Cursed fighter of the Northlands
The Strange Tale of Robb Duncan
Up until 6 months ago Robb had only known one way of life. It was quite simple really. Stay away from people unless absolutely necessary and NEVER go near a settlement, camp, or city when it was near full moon.
Born of Amos and Fiona Duncan, Robb lived his life as the son of a woodsman on the edge of Shadowfell Forest. But the real story started years before his birth.
Amos was a woodsman. A solitary man who lived a simple life, he was well versed in woodland survival and lore and was quite able to provide for himself. For months he had discovered the occasional remains of animals that had been savaged by some beast. When attempting to track the beast he would always come to a place where the prints seem to disappear on the edge of some town. Almost as if they changed to those of a human who lived in the town. But that was impossible, was it not?
Then on the night of a full moon he heard the sound of something outside his simple home. Having some concern about a beast in the area that was not fearful of humans he armed himself and carefully opened the door. No sooner was the door cracked than he was driven back by something large and terrifying crashing into the door. He fell back, a dagger in his hand as the beast fell upon him. Over and over the jaws came down upon his flesh but Amos struck back with the blade repeatedly until he fell unconscious.
When he woke the next morning he lay in a pool of his own blood. His wounds ragged and gaping still seeping blood he attempted to pull himself up only to pass out from the pain. For a day and a half this process would repeat itself until he was able to reach a bucket of water near the now shattered door of his home. After washing out his wounds he dragged himself further to a cabinet where he kept various herbs and forest remedies. For a week he tended to his wounds. Surviving on the water from the bucket and a few scraps of bread and cheese that were knocked to the floor in the attack.
After another week he was surprised at how well the wounds were healing. He knew he should have died from their nature, but somehow he had survived. It was two weeks after this realization that he began to understand the reason.
As the light of the full moon struck his eyes he was overcome with nausea. Pain seared through his body. A burning sensation emanated from his now nearly healed wounds. He felt his bones suddenly snap and change. His skin pulled painfully away from his body as his body transformed before his eyes. Dark, course hair sprouted from his limbs and body. His clothing tore away and fell to the ground. Darkness filled his mind and then he remembered no more.
As dawn crept over the horizon and light slipped through the trees of the forest Amos awoke naked and covered in blood. A corpse of a stag lay next to him. It’s flesh torn to shreds and chunks of meat missing from its haunches. In a state of confusion and dismay he made his way back to his simple home.
This process continued for another 4 months at the full moon. At first Amos feared that he was losing his mind. But then he began to track his own movements. Seeing the points where the tracks changed human to wolf, wolf to something else, something else back to human. The tracks reminded him of the creature that he had tracked to edge of civilization on previous occasions. That was the day he decided he would have his revenge on the beast that had changed his life so dramatically.
The beast was more troublesome to find than he had imagined. Every time he found its tracks it would lead back to a place where there were many people. Too many to pinpoint. But over these months he was learning about his own transformations. Amos was a man of incredible strength of will and he found that he could sometimes control his transformation. At times he could keep himself from transforming at all. At others he could make himself transform but maintain control of his senses.
Finally he sought out an old druid woman that lived on the other side of the forest. She may know how to trap this beast. As he approached her home she appeared at the entrance with a silver dagger in her hand. “The forest told me of your approach. Do you mean to harm an old woman, wolf?”
“I do not wish to harm anyone. Save the creature that has cursed me so,” replied Amos. “If you can help me, I would stop it from causing further harm.”
The old druid was curious and surprised by Amos’s reply and with a degree of reservation decided to at least hear the man out. After some consideration she offered what knowledge she had about lycanthropes. She gave him advice as to how to keep himself from evil if at all possible. She also warned him that should she discover he had used her help for ill or fell upon innocents in his new form she would use the power of the forest to destroy him She assured him that she would keep a close eye on his life from this point forward.
Armed with the knowledge the old woman gave him he returned to his home and gathered together whatever gold and possessions he could part with. He commissioned an axe of silver from a smith in a town a few days away from his home. The man looked at him like he was crazy, but was more than happy to take the gold. When the axe was finished he returned to his home and made it his only task to find the beast.
More months passed by and nearly a year had passed when by chance he came across the tracks once again on the morning after a full moon. It was not far from his home and he raced to get his silver axe. He followed the tracks to a campsite. He watched the site cautiously, noting the bodies of several people lying on the ground. One started to stir. A naked man rose up slowly, blood covered his body and face and an evil joy came into his eyes as he surveyed the carnage around him. He began to pilfer through the campsite, looking for valuables, clothing, and gold.
Amos could not control the rage inside him any longer. He raced toward the man. So quick he came the man could barely react. The silver axe came down into his skull as he was only partially changed into the hybrid beast. It was quick and almost without satisfaction to Amos. He butchered the body of the creature that lay before him and then when the rage had been exhausted he fell to the ground and wept.
When he regained his senses he looked around the camp. It appeared to be a family travelling to some unknown destination. Two men, three women, and two children lay in a macabre scene of destruction. He took it upon himself to see to the bodies of the victims. As he moved around the camp he heard a sound in the midst of the camp. Another woman lay nearly under the wheel of the cart they used to transport their possessions. He rushed to her body to find she was still breathing, barely. What had once been a beautiful face now had the marks of the beast’s claws torn through it. A large bite was taken out of her shoulder and forearm. This was the first time he met Fiona.
He picked her up and rushed back to his home. If she had a chance he was going to do everything he could to save her. He had not been able to save the other’s the beast had killed, but perhaps this one could be saved.
He nursed her for a week before she was even able to open her eyes and speak. He stayed by her feverish form day after day and night after night he sat next to her as she passed through her nightmares. Finally she was able to sit up on her own. Amos did his best to explain what had happened to her. It was a bit much for a simple young woman, only a few years into her womanhood. Amos was patient and kind as she dealt with the facts of what had happened. Then as the night of a full moon approached he knew he had to take her someplace safe.
