The tale of Dremnin began in the small rural hamlet of Diamede, near the town of Darranis. Kaer Darranis had been opened some 20 years earlier, and a thriving town now replaced the blessed Kaer that held its residents safe through the Scourge. When freed from the confines of the Kaer, his family made their way with others of like mind to establish a settlement on the Coil River. Dremnin’s father, a human named Karker, set out to learn the art of fishing, as the hamlet of Diamede needed food while they replanted crops and established a new cycle of life. His mother, Gabriella, was a fine singer and musician, a Troubador Adept, who maintained a happy home for her family, and sang of tales and legends of the Scourge and before to the residents at night after their labors were done. It wasn’t long after the founding of Diamede that little Dremnin came into the world and began his own tale in the world. His parents named him after an elven friend from the Kaer, as a mark of remembrance and respect.
Dremnin grew up as a happy child, showing himself to be bright and curious, as well as adventurous. As he grew, he formed a love of music shared with his mother, and never tired of listening to her songs. He tried to learn from her, acquiring the basics for future music talents, with an aptitude for stringed instruments and a singing voice that showed his mother’s influence. She also managed to teach him to speak Throalic and the Human languages, and to read and write the Dwarven tongue competently. With his father it was different, as Dremnin took to water like a T’skrang. Under his father’s watchful eyes, he learned to swim in the Coil River, and even began to learn the ancient art of fishing. His father was proud of his son, and would take him along to fish. Dremnin also made friends in their hamlet, and got permission to travel to the town of Darranis with the family of a local merchant. The boy was fascinated by the trill of all the people and the excitement of the marketplace. He asked where all the Name Givers and goods came from, and was told that the merchant trade routes lay all across the world of Barsaive. This got the boy thinking of an exciting path in the world larger than his own hamlet of Diamede.
So it came to pass that Dremnin sought to learn knowledge of the greater world stage, the geography of both before and after the Scourge, the trade routes and where they led, as well as what goods the caravans carried and with whom the bartered. His hunger for more knowledge led him to spend more time in Darranis talking with merchant lackies and listening to where they had been and their experiences. He also learned a shadier side of the marketplace, when one of the caravan boys taught him the art of pick-pocketing. Being bright and dexterous, he picked it up fairly quickly and enjoyed the fruits of his labors. He used to coins so garnered by buying the implements to try his hand at map making, one of the numerous artisan skills required of all Name Givers to prove they were not tainted by the Horrors.
By the time Dremnin turned 16, he had grown into a stalwart young man with a passion for learning that seemed to call him outside the confines of family and hearth. Karker saw that the lad would not be content to live his life engaging in the quiet pastimes of a simple fisherman, and though the boy loved music, he had no gift to carry him forward in those pursuits. Thus it was that Dremnin’s parents spoke with their friends in Diamede to find a place for the young man with a caravan to Bartertown. They would see if this trip either satisfied the boy and turned him back to his family, or opened the doors to the world and a path on the roads of Barsaive.
The trip to Bartertown and its many adventures dashed all hopes his family had of Dremnin becoming a permanent part of the hamlet of Diamede. His parents accepted the boy’s enthusiasm and determined to find him a place where he could grow and learn a trade. Again, the family turned to their merchant neighbor and asked if he might know how to give the boy the life he seemed to be seeking. The neighbor, a jovial human named Boskone, agreed and began to watch for the right opportunity to place the lad with a caravan.
Weeks passed, and Dremnin dreamed of the open road and its adventures. Meanwhile, Boskone kept his word to the boy’s family and watched for the right opening that would give wings to Dremnin’s dreams. Finally, the merchant came to call on Dremnin’s parents to inform them that there was a caravan in town that showed promise, and they were spending the night. The caravan leader had agreed to take the boy on to assist in the day to day operations of the trading group, and to see where he might find his path amongst them. Karker insisted that he and Boskone go that night and speak to the caravan master about the boy, and they quickly set off to Darranis and the encampment. Unbeknownst to the men, Dremnin snuck along in the darkness behind them to see if he could eavesdrop and watch the meeting for himself. His plans were thwarted at the mens’ decision to meet in the caravan leader’s tent, so the boy eased his way past the perimeter guard and soon found himself behind the tent in question. He lay quietly on the ground to make himself less conspicuous and listened while the men spoke at length. The caravan leader, a human named Tubric, was looking for a cheap source of labor and would start the boy as a stable hand to muck out the draft animal areas each night. Karker wanted better for his son and argued for a better position, while Boskone worked as an intermediary. The boy listened intently to the exchange, and was worried about his fate as his father was forced by reality to agree to a lesser status in the trade group for his son to get the start he sought.
