Born in Solace of Evramar, Ilfarren Steelwind was raised by an honourable and shrew merchant family. Cherished as an only son and tutored in the arts, sciences and swordsplay, Ilfarren was recognized as the epitome of proper Rillistani upbringing. As he reached adolescence, he longed to join the proud and secretive ranks of the Rillistani Marshals; exemplars of Elven law with supreme jurisdiction in all three kingdoms of the Rillistani Islands. First, he was compelled by his family to join the Evramar military, where he excelled in his training and decades of service found him captain of several regiments. His bravery and leadership in countless engagements with Laven-Sal and Myomia ensured his eventual induction into the Rillistani Marshals.
Promoted beyond the ranks and file of any of the kingdom’s conventional militaries, Ilfarren found his newest position as a Marshal highly rewarding. In this role he participated in the hunt of members of the Cabal and Orders of Blood. Throughout his training in the secretive organization inwardly known as the Ministry, and outwardly as the Marshals, Ilfarren came to realize that not all he worked with were as noble and benevolent as he. None the less, he stubbornly finished his time as an initiate and began work as a full Marshal, honoring ancient elven traditions and law throughout the lands.
This all came to a sudden end when orders came from the heads of the Ministry that he oversee the hunt and execution of a Cabal Warlock supposedly hiding in Milandrir, a small village in southern Myomia. Conscripting suspicious Myomian military units, Ilfarren entered the community and began his investigation. It was not long until varying reports from townsfolk revealed that this Warlock was an Eladrin woman named Selera Vale. Shortly after this discovery, night patrols by his reluctant Myomian allies revealed a trail left by the woman down to the nearby beaches a mile away. Gathering the full might of his host, Ilfarren pursued.
It was here where the young Marshal found the elderly lady awaiting his forces. Framed by Kel-Sarra in the night sky, Selera stood without fear on the sands and pointed at Ilfarren as he approached.
“You walk these lands so noble in stride, and yet unaware of those who have lied,” Selera exclaimed.
“Of what do you speak Selera? I am here on authority of the Marshals and it has been decreed and evidence provided of your membership of the cabal. Come peacefully and there will be no violence,” Ilfarren replied, his hand reaching behind him to grip his great spear.
“Violence, misery and death your Marshals bring. The Ministry knows the truth, and it is why I stay and sing,” Selera retorted, her stance changing to one of hostility.
“Your words ring hollow Warlock. Perhaps you second as a bard in your deception?”
Selera smirked at his accusation, and it was followed by a terrible blast of balefire from her fingertips. Had it not been for the soldiers charging in front of Ilfarren, the young Marshal would surely have been slain. Instead, the Myomian men before him disintegrated into ashes and chaos ensued as countless Elves and Eladrin attacked the woman.
Ilfarren could hardly believe his eyes as every attempt to muster his comrades and overcome the Warlock failed. Within minutes almost all his men had been slain and he bled heavily from wounds beneath his tarnished chainmail coat. Looking up, he scowled at the Eladrin woman as she levitated effortlessly above the water of the beach, glowering at him in amusement.
“Now Marshal, our time has come to an end. We shall meet one day in the abyss, my regards I’ll send,” Selera shouted to him. Readying another devastating spell, Selera suddenly looked in shock as Ilfarren had thrown his great spear, its magical tip finding the woman’s abdomen and impaling her in mid-air. For a moment Ilfarren listened to the elderly Eladrin croak and choke on her own blood, giving him one last look of dismay and sadness before her crumpled form fell to the sand below.
Wearily standing to his feet, he looked around and uttered a prayer to Avaela for those lost. Making his way up the trails back to Milandrir, he was greeted with the blades of countless swords at his throat. He found one of the men who had originally joined him had run to call for help and now the Rillistani marshal of Evramar was suddenly arrested for the slaughter of Myomian soldiers. Ilfarren attempted to argue his innocence, but his pleas fell on deaf ears and in days he was sitting before a Rillistani Marshal court of law. In under an hour Ilfarren was found guilty of the murder of Myomian military ‘assets’, and was to be executed the next day at noon.
