Rooke is the surename of a man whose lineage can be traced to the isle of Lantan, which was flooded and nearly destroyed as a result of a power struggle between the god Cyric and the goddess Mystra, which resulted in the latter’s murder and the former’s imprisonment in Pandemonium, a realm of chaos, terror, and insanity.
For generations, some say thirty three, others say two hundred and eleven, all able bodied and willing Rookes have attempted to venture into Cyric’s prison, but alas, all have failed. For example, the Thunder Rooke was killed by a swarm of rabid fruit bats on his way to the Portal to Pandemonium. Another Rooke, a steppe nomad named the Wild Rooke, led a horde of his warriors in a savage thrust for Pandemonium’s center where Cyric was imprisoned, but was blasted to smithereens by a barrage sorcery, and the Traitor Rooke became possessed by a demon lord, fighting and killing the next five generations of Rookes who attempted to avenge their home’s destruction. The last Rooke who made the attempt, known as the One True Rooke, managed to slay the Traitor Rooke, but too perished after the rigor of his ordeal caused him to collapse.
No more Rookes made the attempt after that. It happened incrementally; the next Rooke walked away. The next Rooke dithered and the rest simply lost heart and then in time, simply stopped trying.
For about seven generations following, the lineage began to move away from vengeance, and into normal, honest work as mercantilism, law, and politics. As such, the day to day rigors of life began to take precedence, and the memory of Lantan began to fade, until one day, the latest Rooke, the one people called the Wandering Rooke, an aimless individual, distant nephew of the great Lord Rooke, fell upon a tome kept by a family friend. It was a diary, and in its yellowed, frayed pages was the story of Lantan, and the story of the Rookes. In it, the following words were written.
“We Rookes were honest folk once. We once had a country, but hardship and the repetition of failure beat us down and kept us there. We slunk away and tried to forget, but I could never forget, and neither could my predecessors, for in spite of all our good work on this work, Cyric still lives, and his influence grows.
Oh how my days and the days of our house simply drift on by. I often ponder with great troubles; of Lantan and the Rookes: is this how it ends?"
- Lord Rooke
The Wandering Rooke read these words, and then, spiked by curiosity and moving south towards the Desert of Raduun, began to read the rest.