|“||“There is no righteousness in war, only death and misery. Do not fight for glory. Do not fight for honor. Fight to protect the innocent.”|
|— Waltom the Ranger|
|Occupation||Lieutenant in Waltom's Company|
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality Traits
- 3 History
- 4 Skills and Strategies
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Toms' Journal
- 7 Downtime year: Waltom's Last Quest
- 8 Season 3
Tom is a strapping young human male of 18 years, a solid 6'1" and 200 lbs, with light complexion, auburn hair, and green eyes
Armor and Weapons
chain mail and a longsword
He is a somewhat naive small town boy. He has a romanticized view of "adventuring" that "the good guys always win." That has been shaken somewhat by the death of his personal hero, Waltom the Ranger.
Tom is loyal and idealistic. He is largely motivated by the quote by Waltom on this page.
The Making of a Warrior
Tom was born to the owner of a general store in a sleepy backwater of the Empire. Now nearly eighteen, he has worked in the store for his father. The town of Silverton had been named for the nearby silver mines, but they had played out long ago. Now Silverton was just a small crossroads in the mountain pass on the southern border of the Empire between Gilgani and Cimmeria. Bandits harried the roads and countryside. Usually, a particularly strong and bold one would set up his headquarters in the hold near the village, offering "protection" in exchange for, well, everything. Intermittently, the roads might even be kept open - until the shifting and treacherous alliances among the bandits removed the chieftain, and the region would be plunged into gang warfare. And it was much more dangerous to try to leave than to stay. The bandits rarely killed villagers - you can't get money out of a dead person. On the other hand, if a person was leaving, you wouldn't get money out of him either, so the bandits saw no loss there. In theory, it might be possible to bribe your way out, but saving enough money and finding sufficiently pliant bandits conspired to make this exceedingly rare.
Then on a morning not long ago, word came that a new lord was riding to town with a small retinue. The rumor was that his name was Waltom, a great hero in the wars of the Empire. A bandit met him at the borders of the land, saying that the chief wanted a public meeting in the town square as soon as might be. Waltom assented. He turned to the man next to him and said "Guido, come with me."
The two men rode at a leisurely pace to the edge of town. They dismounted there, and Waltom, a ranger of unremarkable stature but confident bearing, walked deliberately towards the town square. Guido, a lean and swarthy man clad in light armor with a rapier at his side, walked to the right and slightly behind, making a great show of flashing his dazzling smile at the women as he walked by. The bandit chief, a huge man in leather armor with a sword strapped to his back, waited in the square with his arms folded. When Waltom was six feet away, he stopped. Guido smiled, not the friendly smile he had shown to the villagers, but the smile of a predator anticipating the kill.
Waltom spoke. "You are a bully and a coward. And stupid. It is my men on the rooftops now, not yours. Begone from here before sundown. If my men or I see you or your thugs in this land after that, you will die on the spot. Now leave."
The man glanced up. Then he looked from Waltom to Guido. Then he turned and ran.
A cheer burst out of Tom, who was standing in the doorway of the store, which was on the square. It erupted through the town. For the first time, Waltom appeared to relax, then he turned and waved in the direction of Tom. Eventually, Waltom held his arms up with his palms out. "Good people, I must go for a little while to ensure that the lands are safe. I promise that I shall return soon, and speak to all of you about establishing the safety and prosperity of Silverton."
Tom watched from the store as Waltom walked back to the horses amid a throng of people. Guido displayed his skill at catching women's underwear - until he whirled around and impaled the arm of a knife-wielding man with his rapier. People cried out. The knife fell from his hand. Waltom did not turn. He spoke a single word as the man stumbled away: "Sundown." Then Waltom and Guido mounted their horses. Waltom smiled, waved his arm, and rode away. Tom cheered wildly until he was out of sight.
