In my last post talking about my D&D character Taldarrin’s experience, we talked about his personality: how he goes out of his way to help people, but is on a constant quest to find his runaway/kidnapped daughter, and along the lines we’ve seen some red flags. And as before, I’ll explain the story chronologically as the rest of the party came to understand it.
We left off in the Tine Woods, where a small circle of druids is resisting the logging operation of the local wizard city Arx. Upon seeking a means to peacefully discuss a compromise, the party meets with Jog, the local archdruid, and happen across Rinn, the daughter Taldarrin hasn’t seen in nearly a decade.
He sees her lean figure and confident posture—the form of a woman accustomed to combat and hardship—but most striking to him is her new golden eyes. Taldarrin scowls and approaches.
“I see you have new eyes,” he says, scorn coloring his tone.
“I have,” she replies with the same hostility.
“You know I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“Have you now?”
“I couldn’t stay home when the Nightcrawlers took you. It didn’t feel right anymore.”
She shrugs. “Well, you found me.”
“Yes, and now we can go home together.”
Rinn’s laugh contains no mirth, and she shakes her head. “No, dad. I’m staying here. These people need me. Need us.”
Taldarrin nods. “We’ll see.”
(I’ll step out of the story here to make a comment. In this moment at the table, Taldarrin came to accept the fact that she would “need encouragement” to come home with him. I learned a lot about who he really is, and Kollin suddenly grew very interested in where this would lead.)
Taldarrin returns to the party and explains that Rinn is his daughter. When they ask what happened, he tells them about his history with her. When she was a little girl, Taldarrin’s wife was killed, and it shook the two of them a great deal. Taldarrin’s means of mourning was through a special ritual that attuned him to nature. By accepting the ‘soul of nature’, he became Twiceborn, allowing him to transform into animals. Rinn took exception to this, and they grew apart very quickly.
Eventually, a nomadic group of druids came: the Nightcrawlers. The Nightcrawlers are all lycanthropes, and they travel from druid circle to druid circle, taking the ‘lessers’ of the circle when they leave. Taldarrin saw their lycanthropy as a curse—an abomination and perversion of nature. To him, becoming Twiceborn was a blessing of the highest regard, and a heavy burden, too. Not only is lycanthropy an imperfect transformation, but it is often uncontrollable, and taints one’s own blood. Seeing Rinn’s new eyes came as no surprise to him, but it meant that he’d have to find a cure as well, once the two of them returned home.
But for now, he’d have to start there.
He went into the woods alone and cast Animal Messenger, giving a squirrel a secret message and describing its intended recipient. The squirrel dashes off and Taldarrin returns to the village.
While the rest of the party met spoke with Rinn (whose new name was Lys), Taldarrin strolled the village, meeting the denizens and getting to know them. There were about fifty people living here, ten of them being full, shape-shifting druids, and another ten of them were the Nightcrawlers that had taken temporary residence as they saw the Tine Circle through the ordeal of deforestation. (Taldarrin wasn’t present for this, but the rest of the party meet Lys, and it turns out she’s pretty cool. Some of the party are even vaguely interested in lycanthropy, despite Taldarrin’s obvious disdain for it.)
As the sun goes down, he once again excuses himself, this time departing for Arx.
Outside the gates, he finds Alan, the mage that spoke with the party when they had first come here to explain that druids were not allowed. Message received:
I wish to discuss the issue of the Tine Druids. I have a solution. Meet me outside Arx at sundown.
Taldarrin of the Twiceborn.
“Uh, hey, what’s up?” Alan asks, cautious.
“I know how to solve the problem of the druids destroying your automatons,” Taldarrin explains.
“Oh, uh, okay. How?”
“There numbers are few. All you would need to do is show a display of force. They can’t face a full army. Scare them and they will have no choice but to flee.”
“But I want you to promise me something.”
“You will not harm them. There does not need to be any bloodshed.”
“Okay. Uh, how many of them are there?”
Taldarrin sighs. This is the moment of truth. There is no turning back from this point, but he is resolved. Having no choice but to flee and the battle lost, he hopes his little girl will come home with him. “About fifty,” he admits.
“No bloodshed,” Taldarrin repeats as the mage walks away, mumbling something about promotions.
Returning to the druids, he turns in for the night with everyone else. Carefully choosing his spells for the next day, he wonders how much time he has left, and he prays to The Great Oak that everything will turn out okay.