My friend, Zigfried, chose a character that already existed in Cimmeria’s history as his PC. I gave him a lot of leeway to design the character how he wanted and Zigfried ended up shaping the history of Cimmeria in a big way through his choices. He wrote the backstory for his character, Danar, which is presented here. I have edited it, but this is primarily Zigfried’s work. As such this post is written in a different style than my own.
Additionally, Danar’s history is still a work in progress. I will return to this to edit existing information and add more events in Danar’s life at a later time.
The Nameless Childhood
Danar was born into a hatch of six brothers and sisters, himself included. This hatch was the 10th royal-blooded generation spawned from the mating of the bronze dragon, Rilopenarol and his human mate, Izalith. From birth, each child of Rilopenarol’s blood was destined to have a brutal upbringing on account of Sheerzen’s laws of royal succession.
For the 10 generations prior, the throne of Sheerzen had been decided by natural selection: every child with a claim to the throne was made to compete in a fraternal contest of might and deception. Only one child could live to assume the throne of Sheerzen, the rest must die. Traditionally, the royal family’s worth was decided through magical duels to the death. A dangerous future loomed before Danar, as he was considered in court to be the “runt” of the litter in terms of magical aptitude.
Danar’s difficulties in harnessing his magical abilities were further compounded by his compassionate spirit. He could not bear the idea of bringing pain to his brothers and sisters during their sparring sessions. Filled with despair, he went to the grand dragon Rilopenarol, who showed compassion to all of his broodlings, and asked for his wisdom. Rilopenarol heard his pleas and said “Henceforth, you are exiled from the city of Sheerzen. Cast aside your surname and flee now.”
The words were harsh, but the tone and meaning were not. Danar understood what it was that he must do. It was forbidden for any broodling to leave Sheerzen before an heir had been decided, so that night Danar fought through a number of guards as he escaped the city and the contest for the throne. He fled deep into the wilderness until hunger, exhaustion, and his wounds began to overtake him.
Deep in the marshlands east of Sheerzen, Danar saw the flickering lights of a small village. Danar called out to the villagers as he approached and collapsed as several men ran over to meet the wounded young man.
The Rise of Danar
Danar was nursed back to health by the village that had taken him in, and he soon realized that this humble settlement was plagued by all manner of monstrous beasts. Sympathetic to their plight Danar steeled his will and made a resolution: he would protect these people that had saved him or die trying. He borrowed the largest axe he could find from one of the village’s woodcutters and sat himself in a pose of meditation at the center of the town.
That night a black dire wolf approached. The villagers of the town quickly fled into their homes leaving only Danar outside, waiting in the firelight at the center of town. The wolf lunged at him with intent to kill! Danar dodged and struck it down with a furious and desperate assault from his axe. The villagers emerged from their houses as the wolf howled its death throes. Seeing Danar there, standing over the dead beast, they felt truly safe.
In the years that followed Danar became masterful at slaying dangerous creatures with only an axe and martial prowess. Those that saw him were inspired by his strength and courage and in turn Danar was thankful for the humble people that supported his newfound livelihood. Danar began to teach the other men of the village how to fight and soon enough, he had grown a stable troop of warriors brave and strong enough to easily defend their homes.
Although it was only a small militia, in Danar’s eyes they were greater than any king’s army. He began to lead his men on expeditions to tame the surrounding marshlands and begin more settlements. Danar showed his people what they were capable of by doing it himself first. He never asked a follower to undertake a task that he himself was unwilling to perform. In this way the small village began to thrive and grow.
Stories of Danar the Beastslayer and Hero of Men spread far and wide. His brothers and sisters heard of him in Sheerzen, but cared little. Danar was the runaway that had cast off his responsibility to fight and struggle for the throne. Officially he had been exiled and his existence was no longer of concern of the royal court. But the tales of Danar the Beastslayer and the prosperity of his growing federation of villages reached further to other, more sinister ears.
Invernix, the great red dragon and infernal wyrm, heard of the broodling of Rilopenarol who had arrogantly cast aside his draconic heritage to gallivant with men among the swamps. Enraged by the thought of a mere dragonkin believing himself to be greater than his draconic bloodline, Invernix took wing and flew to Danar’s Marshlands. For weeks Invernix burned out settlement after settlement among the riverlands in order to force Danar into confronting him.
Danar hesitated to confront Invernix directly. Not for fear of his own life, but for fear of what would become of his people should he fail and allow Invernix to destroy him. He spent this time evacuating his people safely and trying to devise some means by which to defeat the great red dragon. His hand was forced, however when a brave young elf approached him with a plan to confront Invernix.