Ilfarren spent the night in a cold cell within the Marshal compound and when he thought his future and life lost, a figure appeared out of the shadows before his cell. Ilfarren gasped and stood immediately to face this stranger, who appeared as an Elf in dark leathers and ornate clothing.
“You killed a Wartrotter Ilfarren. A great loss, but perhaps a new beginning in disguise,” the figure whispered, and Ilfarren started him unnervingly.
“A Wartrotter? I know little more of them other than the fact that they are bards. She spoke in rhyme, but flung spells like a member of the-“
“Cabal? Yes, not all members of the Wartrotters are bards, but all can at least rhyme. That much is simple even for a child. She fought valiantly against the Cabal for centuries and you brought it all to an end. I should kill you in retribution, but that would be as foolish considering your current predicament. Do you know why the Marshals sought her arrest? Because she killed one of your own who had happened to get in her way. Even the Wartrotters never found who was in the ‘right’, perhaps there was no ‘right’ way. Regardless, you are deserving of a better fate than this.”
Ilfarren stared at the man coldly, and finally responded in whispers himself. “And what are the Wartrotters and what do they stand for? If my life is forfeit in the Rillistani Islands, then what will I live for?”
The stranger chuckled and shook his hand in disagreement. “You have a lot to live for. Times are changing here and abroad. The comet is coming and we need all those with tempered heart and steeled souls to fight The Destroyer. The Wartrotters see the end days and work together to ensure Joria’s survival. There is much more, but it can be discussed in private. For now, I will free you and you will promise to aid us when times are dire. Feel free to decline, but I will shed no tear for a man blinded by devotion to kingdoms who betray him so quickly.”
Ilfarren could scarcely believe what had been conveyed to him, but he nodded and within moments the bars in his cell had turned to molten slag. The stranger grasped his forearm, and the last thing Ilfarren saw was the cunning smile underneath the elf’s hood.
Awaking in a rough cot, Ilfarren immediately recognized that he was on a boat; the rocking below him coming to a stop as he stood up. The smell of the air was different and the heat sweltered about him. Finding his weapons, armour and meager supplies before him, he dressed and reached the deck in time to find the stranger turning to face him among a crowd of commoners, nobles and other passengers.
“Be quiet, for we know dock in Aldimon, port city of the eastern Kilanti deserts.”
Ilfarren balked at the thought, but as he gazed beyond the mast of the Rillistani clipper, he saw the arched domes, towers and buildings of foreign lands; Kilanti lands that he had only known in story and poem. “Why the Kilanti Deserts?”
The stranger chuckled and beckoned he follow him down the boarding plank and into the crowded docks teeming with people and cargo. “Where else other than Aldimon? The quickest route from the isles and the easiest place to disappear. Remember you’re a wanted man Ilfarren. I should get going though. I’m Effelion by the way. Good luck.”
“Effelion!?” Ilfarren called out, but with the sway of the crowd and the shove of crude strangers, Ilfarren had already lost sight of the Wartrotter who had helped him escape a death sentence in his homeland.
Realizing he understood nothing of this new land and little of the Kilanti language, Ilfarren resolved himself to learn quickly and adapt. In the early days of his arrival, he took up simple guard jobs where more coin than words were exchanged, and soon a reputation came about in Aldimon’s streets about a tall figure in chain that had killed countless thieves foolish enough to pursue him in combat. Ilfarren did not like that people knew him by name, and coming to realize how dangerous his life had become moved away from odd jobs to a much more perilous occupation: Gladiator.
Deciding the best way to escape notice was to join the nameless ranks of those destined to die in the heat, sands and dirt of the Kilanti arenas, Ilfarren took the name Tyrion in the months that passed. Try as he might to avoid it, another reputation was born of the ‘Elf’ who could not die; a man so stalwart in defense and unforgiving in his attacks that no gladiator could best him. Less than a year after his arrival and now fluent in several Kilanti dialects, Ilfarren, or ‘Tyrion’ was Aldimon’s most powerful and deadly Gladiator. His fate would once again twist about and force him to leave the desert city.
