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NPC Showcase: Izen Kail

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#1 Shfelliot

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 03:09 PM

Name: Izen Kail
Race: Half-Elf
Class: Fighter
Status: deceased
Age around death: 31

The charismatic Izen Kail was best known known some seventy years ago as one of the local town guardsman the Tethyrian city of Saradush. A native of that very city, Kail was born to a privileged weapons merchant of the city and the elven bride he had courted (rumors say he bought her as a slave through the black market) to strengthen the future of his bloodline with the longer-lived elven race. To marry an elf in Tethyr was a bit of a scandal, but the merchant's resolve was greater than such things. Izen's father had reasoned if his descendants had longer life spans, they would have more time to expand their wealth and station within the city. It should come as no surprise then when his first and only son Izen was born, his father was filled with pride to have secured an heir on the first try. The fact that his wife had passed away due to complications of childbirth were quickly buried under his excitement to pass on his legacy to the new generation. It is interesting to note while many detractors of Kail's father claimed he was a cold, selfish individual who didn't even take the time to mourn before to glorify his son's birth, there are many who say he invested so much time in raising his son as some measure of penance for having treated his wife as a means to an end in life. Besides, he was also known as a very active, supportive member of the community and donated considerable amounts of money to charitable organizations and city projects.

Kail was groomed from the moment he could walk to take the reigns of his father's business and to become a social member of the community. He was taught with several private tutors, through which he excelled, and encouraged to travel with his father in social circles to establish trust and contacts amongst the local populous. While his business ability was fair, Kail's natural elven charm proved to be an invaluable gift in boosting his status and likability even more so than his father, and through studying conversation developed the keen, razor-sharp wit he was most famous for. Even with the Tethyrian bigotry against those of elven blood, Izen excelled. Kail had a knack for verbally sparring and outclassing young rival socialites even as a young teenager. He had methods of completely and viciously deconstructing an individual's character while still appearing to be the most charming individual in the room.

This talent, however, proved to be a double-edged sword. While he was able to climb rapidly through social circles by outclassing his opponents through words, there were a gathering number of influential scorned children of noblemen and merchants who were banding together in deep hatred of a common foe who had made them look so ridiculous in public. Izen's father, however, recognized the danger of upsetting so many important people to his own reputation and wisely encouraged his son to lay low in the social circles and to get involved with the community. After a long conversation upon the matter, both father and decided that having the now 15-year old Izen enroll in the Saradush town guard would do well to keep him out of trouble for awhile and help bolster his family's reputation in the community. If Izen was among those who would protect the city, his father reasoned, he would be viewed by many to be a representation of what was good in Saradush. His father also wished for Izen to gain a social standing and understanding of the more common folk to better serve when he took over the weapon's business.

For Izen personally, the chance to join the guard was simply a new chance to spar and overcome his opponents; if now with weapons instead of words. He had been around weapons all his life; it seemed only natural for him to now train, become familiar, and then master with what was the bread and butter of his father's work, as he was able to do with all tasks.

Things don't always go according to plan, however.

The townsfolk in general loved Izen Kail. His willingness and fondness to mingle with people in his guard duties from every walk of life and his ability to diffuse incredibly volatile situations by simply talking down the two angered parties involved made him a bit of a status symbol. His skill with a spear and a short sword were not lacking either, and through careful honing and many painful hours of training under his superiors allowed him to carry himself well in a fight when words were not enough.

His fellow guardsmen, however, took a much different view. While Kail was a social butterfly in public he had a great sense of arrogance amongst his own comrades in arms. Already a tightly-knit unit, the town guard of Saradush frowned upon individuals who promoted themselves above the group as a whole. And while Izen's talent was great enough he could actually on occasion match some of the claims he made, his absolute lack of modesty made him the single most hated individual in the city militia. His superiors couldn't simply release him however; it would have been bad publicity. He was in fact an undeniable asset to to the city, loved by many, and he did his job well. Inasmuch, he was given the absolute worst assignments possible (normally they were rotated) on a normal basis, from helping the city maintenance clean up the street filth to guarding and patrolling the city's intricate sewer system.