When Waltom first took charge of the lands, the people expected another strongman whose only interest in the people would be to squeeze as much wealth out of them as possible. Instead, he spent a month meeting all the people, finding out about them. Order was combined with mercy. Waltom's' first order was to make sure that all were adequately fed and clothed, and that the ill were cared for. Tents were set up while the most dilapidated homes were repaired. Experts came to advise farmers how to increase their crops. Due to its strategic location in the southern pass and the safety of its lands, the town was soon bustling. Once again, silver began to flow into Silverton. Not from the mines, but from the steady stream of commerce. Waltom made it clear that all law-abiding folk who came in peace were welcome, and travelers of many races rubbed elbows in the tavern. Some are even considering opening businesses there. Among the people of Silverton and the surrounding lands, Waltom's reputation for justice and wisdom rivaled his reputation as a warrior.
Tom spent much of his time after the arrival of Waltom with the Spire Vanguard, the renowned warriors who had originally accompanied him to town. Now they were the officers who oversaw the security of the land. They were well-liked and respected, with the possible exception of a few jealous young men. Captain Guido took a liking to Tom, and taught him in the arts of armed combat. Guido would occasionally regale Tom with tales of his travels with Waltom, to whom he always referred affectionately as "da Boss."
Working in his father's general store, Tom met Waltom a few times in everyday interactions. Waltom greeted everyone in town by name, and insisted they do the same. When young Tom last met Waltom, he eagerly asked for tales of his great deeds in war. Waltom responded gravely and quietly "The only use for war is to protect the innocent and restore peace. There is no righteousness in war, only death and misery. Do not fight for glory. Do not fight for honor. Fight to protect the innocent." Then he looked around the store, and smiled "Providing food and clothing for folks who need it. That is righteous. Farewell Tom".
One day when he was alone in the store, he heard someone speak the words "Fight to protect the innocent." He spun around, but there was no one else in the store. He was alone on an island of calm, but his heart was racing.
Tom started throwing some supplies in a satchel. He wrote a note for his father. But as he prepared to leave, he realized that although he had spent many hours training with Guido and the other members of the Spire Vanguard, he only had some padding and blunt weapons for practice. He grabbed a walking stick, locking the door as he left. No one payed any attention to him as he walked out of town.
As he reached the north bridge a few miles from town, he heard the sound of hoofbeats. He turned to see the Spire Vanguard riding after him. Guido stopped next to him and dismounted.
"Ah, when you were not at da store, I knew we would find you here. You want to follow da Boss. We cannot go wid you, because da Boss told us to stay here and protect his people. But we have trained you, so you can go." He called over his shoulder. "C'mon boys, bring da stuff." Several large bundles were brought forth. Tom opened them to discover a set of armor and weapons. A horse was led forth. "I know you know how to use dis stuff, and how to ride a horse without fallin' off. One last bit of advice: don't hesitate to strike. Don't wave da weapon around if you ain't gonna use it. Dat's good advice wid women too" he winked.
"Well put it on man, and see dat it fits. We been gettin' ready for dis for awhile. It took forever to convince da ol' steward Raleigh Durnst to cough up for dis stuff. He's a good man wid people and numbers, but he don't know which end of a sword to grab."
The armor fit very well. Guido turned to take a package from his horse. The atmosphere subtly changed as the other men stood in line before them.
Guido spoke. "Tom, we were granted da title of da Spire Vanguard when we followed da Boss at da Riven Valley. It is a great honor dat we have tried to live up to. But we claim a greater honor today. From dis day, we will be known as Waltom's Company." Guido presented a stunned Tom with a shield emblazoned with a large blue W. "And you are our newest member." In unison, the men saluted.
As Tom stood with his mouth gaping, Guido prodded him. "Private, you will return da salute of a superior officer." Tom tried clumsily to salute. Guido patiently corrected him until he could form a passable salute.
Guido pressed a scroll case into Tom's unresisting hand. "When you get to da capital, report to High Councillor Surgot and give him dis message from da steward. Until da next time I see you, I expect weekly reports to account for your actions. And when you get back, I expect to be able to use your armor as a mirror. Now get goin', soldier."