It was in the largest Gladiatorial event of the year that ‘Tyrion’ was scheduled as the premier match against Gorebag; a massive ogre known for gorging upon the remains of his dead opponents. As the crowds roared at him in ‘Blood Heat,’ Aldimon’s largest arena, Ilfarren came to face Gorebag in single combat. The two combatants circled for a time, testing each other’s reflexes and speed before the ogre finally grew impatient and attempted to crush the Eladrin with a brutal overhand smash of his spiked club. Ilfarren barely dodged, finding the beast much quicker than he had first imagined, and soon a game of cat and mouse began as Ilfarren was forced to retreat from the overbearing strength of Gorebag and his relentless attack.
Ilfarren was too intelligent and his tactics too clever to be bested though, and as Gorebag began to tire and his step falter, Ilfarren suddenly began pushing the ogre back. Try as Gorebag might to overpower the ‘Elf’, Ilfarren was too fast with his movement and utilized the terrain too well within Blood Heat, and eventually his great spear found Gorebag’s head. Revelling in the victory, Ilfarren was about to retire from the arena after the crowds had dispersed when he was confronted by two equally tall figures, graceful in movement and determined to speak with him.
“You’ve flourished in foreign lands Ilfarren,” said a melodic elven voice, and Ilfarren instantly realized the Marshals had found him.
“I’ve had time to learn from the mistakes that have been made,” Ilfarren replied, staring down the two Marshals.
One was a beautiful woman, her green hair flowing like a mane around her. A single deep scar ran through her brow, across the milky white of her iris and down her cheek. Flanking the wound was a ritual Eladrin tattoo on her other cheek. He recognized her as Ashira, once a ranger in the employ of the Evramar military and now a Rillistani Marshal. Ashira had trained with Ilfarren when they were both initiates and had become close friends through the arduous trials necessary to weed out unworthy candidates. Ilfarren had been enamored of her during their years of study, and she had reciprocated his affection; sharing each other’s beds for a time. In the end, their paths had separated upon promotion to the rank of Marshal.
The other Eladrin was Medelen, a cruel and capricious man whom Ilfarren had heard rumors of, but only now had the misfortune of seeing in a person. Known for killing all those foolish enough to get in his way, Medelen had been the model Marshal, ruthless in his hunt of the Cabal and unforgiving of those who did not acquiesce to his demands. Ilfarren readied his weapon, realizing he would have to defend himself even after the exhausting duel against Gorebag.
“This is mistake that you will pay for cur,” Medelen growled, and lunged at him with his rapier. Ilfarren easily deflected the blow and dodged back, clenching his teeth in restrained anger.
“Leave me and tell them I am dead Medelen. I am not worth the Marshal’s trouble here in the Kilanti Deserts,” Ilfarren shouted back, trying to find room in the dingy pits below the arena.
“You are to be questioned Ilfarren. Please come peacefully and there will be no violence,” replied Ashira, who had drawn her twin swords and was cautiously approaching. Those words suddenly rung hollow with Ilfarren, memories of Selera’s death once buried now fresh in his mind. The ex-marshal responded with a brutal thrust of his spear in Ashira’s direction, forcing her several steps back. Ilfarren then focused on Medelen who had clearly underestimated his skill. With several quick strikes, the meddling Marshal was down on the ground, two gaping wounds from Ilfarren’s spear already gushing blood.
Ilfarren turned to face Ashira, who stared at him with pain and equal frustration in her eyes. Eventually she relented, stepping back from her old lover. “Leave then Ilfarren. You have killed another Marshal and I was never able to best you in single combat. But know that I will return with others and find you again.”
Ilfarren paused a moment and considered surrendering to her, but finally nodded after a moment of weakness and fled down the passageways of Blood Heat and then the streets of Aldimon. Within a day he had departed from the city and was hired on as a simple caravan guard to the troubled nations of the north; Entreria, Oria and Civean…