Moreover, while his reputation continued to stay high amongst the common folk, Izen's reputation amongst the noble and mercantile class began to suffer; even among the many who liked him at the expense of destroying his former rivals. Having already suffered the 'indignity' of doing such a commoner's job, Kail's very low status in the guard's ranks made him the laughing stock of the social circles. Certainly this effort was spearheaded by Izen's former rivals who made extra-sure to accentuate how his elvish blood made him think himself better than the rest of them and how the soldiers exposed him for what he really was...an arrogant charlatan who brought about his own downfall and was not ever worthy to hold the status the rest of them had. Sweet revenge in the best way possible.

Despite his actual talents which could back up most of his boasts, Izen Kail was consummately destroyed in the top social circles his father had worked so hard to keep together. Without those contacts, Izen would not be successful selling weapons to the upper echelons of society when he took over. Still, his father resolved for the sake of their reputation his son would have to stick with the guard, trying to bolster his reputation. If he took Izen out of the city guard now, it would only work to sully his family's reputation as quitters and failures. Despite this, over several years the merchant's fortune dwindled with the family reputation in question, as the majority of his business had depended on the patronage of the higher classes.

A month later, tragedy struck as the elder Kail passed away of a mysterious heart disease, leaving Izen Kail with a dwindling inheritance and a rut of a position in the common town guard. There are many who whisper that Izen's father poisoned himself out of the shame of his loss of status, but then again those same people passing the rumors were those whose children were sullied by a superior orator.

Izen, however, appeared unfazed by the event. He had become accustomed to the dredges of his work and what he had considered the jealously of his peers. On the same token he also recognized on some level a certain appreciation for an appearance of modesty which had gone so far to destroy his family's name. Unlike so many of the children of nobles and merchants, Izen seemed to see his loss not as a complete failure but simply another lesson to be understood from and overcome. All the time he had spent in the guard had strengthened his will to improve his ability in combat. If he could not be a merchant or a socialite, then he would show his name with his ability to protect the city through his battle prowess. While he was scorned in upper circles, however, the common people only grew to love him more and he would use that reputation to establish himself from the lowest class up to the top.

His combat ability, while promising, however, stagnated with such low-priority missions. Izen Kail was growing truly loved among the locals not because of his willingness to interact of them, but of the growing bitterness that worked its way into his words. Despite appearances, his father's death and the complete ruination of his character amongst the higher classes were quite bitter memories, manifested through his humor and highly sophisticated mockeries of he higher rungs of society. His rapier wit honed into a scathing commentary on the hypocrisy of the classes he had been groomed to grow up with. Times and taxes were growing harsh for the people of Saradush, and his words rang a bit of truth to them.

Always with the mind of his upbringing, however, Izen was very careful to never to say anything about the guard itself. In fact, he praised the militia with any chance he got with the vain hopes it might one day get him in good spirits with them again.

Broken, loved by the commoner class, and a growing voice of dissension in the bowels of Saradush, it is unclear how Kail would have faired had he stayed in his current position. He might have eventually become a voice of reform to represent the common people or he might have simply faded from obscurity. Certainly he might have been seen as a growing threat from those noble and merchants who understood his level of subtle talents and manipulations and perhaps even eliminated through underhanded means.

As it stands, however, Izen Kail did not do any of these things.

Several months after Izen became 26 years of age, the city of Saradush was overrun by a surprise attack of an orc invasion. A particularly ambitious orc chieftain had made a deal with several neighboring tribes while the main part of Tethyr's army was out fielding other missions and coordinated a sudden and brutal assault on the city of Saradush. Only the local army garrison several miles away had time to move its fledgling troops in time to help the city's defenders. The troops were able but green and unseasoned; unused to such a massive operation. Still, they were organized enough to work with the local city guard and get in position to the city's rushed defense.

One commander in particular had the foresight to realize even orcs would be cunning enough to exploit vulnerable points...such as the city's sewer system. It wasn't a large concern as the main force seemed to be focused on a more direct approach, but it would be foolish not to keep someone on post with the city guard to ensure if an attack *did* come, there would be soldiers to sound the alarm. As it was, the young soldier chosen to assist the lowly city guardsman (none other than Izen Kail, of course) watching the sewer systems was a young man, barely 19, by the name of Rebryth Elameril.