Guido threw a salute. Tom awkwardly returned it. Then Guido and the rest of the Company mounted their horses and rode back towards town. Tom watched them ride out of sight. Then he mounted his horse, and rode over the bridge.
Skills and Strategies
In combat, he will try to protect his allies as much as possible.
- Tom hates bullies due to the years of abuse by the bandits that controlled his village
- It is his dream to meet all the Companions
Week 1 Terrible Tidings for the Empire
My first report to you contains terrible tidings. Our Lord Waltom has fallen shortly before I arrived at the capital, slain by a sea-monster while defending the emperor. He too was slain, and the capital is in chaos. A merchant prince named Tiberius has employed a gang of ruffians to take control of the city, and the empress is in hiding or fled. I think this is called a cooditah.
I barely gained entry to the city, because the gates are controlled by the ruffians, who have disdain for any who served the emperor. I have also witnessed their deep dislike and suspicion towards all non-humans. The only good thing that has happened is that I am now travelling with Nazdrak the great orc warrior, and Fern the Druid. Even these great heroes are now treated with hostility in the city. We have also been joined by a young orc warrior named Corlath, who seems to have trained to fight without weapons.
We had a brief and clandestine meeting with Councillor Surgot. He has assured us the empress is safe, but that the loyal agents of the emperor may now be viewed as renegades. He has recruited us to join a resistance group to restore the empress. I must report that I was unable to deliver my message to Councillor Surgot, because armed men burst into our meeting place.
I have gathered the personal effects of Lord Waltom from the agent barracks. I was most uncomfortable doing so, but I was even more afraid that his effects would be looted. I shall guard them with my life until I can return and present them to you.
I do not know when I will be able to return. I have no clear orders at this point, so I will try to do what I think you and Lord Waltom would want me to do until I get a legitimate order. I consider my current party as my assigned unit until I can get other direction.
Captain, I hope this message reaches you soon. Our land is far from the capital, but I fear what may befall. Silverton has only briefly tasted the rule of peace and justice. I suggest that it would be prudent that you begin making preparations to defend it.
It will probably be difficult to have a message deliverd to me for awhile. I am likely to be considered a rebel by Tiberius, and my group may need to turn to guerrilla tactics. Nevertheless, I shall always be mindful uphold the honor of Waltom's Company
Private Tom Oggins
Week 2 Traitors and Rebels
I have witnessed the awe-inspiring battle prowess of Nazdrak.
A mob of ruffians led by a wizard burst in on us and tried to take us prisoner. Nazdrak would have none of it, and a desperate battle ensued. Heavily outnumbered and backed by magic, the attackers soon overwhelmed my meager skills. Only Nazdrak withstood the onslaught. Alone, he clove a path to the wizard, and felled him with one mighty blow. The other attackers fled, curs that they were.
Now we are hunted in the city as traitors, enemies of the new order. We must escape soon, before we are hunted down. My captain, I swear that my loyalty to the Empire, with the Empress as the rightful ruler, is unshakeable. We will see her once again on the throne.
One last thing, I feel I must tell you. I saw Lord Waltom, and he spoke to me. In the battle I was struck down, and my spirit was passing to the afterlife. Lord Waltom stopped me from passing over, and sent me back to continue the fight. I feel he is watching over me.
Private Tom Oggins
Week 3 Everything Stinks
I regret that I have been unable to send you my weekly reports as ordered. The city has gone mad with hatred. The humans in the capital are hunting down and slaughtering the demihumans mercilessly. The Usurpers consider this "martial law", but it is nothing but the kind of thug rule that afflicted Silverton before you and Lord Waltom cleansed our land. Only this time the thugs are much more powerful, and they wield fear as a terrible weapon. Those with evil hearts and silver tongues spread fear not to cause people to cower and hide, but to inflame hatred that causes men to rage like beasts. In the city now there is a hatred of the strong against the weak, the many against the few.