Danar had met the elf named Eathirilu before. Eathirilu was a druid, a priest and defender of the wilds. Eathirilu wished to halt the spread of civilization into the unspoiled marshlands which made him an enemy of Danar’s in the past. He had been causing issues with Danar’s settlements by destroying dams and foiling the attempts of hunting parties. Despite this, the intrinsic value of human life still held a place in Eathirilu’s heart. Invernix’s wanton destruction was far worse than the slow encroachment of civilization. Eathirilu sought the only one strong enough to standup to Invernix, his previous enemy Danar.
Danar and Eathirilu battled Invernix for hours, surviving by the skin of their teeth by using the dense cover of the marshlands to their advantage. Invernix rained down hellfire and would dive only to find his prey had eluded him. Each time he became more and more enraged by the insolence of the mortals. Inevitably, the brave duo succumbed to Invernix’s power. The young druid was unconscious and on the edge of death and Danar found himself pinned beneath Invernix’s massive foreclaw. It was then that Danar made a final desperate plea to Invernix. He shouted that he would do anything the dragon wished, but spare the elf and his people. Invernix was pleased.
Invernix made Danar a solitary offer. Return to Sheerzen and take the throne with extreme prejudice. Should Danar fail to become king of Sheerzen, Invernix promised that he would hunt down every construct of man west of Sheerzen and raze them to the ground. At this time, a small group of Danar’s men charged Invernix hoping to free their endangered champion. Invernix quickly smote them to ash and a large swath of greenery with them to punctuate his conditions.
Danar’s heart sunk as he watched the men die. He steeled himself and agreed to the great dragon’s terms. With his pride satisfied, Invernix moved his claw from Danar and departed as swiftly as he had descended on the marshlands. Danar pulled himself up. Seeing the spirits of nature approaching to care for Eathirilu, Danar left the elven druid and trudged his way back to his village to lick his wounds…
Ascent to the Throne
Danar healed quickly and began to make plans for the return to his city of birth. He had always attempted to fight and lead without the use of his magical potential, but still practiced it all these years, combining his magical talents with his martial abilities in secret. Danar instructed his best blacksmiths to forge a new weapon of his design. This axe was not merely a large implement to behead creatures. No, this time he had his men make a truly elegant weapon of masterful design.
Danar told his people that he needed to seek protection for their settlement from the grand city of Sheerzen, and to know that they were always in his heart. And thus, the hero left the people he had saved to confront his past.
There was a great uproar when Danar showed up at the court of Sheerzen. All were outraged at the audacity of returning to claim what he had cast aside, whilst his siblings had been battling their entire lives for the throne. Furthermore, the heir of Sheerzen had all but been decided already. Danar’s eldest brother, Einhart, had proven himself to be the strongest and most gifted and all of their other siblings had undergone voluntary sterilization rather than be executed. Danar challenged Einhart to mortal combat to be held the next day. The court hissed, saying that Danar no longer had the necessary standing, but Einhart ignored them. The heir apparent confidently accepted the duel with the prodigal son, eager for any chance to further prove his right to the throne.
The two brothers fought the next day in the central elevator for all of Sheerzen to see. Einhart was a truly gifted sorcerer, but Danar had spent years facing overwhelming odds and teaching others how to accomplish the same. He would not be defeated. He cleaved his eldest brother in twain, but not before losing his right eye to a bolt of energy. Danar proved himself the true heir of Sheerzen and no other would challenge his claim to the throne after that day…
Danar, King of Dragonkin
Danar’s coronation was a momentous occasion for the city. The nobles hailed him as a prodigy tempered by the wilds, returned to restore order to the city. Danar was disgusted by the insincerity of the court he now presided over; however, he was overjoyed to be welcomed back by his ancestor Rilopenarol, who seemed truly unsurprised by the events as they unfolded.
Days after Danar’s coronation, an elder earth elemental named Rhinston arrived bearing a gift from the king of earth elementals. It was the fossilized gem eye of one of Rilopenarol’s own ancestors. The eye of an ancient dragon in crystal orb form, magically resized with the intention of serving as Danar’s replacement for the grievous injury he had suffered. The orb looked much like a living draconic eye and glowed with a pale green magical aura. Danar accepted the gift and allowed the earth elemental to place it in his gaping socket. All surviving portraits of Danar display him after this day, wearing an eyepatch of royal status over his crystallized draconic eye.
And so Danar was king of Sheerzen, but in his heart he was biding time. His hate for Invernix and the tyranny he had suffered festered, and Danar dreamt of the day that he could truly ensure that his people were safe. He honed his skills as a warrior, and developed his potential for magic much further than any would have thought possible for the “runt” of his hatch. Under Danar’s wise rule, Sheerzen prospered and the king cared greatly for his people regardless of their dogma for draconic superiority.
The people of swamp, however, forsook his name. They believed their savior had abandoned them for the glory of the throne. They no longer saw him as the hero that had led them to survive and later thrive when it seemed impossible. Eventually, without Danar’s immediate protection, the people of the swamp lands drifted away from the Fingers, leaving it the uninhabited waste that it is today.
To be continued with stories about the Dragon War!