Suddenly, he felt the nagging feeling that he was being watched. He turned his head slowly to look behind him and saw a hooded figure squatting there, about 8 feet from him. “What do you seek here in the darkness, away from the lights of the camp, Dremnin”, the figure asked in a quiet but gruff voice. The boy quickly changed to a seated position, preparing to make a break for the relative safety of the nearby town, when the figure reached out with open palms and said, “I mean you no harm, boy. Could have killed you while you eavesdropped on the tent if I had fell intent on you. Let’s talk.” The hands dropped out of sight again and the gruff voice asked again, “What do you seek here?”
This was an unforeseen turn of events for Dremnin. He had easily passed by the camp guard and listened to the conversation on his fate, yet here was a figure that had approached and gotten the drop on him, and who could easily have killed him. He accepted the situation and folded his legs as he sat, then answered the figure. “I am here listening as my father and our friend try to get me a position with this caravan”, he explained. “I want to see the world and experience it for myself, and our village merchant says this man Tubric is honest and can help me.”
A quick, muffled laugh and snort came from the cowled figure, and he said, “Honest… Tubric? Well I guess he’s more honest than most of his ilk, I’ll grant you that. But why do you want to take on the life of a stable hand as a career? Is life do dull at home that shoveling shit for a caravan seems exciting?”
Dremnin had to agree that the proposed life he’d heard of as spoken by the men in the tent lacked the taste of adventure he had been seeking. “I want to learn of Barsaive and to travel the breadth of the land. I believe I have a destiny that goes beyond being a fisherman”, the boy said firmly, “or a stable hand.” The figure remained silent, so he continued. “I want to become an apprentice in a trade that will allow me to grow and be filled with knowledge that will help all Name Givers. Mayhaps becoming a merchant is a good path”, he said quietly as he looked at the figure to see if he could see anything of the being that crouched before him. “But I had hoped for more than simply mucking behind a line of draft beasts.” His appearance drooped a little at the thought of years in that line of work, and the figure before him chuckled.
“I don’t blame you, lad”, the figure said as he stood up slowly. “Lad, it’s time to face the music for your invasion of this camp. Come with me, and we’ll go in and see what noble Tubric has to say about you.”
The boy got to his feet slowly, fearing the worst, but knowing that flight meant a harsher fate. The cowled figure and Dremnin walked to the front of the tent and entered the light of the campfires. Several heads turned to look at the duo with curiosity, then seeing what was afoot they turned back to their own business. A hand emerged again from under the cloak, and held the tent flap aside for Dremnin to walk inside. “What this, Quinn?”, came the bellow from Tubric as saw the figure with Dremnin enter and shifted his bulk to stand.
“Dremnin”, said his father and Boskone in unison. Dremnin wished he could crawl into a wee hole and hide.
“Found this one behind the tent listening to your private conversation”, said the figure now identified as Quinn. The figure’s hands now reached up and pulled back the hood of the cloak to reveal a human male face, about age 50, with piercing blue eyes and close cut brown hair laced with grey. The lines of age and hard experience were chiseled in that face.
Tubric looked hard at the boy standing beside Quinn, put his hands on his hips and turned to Boskone asking, “Is this by chance the lad we’ve been speaking about?” He raised an eyebrow as he glowered at Boskone and Karker.
“Yes”, Karker said in a low voice, “That’s my son, Dremnin.”
Tubric turned back to Dremnin and asked, “How did you manage to get all the way into this camp without being stopped?”
The boy stood his ground and said, “I used cover to get past the guards, then looked for the biggest tent as the lodgings of the caravan master. It wasn’t so hard, sir.”
Tubric’s mouth fell open as he listened to the boy’s description of how easily he had passed camp security. “We shall have to make some changes to camp security, eh Quinn? The older man nodded and a slight smile crept onto his face as he stood there. “This boy is a troublemaker”, Tubric said sternly as he turned to face the other men in the tent. “You can take your boy and go. I have no place for some one with the ability to sneak past my guards and do heaven knows what in my camp.” Dremnin’s hopes and spirits fell crashing into shards.
