cha 17
For most of his early life, Durin yearned for but one thing: to settle down as a bartender and innkeeper of his own establishment. These ambitions had to be kept mostly under wraps as the Thrandheim family clan, to which he belonged, had a traditional and proud history as diplomats and advisors to Kings. An “ale-schlocker” was not a desirable position for one of their ranks.
As a young dwarf (just after his 30th birthday) Durin left his home city of Athkatla to join the Amn regimental army, as it was the surest way of getting some decent wages to support his financially faltering family. During his years in the service, his only tie back to his family was his younger brother Turin, with whom he corresponded monthly. The once affluent Thrandheim family had fallen on particularly hard financial time following the death of Durin’s father Mordin. His mother Grenda refused to acknowledge that the family coffers had dwindled down to next to nothing, and any suggestion of selling off even the smallest trinket was met with an indignant scoff at the notion of throwing such an heirloom away.
Turin Thrandheim continued to look after their aging mother while Durin was off in the regimentals. A precocious dwarf, Turin was considered a fine scholar and an exceptional legal mind. While the family fortune dwindled rapidly, Turin’s meager earnings as Court Clerk (a well respected initiate position, if poorly paid) were not nearly enough to sustain both him and their mother. The portion of Durin’s wages which they received became increasingly crucial for basic living expenses.
As Grenda lived out the autumn years of her life she became increasingly bitter at her circumstance, and retreated further and further into the memory of better times. When she passed away suddenly one cold winter evening, Turin was quite unable to handle her departure. Having been saddled with the heavy burden of providing for the household, as well as the all too clear disappointment of his beloved mother, Turin had taken to drinking a little too heavily compared with how little money he had to spare. Following Grenda’s death, Turing felt the sharp pangs of defeated even more strongly and turned to the comfort of drinking his feelings of failure away.
Upon receiving a rather poorly written letter from his brother (the handwriting was near illegible) informing him of what had happened, Durin quickly acquired a leave of absence from his regiment and made his way back to Athkatla. While providing as much support as he could, Durin was unable to properly console his little brother following their mother’s passing. With the Thrandheim household all but collapsed, the last few heirlooms were sold off to pay off the family’s sizeable debt. The brothers then parted ways; Durin returned to his military career, and Turin moved into a cheap apartment in Waukeen’s Promenade (a merchant district of Athkatla) with hopes of continuing his legal career. Durin attempted stay in contact with his brother, but his letters were rarely returned and the two eventually lost touch.
After some 30 years in the regimentals, Durin had earned an honorable discharge and had saved up enough to invest in his dream establishment. Returning to Athkatla in search of his brother, Durin was shocked to eventually find his brother penny-less, drunk and heavily in debt, living in the city slums. Attempting to rescue his brother from himself, Durin convinced Turin to move with him to Waterdeep. There they could start a new life working together in the innkeeping business.
Once in Waterdeep, Durin was quick to purchase a small but quaint piece of property just on the outskirts of town. Working tirelessly, and with some help from his recovering brother, Durin was able to transform the old guard house into a modest tavern and inn which he named Tidings Turn. As the months passed the modest tavern and inn started drawing a regular crowd of travelers and merchants, and the venture began turning a profit. Much of this profit went into upgrading the quality of the ale served as well as paying off some of Turin’s more serious debts. Durin and Turin both lived at the Tidings Turn, and whenever Turin was level headed enough (not too hung over), he ironically proved an excellent accountant and assistant manager.
The Tidings Turn had only been in business for little over a year when Durin decided it was time to invest more heavily in its future. Durin hired a small caravan to accompany him into the Merchant’s Ward of Waterdeep and purchase the necessary equipment to set up a brewery at the Inn. Turin had not been away from his older brother’s watchful gaze since the move from Athkatla, and Durin was at first hesitant to leave Turin in charge of the establishment. He reasoned however that trust would be just the thing to inspire his brother and return him to his old ambitious self.
The trip to the Merchant’s Ward proved very successful and Durin headed back with a full caravan of brewing equipment, recipes, mugs, and reserve barrels of fine ale. It was dusk when Durin’s small caravan left the inner city and began approaching the Tidings Turn. An eerie glow in the dwindling light alerted Durin to something frightful. Cresting the last hill Durin beheld the Tidings Turn ablaze. Rushing into the inferno to search for his brother, Durin found him unconscious in the cellar, most of their remaining ale barrels lying emptied and broken close by. Heaving his brother out of the blaze into the cool night, Durin was at first convinced that the fire had been started by debt collectors from the Athkatla slums angered with Turin’s slow repayment. It soon became painfully apparent, however, that the fire was Turin’s reckless doing as he stumbled about the tavern in a drunken stupor.
Incapable of properly expressing his anger and disappointment to his brother, Durin gave his brother what little money he could spare, wished him well, and left to seek employment as a hired mercenary. Durin had invested everything he had in the Tidings Turn and now found himself flat broke, with little more than he started with all those years ago when he joined the regimentals, save his military experience. Hoping to capitalize on just that, Durin found small jobs around Waterdeep as a guardsman, tavern bouncer, and sometimes even a laborer. Durin’s halfhearted attempts at corresponding with his brother never met with any replies.
A change of luck seemed near when a tiefling merchant approached Durin and offered him a significant sum of money to serve as an escort of his caravan en route to Aglarond. The long trek and proximity to the cursed country of Thay meant that the pay was far better than any wage Durin had received in quite some time.
Durin quickly agreed to the job and the caravan set off two days later. Beginning a journey that would have farther reaching effects on his life than he could possibly have imagined…