The Carrion Crown
Valkahnaar "Joe" Devros
So who am I you ask? That is a loaded question. I suppose we should start with my name, Valkahnaar Devros. It is an old name, some hero of my line or some such nonsense. We always heard growing up that the blood of the ancient heroes of Tar Taargadth is in our blood. My race has had so many political marriages that I think that everyone is really related to everyone else, so everyone has the blood of ancient heroes. So, in short, my name doesn’t mean much to me. I have chosen Joe, especially when going into a fight. I have seen more than one man cut low because he demanded that his troops use his full name and title at all times. It is a lot easier to say “Joe, lookout” then “Valkahnaar, lookout”. Those few seconds can spell the difference between life and death. And I would prefer to be alive over vain.
Having a short name also helps in my line of work. I have been a tunnel rat for the past 20 years or so. Going into the dark recesses of the world and killing the things that are looking for a crack into the world up above. Most of the things in the deep hunt by sound, and the shorter the words the better chance of survival one has. I think that is how I came to the attention of my current employer. They were looking for someone willing to go into the dark places, who was comfortable with the weight of the world on his shoulders in a literal sense. Not many can spend days in the dark knowing that the hunter can become the hunted in a blink of an eye. Even among my people there are few who willingly spend extended periods of time in the deep.
Yep, my family is one of the clans responsible for safeguarding the surface from the unnatural beasts of the deep. So it is no wonder that my desires to be a mage were ignored as a child. I spent every moment I could sneaking away in the pursuit of more scholarly studies. Yet I was always punished for my desires, with extra drills and further physical training. Our line has protected the world of men for generations my father would say each time snuck away. So my desires have gone unfulfilled for most of my life and now I am too set in my current profession to think of changing my place in the world. I still walk into magic shops and look at the scrolls and wands, sometimes even picking them up to see how they work, yet I know that is as close as I will come to being a mage.
Aside from that I don’t know that else is important at this point. My family is still alive, and my brother are all on assignment in different areas of the world, looking for the cracks that may allow the deep to rise into the light. My sisters have been married off, and are producing new heirs to take up arms should my siblings or I fall in battle. My father has retired from the battlefield, yet still does his duty by manning the forge, and I expect he will be there till his dying day. Mom sits at home, watching over her grandchildren, and waiting for the day when my brothers and I will start having children of our own as well.
Deep down I am a solider. I follow orders, and try to avoid making the big decisions. Life and death in the heat of the moment is one thing, it is usually him or me. But long drawn out debates about the morality of a situation give me a headache. In the end I usually just side with the winning point, pretending that was my choice all along. I usually take to thinking that as long as the people with all the information made a choice, it can’t be all bad and if it is mostly bad, I will get to skewer something with a sword shortly after the conversation ends.