“I have a better plan”, Quinn said suddenly to Tubric. “I see promise in this boy and would like to take him as an apprentice. I need to take one, as I’m growing long in the tooth.”
Tubric looked straight into Quinn’s eyes as the two men spoke, and he responded, stroking his beard and considering Quinn’s offer, saying, “Truly… the boy has shown rare ability to hoodwink my normally vigilant camp guards. You think he has what it takes to become a Scout?” Dremnin’s heart seemed to skip a beat as the words of the caravan master came forth. A scout! He had never dreamed he might aspire to such a level, yet here it was unfolding before him. “If I give my consent, Quinn, will you guarantee that he will stay out of mischief. Will you be responsible for him?”
Quinn turned to Dremnin and asked, “Dremnin, if I take you as my apprentice, will you swear to me before your father here, that you will obey me and attend me as required, that I might teach you the skills you will need to one day become an Adept?”
The boy looked over at his father and Boskone, both of whom nodded encouragingly to let the boy know that the choice here was his. “I swear to be your loyal and true apprentice… and to stay out of mischief”, he added as an after thought to placate Tubric.
Silence fell on the small gathering in the tent, to be broken by Tubric. “That’s it then”, he said as he patted his expansive girth and smiled. “You two are excused”, he said waving in dismissal at Quinn and Dremnin, “while we conclude this evening with some of Boskone’s excellent wine.”
The old scout walked outside with Dremnin and shut the tent flap, then said, “Come with me and we’ll see you out of camp the proper way, my lad. I have matters to attend to this night, and you can wait by the guard’s fire while you await the departure of your father and the merchant. But first, swear your most solumn oath to me that you will be my apprentice and obey me in all things without question, to learn the ways of the Scout.”
“You have my most solumn oath, sir. I swear by all that is good and true that I will be your loyal apprentice.” And Dremnin meant it; but he knew that somehow Quinn already knew that too.
That night Dremnin returned home with his father and the merchant Boskone, to pack his belongings and say farewell to his family. He had no idea when he’d see them again, but he knew in his heart that he would. His family sat and talked with Dremnin until late that night, and in the early morning the boy set forth on the greatest adventure in his life… on the Adept’s path to becoming a Scout.
He arrived at the camp, gave his father a hug and a handshake, and then was off to look for Quinn. He found the man drinking a tin of some hot beverage as he squatted by a campfire. The old scout looked up and gave Dremnin a kindly smile, and offered him a cup of something called coffee. “If it is too bitter for you, add a pinch of sugar to sweeten it. I’ll wager in time you’ll drink it black, or as some do with a daub of cow’s milk.” The adventure had begun.
Time passed for Dremnin in a busy whirl of days and nights. As the boy worked with the many Name Giver beings in and around the caravan, he learned firsthand the different races of intelligent beings and the professions of Barsaive. His cheerful demeanor was infectious in the caravan, and the boy was well liked by one and all. Tubric, the Caravan Master, watched as the boy took on tasks and challenges that allowed him to grow, and smiled as he thought about how proud the parents would be of their son. The caravan’s scout, old Quinn, soon found the young lad asking penetrating questions about the path of the Scout. The two sat and spoke at length on many occasions, and would frequently disappear to study and practice the Talents of scouting at all times of the day and night. The change in Dremnin came steadily as he began to commit more and more time to learning about what it meant to be a Scout. The assumption of his life’s path was so natural that it happened almost without notice, and certainly without fanfare. The old Scout had become the boy’s master and teacher into the mysteries of becoming a Scout.
Three years passed, and Dremnin became a Scout adept, showing real ability and vast promise in the Way of the Scout and favoring the Passion Floranuus. Then it happened; when the caravan was far to the East, after having secured a store of spices and salves smuggled from Thera itself. It was probably a trap, a lure of riches from the sale of smuggled goods, as the slavers came steady and sure in the night, as silent and swift as death. The Passion Dis herself surely guided the Therans to fulfill their awful task, for they were in among the caravan camp before an alarm was sounded. The old Master roared like a Troll Skyraider as he emerged from his tent in his night shirt, wielding a sword about him like a whirlwind to smite the unfortunate Therans who came too close. But Tubric suddenly staggered in mid-stride, with a cluster of feathered shafts protruding from his chest and neck to take his life and end all thoughts of fortune and glory on the trade routes of Barsaive. Of his mentor, all Dremnin could see was a bloody trail that led from his abandoned bedroll off into darkness. Alas, they had fallen into the hands of Theran slavers.