Following Nazdrak and Fern, our party has been trying to avoid the chaos by travelling through the sewers. We almost succeeded, but my clumsiness caused us to be detected by a city patrol in the sewers. Their leader was a sergeant in shiny, parade-ground armor. He was vain and condescending. He was not a great warrior. He was contemptuous of demihumans. And yet, I could not feel he was a bad man. Just an ordinary man, whose head had been filled with bad ideas, and then promoted beyond his abilities. I tried to convince him that I was a human hiding from the demihumans in the sewers in hopes he would continue on with his patrol. He seemed to take pity on me, and insisted on escorting me to safety. But he detected Nazdrak, and his fate was sealed. The sergeant resisted, but was no match for Nazdrak, who smote him to death with a single blow. Yet, that probably saved the lives of many, because the remaining squad turned and ran from their worst nightmare standing before them.
I had eagerly sought the great warrior Nazdrak so I could learn fighting skills from the greatest warrior in the land. I have learned little yet in terms of fighting skills; there has been no time for lessons in swordplay. But I learned a much more important lesson: the difference between the killing above and the killing below. While sloshing through the muck, the screams, the pleading, and the cries of anguish of the innocent above us were mingled with cruel taunts and harsh laughter of their tormentors and executioners. Nazdak felled an armed man who would gladly have slain us if he could. Yet, Nazdrak felt remorse for the deed, for the sergeant could not have harmed him more than a child with a willow-wand. Nazdrak had already saved our party once before with his blade, and perhaps he did again, for we were heavily outnumbered in the sewer. Yet that life he has taken weighs on him, a man doing a job who was in the wrong place. He was probably assigned the duty because it was "safe". I doubt there was any course Nazdrak could have taken that would have cost fewer lives.
I have still learned a great lesson from a great warrior: what matters is not how many you kill, but how you kill. And the corollary to that: not everyone that you must fight is evil. There can be regret even in triumph, and scars of conscience that go unseen.
That is the difference in the killing below and the killing above. To kill without mercy or remorse. To celebrate and revel in slaughter. To lust after the deaths of others. Lord Waltom understood these evils that I could not imagine in the hearts of men until I witnessed them myself.
We cannot stop the carnage taking place above us now. Even if we emerged from the sewers to fight, we would soon be overwhelmed, even with Nazdrak, and the slaughter would continue. And the Usurpers would have killed or captured Nazdrak, whom they have deemed their chief Nemesis. We must escape, and regroup to carry on the fight.
I cannot forget the fatuous sergeant, who just happened to to be in the wrong place and was overmatched. I fear that I may be in the same predicament. I had a simple mission to deliver a message. Now I am surrounded by chaos and death. And we are heading to where Lord Waltom met his doom. I must put aside my fears, and do my duty. My companions - Companions! - must be able to rely on me. Captain, I swear I shall not dishonor your trust, or the memory of Lord Waltom, come what may.
Private Tom Oggins
Week 4 Fly Away
I may return to the hold before this message reaches you. On the other hand, I may be waylaid by pursuit. It is vital that I report what I have witnessed, and that the truth be known about the events in the capital following the deaths of the Emperor and Lord Waltom.
My body would now be food for rats, lying in the sewage beneath the city, if it were not for the amazing powers of Fern the Druid. She us turned into birds, so we could fly out of the exit where the sewer discharges into the harbor, and escape the city.
To fly like a bird, it is a freedom that I have long dreamed and daydreamed about. The reality was a nightmare that will haunt me forever. As I flew free over the harbor, I saw the demihumans of the city literally butchered, their dismembered bodies tossed into the harbor. Men cut down trying to protect their women, women slain clutching their children, and children - if I had not see it myself, I could not have believed the savage glee with which children were murdered. As I flew over, I saw a spot on the walls where a group of children were held. It appeared that their captors were making sport of seeing which one could hurl a child furthest into the shark-infested waters.
Captain, the capital is in the grip of murderous evil. I shall return to the hold as quickly as I can, but you must see that our land is prepared to face the chaos in the days to come.
Private Tom Oggins
Downtime year: Waltom's Last QuestWhile in the capital I managed to retrieve some of the personal effects of Lord Waltom, left behind when he made his fateful decision to escort the emperor. After returning to Companions Rest, his personal writings made it clear that he had been involved for some time in a project related to his hobby of creating fragrances.
