Having a character with a great Roleplay story has always been important to me. Without a background the character is just a tool to accomplish the numbers game in LOTRO.
Creating the storyline for RP is an interesting venture. At first I had gravitated toward the tale of the Grey Company. I then learned a good lesson in RP, your background should be UNIQUE if you expect to get any feedback to RP banter with. Though being a member of the Grey Company is fascinating, most everyone else finds it appealing as well. Originally there were roughly 31 Grey Company rangers in Tolkien Lore, but because of the fascination for rangers and the Grey Company, you will find over 200 Grey Company rangers in Bree alone and each one claiming to be an actual member of the Grey Company. My desire to be a member of the Grey Company quickly fizzled.
So where do I go from there? I love the stealthy feel of being a ranger/hunter, and I love the semi-secret society of the Grey Company, yet I could find no other similar group that was less known to make it more unique. Then one day I happened upon an idea. When I was making a new outfit for the blog I decided to create a ranger outfit based around a mostly white look. I came up with an outfit that gained a lot of attention. I was quickly told that it resembled another character from a different game, Ezio/Altaire from the Assassin’s Creed genre. Old as I am and out of touch with the popular games of today, I had to google it and find out what everyone was talking about.
And behold I see this character looking VERY similar to my new ranger outfit, though with a few details different, such as boots and a cloak. I grew fond of this new outfit and decided to keep it (My wife Devonna is currently putting it on the blog as I type here). So now I had to find a new storyline for Ked. Taking some of the aspects of this assassin’s creed character (some because the whole concept of three beings creating humanity and something called an animus were a bit strange, well, VERY strange) I enjoyed the environments he lived in and the fighting style he chose. So How do I combine the two worlds enough to make it feasible in LOTRO while keeping it from breaking Lore?
Researching for many days I came at last upon the realms of Near Harad, Far Harad, and Khand. Using many different resources Tolkien and movie based I learned the following….
Far Harad was based loosely off an african culture with jungles and large riding elephants and a tribal people, hence where we get the Mumakil riders in RoTK. Near Harad and the realm of Khand was based loosely off an Arabic and Assyrian culture with dark-skinned people as well as Black skinned people as large and fierce as trolls. Both Near Harad and Khand were desert environments and very little is known about them as well as very few maps of the region. This allowed for some leeway in story creation without lore breaking ideas. With that being said I give you the tale of Kedryck and a few of his companions.
Of Kedryck Tylmarande and The Company of the Rose
Kedryck Tylmarande was born and raised in Breeland up to the age of Fourteen. His father was a reknown smithy of weapons and armour while his mother took care of the shop and ran the book-keeping. On a trip to the Lone Lands to sell a shipment of weapons to the small band of defenders at Ost Guruth, Kedryck and his father were attacked. Kedryck was knocked unconscious and a burlap sack was shoved over his head. His fathers condition was unknown at last sighting.
Upon waking up Kedryck realised that he was in captivity, being bound with cord on his hands and feet and the burlap sack still over his head kept him from seeing anything. However, from hushed conversation, whispered voices and other surrounding sounds, Kedryck is able to determine the following details as he traveled in captivity:
– He and many other youths from different towns and villages all through Eriador have been kidnapped to be sold into slavery as weaponsmiths for the enemy to increase his power for the coming war.
– They traveled by boat down what seemed to be a large river until they reached the ocean.
– They traveled many days south and possibly east encountering a few ocean storms until they came to a port that his captors referred to as Ramlond.
– The people here spoke a strange language and though Kedryck could not see it, he felt the heat of the sun being fiercely intense.
– They traveled by horseback now following another river inland for many days. – They chose to travel by night for two reasons, the heat of the day was unbearable without plenty of water and they seemed to be passing by many villages and thus managed to avoid confrontation at night.
– They reached a village named Talazhan where he was untied and the sack removed from his head revealing a desert environment and dark-skinned people. Here, Kedryck and many other youths were sold into slavery to work the forges for the enemy.
For six years the captive youths worked hundreds of forges in and around the village of Talazhan making weapons and armour. Then, one night, a group of hooded and masked men dressed in blazing white and crimson flowing garments rescued the young men and brought them out of Talazhan.
Upon their freedom, the young men were offered a new life among their rescuers.
They called themselves The Company of the Rose, a group of stealthy assassins whose goal in life was to bring balance between good and evil to the land of Near Harad and Khand. At first the notion sounded noble and for ten years Kedryck and some of the other breelanders were trained in the arts of the assassins. Then slowly realization crept into Kedrycks mind and he began to understand that even though the notion was initially good, the Company would occasionally sacrifice many innocent lives to further their cause.
On one such occasion, they had decided to slow the production of the enemy’s ability to produce weapons and armour by killing all of the captive weaponsmiths. Kedryck and a few breelanders protested remarking that they were innocent people forced into slave labor working the enemy’s forges against their will. The Company responded by stating that if they freed them all they would then have to feed them and clothe them until they were able to safely return them to their individual homes and in that process they could be susceptible to exposing the Company to the enemy. They decided the best course of action was to eliminate the slave weaponsmiths. Kedryck still protested by announcing his desire to leave the Company if they wished to go through with their plan. He was told in so many words that leaving the Company was punishable by death. “Nobody leaves the Company except in a box”. he was told.
By the cover of night, Kedryck, his love Nykyria and his friend Aerridan stole horses and rode hard and fast hoping to reach the southern border of Gondor before daybreak. They would have succeeded, but as the last stretch of land came into view and he could see the southern cities of Gondor only a few leagues away, Kedryck turned in his saddle and stopped as the sun crept over the eastern horizon. Looking back toward the desert, Kedryck knew in his heart that he and the other breelanders were the only ones who displayed the courage enough to defy the Company of the Rose while the other freed slaves fearfully followed their wicked masters without question. He knew that with him gone, the others would be punished and executed. The brigands and corsairs who kidnapped him in the beginning would then find more slaves and the Company would again rescue them, force them to hunt as assassins, and aid the Company in their twisted vision of world balance. The common people of Near Harad and Khand would be helpless fodder for the war between the enemy and the Company, pawns in their game of greater powers. Who would defend them? Who would free them? Does anyone even hear the voices that cry out in the desert?
Against the desire of his heart, spurned on to a greater good, Kedryck, Nykyria and Aerridan returned to the land of their captivity. But they did not return as slaves…….they returned as saviors to the people of the desert kingdoms. They fought the Company of the Rose with the very skills they trained in. They spent the next eight years taking down their Masters and halting any plan they had in fooling those they rescued into a false sense of a righteous cause. But Kedryck and his companions did not stop there. They continued to fight any and all enemies of the common people. The Orcs, the Haradrim, the Variags and many others. They became heroes of the desert, ghosts and shadows, and a nightmare to the enemy of the people.
By the end of eight years the people of the land had built a defense for themselves and the enemy could no longer pull resources from them. Although evil forces were formed and they were strong, they were no longer able to replenish their number from the local populace. Kedryck and his companions decided they had accomplished as much as they could and knew it was time to finally head home to Breeland. They gathered a few friends who helped them in their cause and together they traveled north, leaving the desert behind them. Yet, even as they headed home, Kedryck knew they would never be free. For the Company of the Rose would not cease pursuit until Kedryck and his companions were dead or the Company in its entirety was destroyed down to the last member. And that is a fate yet to come.