Dremnin was taken in his sleep, having imbibed of strong wine the evening before, and having never before been surprised in a camp raid by attackers so fell. The survivors of the caravan, both wounded and sound, were stripped and shackled together in a chain-gang for the long march into captivity. Dremnin was strong and tough, allowing him to survive the march much better than most.
So when the time came, he was purchased by the slave overseer of a mining company and set to digging in the earth, denied the air and sky above him, and forced into a most wretched existence. His Theran overseer, a grossly obese Ork slave master, enjoyed watching the young man struggle and frequently spoke of what a fine day it was above. Months passed and Dremnin labored day in and day out as he dug for ore, and his efforts were usually rewarded by finding large nuggets to deposit into the ore bins at the end of each day. His hatred of slavery grew with each passing day as he ended his labors. As speaking was not allowed, the fact was concealed from occasional passers-by that Dremnin was becoming withdrawn into his own thoughts.
It came to pass that due to his ability to find large deposits of ore, Dremnin was selected for a new tunnel complex in an area not previously mined. The goal was, he soon learned, to uncover Elemental Earth which had been suspected in the depths of this specific location. For three months Dremnin dug with a pick ax or with his hands, silent in view of the strictly enforced rules against open speech. One day, at the close of his work, an exhausted Dremnin shuffled back to the slave living area to eat and fall into unconsciousness. He deposited his pick ax in the wheel barrow standing by the Ork guards at the entrance, and walked slowly towards the smoky brazier that served to light and heat the chamber.
It was then he noticed the young slave girl, now a little sickly but still possessed of a sweet, gentle smile. She was trying to get his attention and to get him to move over to [Aughra], where the old crone sat at the back of the room, as always, upon a dirty, worn old blanket. Several others from among the slaves had been summoned to her as well: a young tattooed elf male, a shaggy male dwarf, a blue skrang male, and a gruff human male. The rest of the room was filled with sick, coughing and exhausted slaves who were well past caring and destined to meet their maker before too many more days passed. The human male soon moved off to stand next to the brazier as another male dwarf came to crouch there, obstensively to warm himself, yet within earshot of the gathered slaves beside Aughra. The human male’s posture said silently, “No closer”.
As he looked at his companions, Dremnin was struck by the thought that he has seen them somewhere before now, but his attention was quickly drawn from these thoughts to the crone.
The old slave soon wheezed out a tale that told of the coming of the last moments of her miserable life, and she asked for the help of any brave souls among those gathered stalwarts who might assist her. She had selected those that stood around her as strong beings of worth; beings who maintained the spark of life even in the dismal depths of slavery. She was Horror-marked, she said, and when she asked who would assist her, the tattooed elf said he would, asking what she would have those around her do. She asked that we deliver an ancient tome safely to Throal, and had them each swear themselves to the task. Then she used a dirty, ragged fingernail to drew her own blood and asked those sworn to her to do the same, mixing her own blood with theirs. Immediately all of the Name Givers, except the human who had moved away to guard the dwarf from approaching, knew they were bound by a Blood Oath to deliver the book or suffer permanent damage as a penalty.
With that, the light began to leave her eyes and she slumped backwards, with Dremnin catching her and laying her gently to rest on her back. She whispered the words, “Fly you fools”, then suddenly sat bolt upright and issued a blood curdling scream that would have done an Ork battle bellow proud, saying something about “Raggok take you! Go!” She then gave up her spirit, and with her passing, a sudden wind whipped through the room and down the hallways of the mine, knocking over the brazier and extinguishing all the torches. Dremnin rushed to where the young girl had been standing to protect her, and the sound of Death rattled in the throats of all the slaves nearby, save for the tiny band of the chosen and the Dwarf male by the fallen brazier. The hairs on their heads stiffened as they felt evil being sweep by them, bringing death to the guards beyond the room.