The following is from a manuscript, apparently written in Waltom's hand
Notes on History of Bliss
In my research on perfumes, I learned of the different types of equipment, aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents involved in creating perfumes. Naturally, the ingredients and techniques used in creating the most highly-prized perfumes are closely-guarded secrets. Yet in the notes of long-dead perfumers, there are some mentions of a fragrance that now is almost forgotten. It was the most highly-prized perfume of its time. Now there are few who recognize the name, and among them it is legend.
Bliss. The rarest and most exquisite perfume. History indicates that actual Bliss has not been composed for over 300 years. It was a single floral fragrance, and the exceedingly rare flower died out. Legend holds it was a powerful aphrodisiac. The truth is far more amazing.
The truth is, when worn, Bliss allows the emotions of the wearer to be clearly perceived through scent. For reasons not entirely understood, the effect of women wearing Bliss is somewhat stronger than when it is worn by men.
It is easy to see why the legends would corrupt the memory of Bliss, considering it an aphrodisiac. Yet there are stories of women wearing Bliss who attempted to seduce men as a means to manipulate them; the men found the encounter as arousing as operating a water pump; desire was quenched more than aroused.
Although under certain conditions Bliss could function as an aphrodisiac, it was in general more highly prized for its use in aiding domestic harmony. Husbands could clearly perceive the emotions of their wives. While in some cases men were unable to deal with this clarity of perception, most couples found it an invaluable benefit. In ancient times, it was customary among nobility to include a small flacon as part of the dowry. Indeed, the term "wedded Bliss" passed into common use, although the origin of the phrase has been lost.
In an amazing stroke of luck, I managed to actually obtain the ancient formula for creating Bliss. Since the key ingredient was no longer available, the formula was considered valueless. I found it unregarded in the personal effects of an old perfumer.
The history of Bliss was for me just the fascinating story of a lost art, until a day about a year after Tarn was vanquished. I noticed some drawings that Alaereth had made. In our conversations, she mentioned that the drawings were inspired by her homeland. We discussed many aspects, including the very distinctive flowers in some of her drawings. I became convinced that these were the long-lost ingredients essential in the creation of Bliss.
Now I need to find a way to Alaereth's land so I can obtain the flowers and seeds.
There appears to be a break at this point, and a separate final page.
The loss of life was terrible. I barely escaped with my own life, with only my friends Fern and Alaereth, and a brave and resourceful young Lascari named S'ven. I would not have made the voyage for any reason had I known the horrors that awaited us. I want to take the flowers and seeds and fling them away. But that would not bring back the dead. The maintenance and improvements I want to make to the hold and Silverton will be expensive, and I cannot see another way to defray the costs.
After our meeting tomorrow, I have promised to take S'ven into town and buy him the finest Fedor-style hat before I leave. I hope that will lighten the mood a bit.
At the bottom are a couple of hastily written lines.
Going to meet the emperor
Soon JaedisI took it upon myself to continue the work that Lord Waltom had started. He had already assembled the equipment and ingredients necessary to create the fragrance, save the exotic flowers. I contacted Pug the Druid, and he has assured me that he will be able to grow the flowers from the seeds that Waltom brought back with him. And carefully following the instructions that Waltom had meticulously recorded, I managed to create a small quantity of the perfume. In accordance with his wishes, I presented it on his behalf to Jaedis.
Soon it will be possible to create enough perfume to market, and use the proceeds to fund the upkeep of Companions Rest and Silverton, as was Waltom's plan. It will be sold under the name Jade, as he intended.
Week 1 Bones
I have set out as Nazdrak's squire, and as a liaison from Companions Rest to the Resistance. We have been sent to find a being of great power and sinister reputation known as Kasinov, who dwells in a remote part of the Deepwoods. It is said that he may know the means by which the emperor can be restored from death. Fern the Druid has joined her beloved Nazdrak on this perilous mission. We were also joined by Lyle Foreststalker, a halfling Ranger.