The siege was days long and a war of attrition more than anything, but in this time with each other Izen and Rebryth by force of duty and nothing but hours of patrolling were forced to spend the hours talking and keeping each other company while making sure there was no threat. As it turned out, Rebryth saw through Izen's arrogance rather quickly and found an individual clawing his way out of a hole he kept digging deeper for himself. Izen saw a naive young farm boy with delusional dreams about making a stake for the better in this world, mocking him relentlessly for it. Only this time, Rebryth fought back, albeit futilely, and Izen drew great amusement on picking on such an easy target. But beyond that, he saw an individual who clung to the same desperation he was clinging to and respected that. Casual conversation turned to relentless, humor-filled bickering from two young men who acted more like a married couple than two guards, and the two learned that through their conversation they could play off of each other and lighten the mood of any situation....Rebryth's genuine earnestness played right off of Izen's scathing tongue without either feeling too terribly wounded by each other's comments. A passing acquaintance under forced circumstances evolved rapidly into a much deeper friendship bloomed because of the respect and entertainment the two developed for each other. Not that it would stop Izen from relentlessly mocking Rebryth....he derived no little pleasure from it, and Rebryth in his sometimes mock, sometimes genuine frustration would continue to feed it endlessly. It was an odd friendship that just clicked in the right places and would only grow stronger through time.

As it would be, on the fourth day of the siege, through a routine if very unsanitary passing of a sewer corridor the unthinkable happened...Izen and Rebryth stumbled upon an operation of the orc invaders to tunnel into the sewers and come into the city from below! The entire invasion on the surface was simply a carefully laid distraction to keep the main forces in the city too occupied from seeing what the real plan was. It would in fact be this very battle that would encourage Saradush's government to put greater defense on the city's sewer system, which would certainly come into play in the infamous siege from Yaga Shura's army decades later.

Through careful teamwork, Izen with his spear and Rebryth with his short sword and shield were able to dispatch enough of their pursuers to reach the surface in time to warn their comrades. In a truly monumental effort, the military pulled the majority of its men off the walls and field, and redirected its soldiers, mostly from Rebryth's unit, into the sewers just in time to meet the invaders. The fighting was fast, bloody and brutal.

At the end of the day, however, the line of the orcish attack force through the sewer system was broken and through the same tunnel, the defenders were able to cut into the invasion force from behind and route the enemy. Saradush held. The cost, however, was high for Rebryth's garrison and most of his own unit was completely annihilated holding and fighting back the horde. It would take years for the Tethyrian government to rebuild, retrain and reorganize the garrison after the losses they had suffered in this battle.

Inasmuch, only the most experienced soldiers were kept on the payroll, and those on the bottom ranks of the totem pole, even Rebryth who had established himself with Izen through discovering the invasion, were let go with a small pension until order could be restored in the region and the garrison could be worked to be made stronger and more effective. The main army by that point had stationed nearby to help the city with the recovery process.

Rebryth was left an ex-soldier (his own commander had been killed in the attack), with his only friend in the city the wiseass half-elf he had stood with for four days and verbally fought back and forth with.

Still, he had a little money. And Izen was the inheritor of the dwindling assets of his father, with which he could still live a stable if very modest existence. With little to currently hang onto and fresh off their experience from the invasion, both individuals discovered they both craved greater recognition than what they currently had and enjoyed actually fighting together for a common purpose. It was through this common purpose and their friendship that Izen and Rebryth, selling off the remaining assets Kail had for equipment, made the decision to take their chances beyond the walls of Saradush and help people with their own talents. They would become adventurers...The Company of Threads, they would call themselves, as an inside joke of how in their starting days they were just hanging by just a few threads.

The exploits and adventures of The Company of Threads, which grew to five strong in its height, is largely lost in the known lore of Tethyrian society. It is known they existed for a good five years, but little is known of what they actually did during their five year tenure, much to the probable disappointment of its founders. Most today assume they are simply yet another passing tale of the many bands of unsuccessful adventurers with dreams of glory who appear and fade from notice through foolishness and untimely ends. But then the occasional scholar asks, if that is so, why is their name even remembered when so many other adventuring bands are forgotten?

It is in fact, not because of their time as a group that the Company of Threads is remembered. It is the fact that 63 years ago, five years after they joined together with hopes of bettering the world, there was a grisly, horrifying scene found on a remote dock on the Sword Coast. Four adventurers were found horrifically murdered in unspeakable ways, including the body of one Izen Kail who had been been beheaded with a sword, and then castrated with his own spearhead. The one individual who was not found among the dead was the one who was reputed to be their leader.

It was not two days later that the activities of Tethyr's most notorious serial killer of all time began.

A connection has never been made.

Edited by Shfelliot, 24 May 2009 - 07:59 AM.