Approximately five hundred years ago, I was born in
the city of Vesper, the son of a young tailor and the
Captain of a well-known and feared mercenary company known
as The Black Rose Society. I spent the first twenty years
of my life on the march with the company through some of
its more perilous times: the slaughter at Yew, the Vesper
Uprisings, and finally, the invasion of Cove where the
Society as the world knew it came to an abrupt end by a
vile betrayal by Lord Daithomir, the Society’s employer.
As his dying wish, this Captain flung me hundreds of years
forward in time, tasked with the duty of discovering the
hidden secrets of the Society’s past and rebuilding the
company to its former glory.
For the last twenty-five years I have led the
Society with these lofty purposes in mind. We have emerged
from the ashes and once again built a force to be reckoned
with, we have discovered where we came from, and decided
that we didn’t much like it. Together we have fought a war
with the Lady’s Ringwielders and we took the battle to the
Lady herself, sealing her away forever. Together we fought
and succeeded against insurmountable odds against the
forces of the Shadowclan and the varied followers of The
Guardian. In merely a quarter-century we have helped to
reshape the world. Together.
All good things, however, must come to an end.
Having accomplished the goals set for me by my
father all those years ago, and having dedicated the best
years of my life to the company that I was born to, I have
decided to retire to spend my remaining years living a
Colonel Sandoval is hereby promoted to the rank of
General, which he has earned time and time again in the
twenty-five years we have served together. General
Sandoval will lead the Society in my place, as he has shown
the uncanny ability to do throughout the years.
I have never been one for lengthy goodbyes.
To my family – my brothers and sisters of The
Society – and to all I have met in my time here, I offer
you my fondest wishes for a bright and peaceful future. I
am not walking off the face of Britannia, and I may return
if the need is dire, but until then, adieu.
General Debinani Rahl
The Black Rose Society
The middle-aged man came out from the back room
behind the bar and slammed the wooden mug down in front of
the nervous, portly man perched precariously on the
“I’ve told you mayor,” the man growled, “I’m
retired, don’t presume to ask me again.”
The portly man flinched away from the bartender’s
icy glare as if struck. He nodded nervously and left
Turon’s Redoubt without another word.
The man looked around at the rest of his patrons
staring at him dumbfoundedly at his outright hostility
toward Mayor Fitch. Old man Erwin, perched on his
traditional stool at the end of the bar, was the last to
turn back to his drink.
“So what was that about Adulphus?”
“Nothing of any import,” replied the bartender,
pouring himself a shot of Northlands whiskey, his tone
putting an end to the questioning before Erwin really got
himself going. The man looked up and saw his wife Marla
standing at the top of the stairs, a look of concern on her
face. Adulphus drank his shot, never taking his eyes from
hers until she turned and returned to her weaving in their
home above the inn and tavern.
Just then, the twins burst into the commons room
from the storage rooms in back. The boy and girl, both a
very precocious five years, chased each other with wooden
swords through the commons room and up the stairs.
Adulphus smiled warmly. Little Aduphus III had the bearing
of a warrior, as much as a five-year-old can have at any
rate, and he carried the little wooden blade with a
confidence. Little Xavierra did not carry her blade, she
danced with it; swirling through the room with a grace that
children do not tend to have. They both scared their
mother to death, the way they went on, but they were the
newest heirs of a long line of leaders, and it showed even
with the little advice their father offered. They both
somehow knew more about their heritage then he had thought
possible, and had even begun asking about their half-
Adulphus sighed. He hadn’t seen Alexander in
nearly six years. In fact, no one had. It was like he had
vanished from the world entirely. Perhaps it was for the
best, given the circumstances.
Evening came and went, townsfolk, merchants,
wandering adventurers, all stayed the night at Turon’s
Redoubt before taking the treacherous road south through
Clan country (as most orcs wouldn’t dare come near the
place except in force), and Adulphus kept his thoughts
clear and hands busy; but finally, the large fireplace in
the center of the room burned low, and his patrons left for
their homes or their rented rooms and pallets upstairs,
leaving only Old Erwin and himself alone in a commons room
that was slowly being consumed by late-night shadow.
The bartender looked out the window to the south
and saw the orc campfires light the sky in the distance.
He heard the sounds of the wardrums echoing across the
valley. He could almost hear the spears against leather
shields and the guttural pig-language of their wielders as
they danced around the fires in their drunken pre-war
orgy. Closer still was the camp of the army that would
meet the pigs in battle tomorrow, little more than an
amateur militia of farmers and children. Lambs to the
“I’m retired,” he whispered to himself.
Someplace outside the zone that Adulphus had involuntarily
fallen into, someone asked him if he was okay. He forced
himself back into his immediate surroundings and replied to
Erwin’s query with a slight nod. The old man finished his
drink and slid the mug over to Adulphus to refill, he
instead took the mug and stashed it behind the bar.
“Closing time, old man,” he said, clearly not in the mood
for the man’s nightly argument, “Go home.”