Not long after we entered the wood, we encountered a being, a large and imposing man who may have been a Ranger of sorts, who considered himself to be a guardian of the forest. Although he appeared to be both powerful and knowledgeable, he informed us that he was powerless against Kasinov, and warned us that we were seeking our doom. Nonetheless, we continued onward.
We soon came across a party of skeleton undead despoiling the forest, mindlessly hacking down whatever was in their path. Fern and Nazdrak found this wanton destruction to be intolerable, and we intervened to stop the senseless destruction. Yet, the animating force of the undead was strong and tactically skillful, and the ten skeletons were a deadly force. Just as it appeared that we might be gaining the upper hand, a dracolich arrived, bearing its fell master. All hope of victory by force of arms vanished.
Lyle lies badly battered on the ground, although his spirit is unbroken, as the dracolich looms over him, while Nazdrak parleys. Our fate hangs by a thread.
Week 3 Diplomacy and War
While returning to bring tidings to the Empress, we came across the scene of a slaughtered diplomatic party that had been heading south. The signs pointed to an Orc warband, but the murder of diplomats seemed a very unusual act for those noble and honorable folk. We discovered a sealed message, well-concealed in the heavily damaged carriage. We decided to head south, both to find the perpetrators and to deliver the message.
After a day's travel, we were confronted by the Orcish war band that had slaughtered the diplomats. The leader told us that an Orc chieftain named Grishnak has proclaimed himself "Warmaster" - a term that has not been used before among the Orcs. The diplomats were apparently slain by order. This seems to me very grim tidings indeed that the Orcs may turn their fury upon our people in the north, and disregard the customary immunity granted to diplomats.
Nazdrak has resolved to find Grishnak and investigate this new movement. We will have to travel in the Orc lands. In other times I would welcome this opportunity to travel among the Orcs, since my lord Waltom was known as a good friend to the Orcish folk, and held them in high regard. The leader of the war band spoke dismissively and with scorn about those other than orcs and followers of Grishnak. Neither I, his squire, nor Fern, his beloved, would be parted from Nazdrak as he embarks upon this journey, though I anticipate hostility, if not outright violence upon us.
I must try to learn from Nazdrak all I can to avoid accidentally giving offense as we travel among these proud and warlike folk.
Our companion Lyle Foreststalker has decided to go his own way at this juncture. I have enjoyed his company, and his strange and sturdy mount. I wish him well in his journeys.
Victory and Death
So the great battle is won. The goblins are no more. The names of the fallen will live as long as long as there are orc folk, and first and foremost will be Warmaster Grishnak, who devoted, and ultimately gave his life to free his people from the goblin menace forever.
As this legendary hero of the orcs has achieved his final glory, another legend continues to grow. While Warmaster Grishnak led the orc host on the field of battle, a great monster, a young goblin queen, had burrowed behind the line of battle to fall on them from the rear. The "hammer and anvil" strike would break the orc line, and the goblins would pour through and engulf the beleaguered orcs, dooming them all.
Nazdrak, with his beloved Fern the Druid, and his squire Tom Oggins, slew the great beast. Whether by design or chance, Nazdrak was not in the camp when the goblins began their attack. While he hastened back, Fern stood alone after Tom was engulfed by the huge maw. Summoning great powers, Fern held the monster at bay until Nazdrak returned and struck the foul creature down in his wrath, saving the entire army.
Among the orc folk, Nazdrak is a conundrum, an enigma. None question that he is a warrior of exceptional prowess. In his speech and manner, he expresses great respect for the traditions and culture of the orcs, yet he will at times seem to consider himself answerable only to the gods themselves. Wedding a halfling seemed a whim and an affront to some among the orcs, but for a critical time, the tiny druid was all that stood between the orcs and utter ruin. Nazdrak actually dropped from the sky to vanquish the enemy that would have taken the orc army disasterously unawares. The Way of Nazdrak - who can fathom it? Perhaps he truly is touched by the gods.