He led her deep into the woods and did his best to explain to her what would happen. He carried a bag with him with a cloak that she could wear after the transformation was over. He steeled himself for what could be a difficult task. He would attempt to control his mind while in his own transformation and keep watch over Fiona during hers. Watching her struggle through her first transformation pained him more than his own ever had. If she turned toward a village or town he would snap at her heels and drive her further into the wood. He circled her at a distance, always knowing where she was going and what she was doing. In the morning he covered her with the cloak before she awoke.
Month after month, year after year Amos helped Fiona. He helped her learn to control her changes as he had. He taught her the ways of the wild and sharing so much together they eventually fell in love. They approached the druid woman and asked her to preside over their marriage. She agreed on one condition, that they leave the area and live deep in the Shadowfell Forest. Stay as far away from civilization as they could and that they would keep any of their offspring from causing harm. They agreed and after their wedding left for the deeper woods of Shadowfell.
After a time they learned to live quite comfortably (if solitary) in the deep wood of Shadowfell. Amos became quite accomplished at controlling his form and mind. Fiona struggled at times, but Amos was always there to keep her from trouble. They eventually had a child and named him Robb.
Robb, being a naturally-born werewolf, had qualities that neither of his parents could have expected. He seemed even more resilient and resistant to harm. However, during the full moon he could be particularly savage. Amos being older and stronger was able to keep him at bay but was concerned that someday Robb would attempt to become the alpha of the pack while in this state.
Twenty some years passed this way. Robb had limited contact with anyone other than his family and never without the supervision of his father. He learned the ways of the wild and became a decent tracker in his own right, if not quite the equal of Amos.
One day, only a few days after the night of his most recent transformation, Robb was hunting near the coastal area of Shadowfell Forest. He noted a ship moored in a bay and decided to take a closer look. He noted men on the shore filling barrels of water from a nearby creek and decided to take a closer look, planning on staying hidden. Too late he realized his mistake when he heard a cry behind him as a group of men came out of the woods with crossbows and the stripped bodies of some game birds. They dropped their quarry and circled around Robb, crossbows pointed at him. He considered running, but knew that they would probably be able to take him down before he reached the wood. He even considered transforming so that the bolts would do him little harm but remembered his father’s warning against ever showing outsiders his true nature.
“Looks like the gods have dropped yet another slave into our lap today boys, “said a man who was obviously in charge. Strip him, tie him up, and throw him into the hold with the rest of them. The men followed the orders roughly and fell upon Robb dragging him to the ship. He was thrown into a cramped hold with about 20 other people. Men, women, and children all with defeated looks on their faces and hunger in their eyes. Robb had never been around so many people at one time and was frightened of what might happen if he could not get away soon.
Robb soon lost track of the days as each one fell into the next and the darkness of the hold only changed slightly over the weeks. Then one day he felt the lunar pull upon his inner beast. He called out to his captors that they needed to let him go. “Toss me overboard. I beg of you,” he cried out. After one of his captors came down and beat him without quieting him he was dragged up to the deck. The setting sun slowly falling toward the distant horizon as they threw him down to his hands and knees. The crew took turns punching and kicking him. They’re laughter falling upon his heart as the rage began to build. “Careful boys”, said the captain. “We need to get a decent price. He’s young and healthy enough that he’ll get fair price so long as you don’t mar him too badly.”
This continued for what seemed like forever. Then Robb noticed that the sun had set and the clouds began to slip away from the rising moon. The light struck him and Robb gave way to the beast inside him. The rage and hunger filled him as he swiftly changed into his hybrid form. The men stepped back in shock and seemed unable to believe what they were seeing.
Sunlight struck his face as he woke. His naked body ached against the hard deck of the ship. He rose slowly and it began to dawn on him exactly what had happened. The ship was covered in carnage. Bodies of the slavers lie in various states of destruction. For the first time in weeks Robb felt a fullness in his belly and then he realized what had happened. With a start of terror he rushed toward the opening of the hold. It lay open and the smell of death rose up from below. Without even seeing what he had done Robb fell to his knees and retched up the meal that he had enjoyed the night before.
It took him hours before he was able to begin the task of cleaning up the mess he had created. The bodies of slaves and slavers alike were tossed overboard and he eventually noticed sharks following the aimless path the ship was taking of its own accord. For days Robb sat on the deck in a state of shock and he was as aimless as the vessel he was upon. After days of drifting he saw some islands in the distance. Having no knowledge of boats and having only seen the slavers steer the ship once or twice he made an attempt at bringing the ship toward the islands. What should have taken only a half a day ended up taking two and the ship was bearing toward the cliffs of the island instead of the beach that he had been aiming for. Before he could even reach the island itself the ship ran into the rocks surrounding the island. The ship broke apart beneath him and he found himself cast into the water. He swam as hard as he could and by shear chance and luck ended up in a small cove with pieces of the broken ship all around him.
He pulled himself up the rocks and eventually decided to make a home of the jungle island. After all, what choice did he have? After a month or two he realized that there were other people on the island, having seen smoke from their fires from a distance. Not wanting to chance killing another human he returned to the wreckage of the ship. He salvaged what chains and manacles that he could and whatever other items that might be useful for survival and made his way inland.
Knowing his survival may depend on his toughness in this environment Robb spent a great deal of time in wolf or hybrid form. However, on the few days before and after the full moon he would stay near his camp and would not change unless he had to. On the nights of the full moon he would chain himself up in the manacles and put the key somewhere that he could reach when he came to his senses the next morning.
He’s been on the island for nearly 5 months.