- 9 Chapter Posts
Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 @ 10:35pm
Gero of Dawnrunner Clan
Name Gero Nighthunter of Dawnrunner Clan
Position Cainteoir of the Wyr (Cymeria)
|Date of Birth||21st of Frost Fire (January), 3098|
|Trade||Spokesman for the Wyr, Raven Master|
|Other Titles||Nighthunter - Name of his second shape, used by friends, especially to refer to him
Wanderer - nickname from his younger days, sometimes used by friends
Ewythr hen gath (Uncle Old Cat) - affectionate name used by several members of the Stormdanovich family.
Gero Hendricson - Name version of Gero’s name that the Vanir used.
|Aliases / Nicknames||Nighthunter - Name of his second shape, used by friends, especially to refer to him
Wanderer - nickname from his younger days, sometimes used by friends
Ewythr hen gath (Uncle Old Cat) - affectionate name used by several members of the Stormdanovich family.
Gero Hendricson - Name version of Gero’s name that the Vanir used.
|Craft / Trade||When Gero became Ryndar to High Lord Kimber, he turned down the Gift of Land, as he already had a home and place in Caer Draenár and had not wish to leave that beautiful wild valley. The Wyr built the first economy of the vale together and expanded it in a mix of group and individual investment as the years passed. During his years as Ryndar Gero invested a good part of his coin into the expanding into an even lesser accessible vale for the cultivation of forest and herbs. Most of the carefully tended wild meadows and trees are used for herbs and leaves for Sevenwater… which in turn is traded to the Vanir, who enjoy it immensely. Income from these investments is split between the individuals and the community.|
Home & Residence
|Estate / Hold / Farm||Echo Hall|
|Region / Province||Caer Draenár, Harkania March|
|Country of Residence||Cymeria|
|Town / Village||Duskhallow|
|Residence / Lodging||Echo Hall
The valley Caer Draenár is situated in, is known as dyffryn taranau rhewi, the Valley of Frozen Thunder, the name is closely linked with one of the Thunder Snow’s great falls that comes down at the far end of the valley. The valley itself, while seemingly remote, is not half a days march from Stormhold itself, but the steep and narrow path that leads there is hard to find, and even harder to climb.
Gero's home, named Echo Hall is not a singular home, but a clan home shared with several other Wyr and their partners. Like many other clan homes, Echo Hall is a large wooden building, with a wide communal area (fire hall) and independent rooms for it's denizens. From the outside Echo hall is easily distinguished by the Echo-Hawk carved into the gable. Echo hall stands on the steeper slopes of Caer Draenar, slightly above the main settlement.
|Original Birthplace||Journey's End - the Dawnrunner Clan-Home at the Bay of Echoes, on Valos Peninsula, Amber Islands.
Journey’s End was a large wooden house sitting on a hilltop right above the Bay of Echoes, a house with the back to the forest and the door to the Sea. The house was two-days away from the next settlement, a small Lynx settlement which was friendly with Panther-House.
The House was a typical Wyr clan home, with a huge hall of fire, to sit, eat, sleep and a few singular rooms for people who wished to have some private space.
|Hair||Sandy blond hair, usually worn semi-long, brushing his shoulders, or long enough to be worn tied back in a ponytail.|
|Eyes||Sea-green, under bright light they appear almost turquoise.|
|Build / Stature||Gero is very tall, of lean built with muscles well developed but tightly clinging to his tall frame. His stride is what gives the first hint at his second form: he has a swift, yet fairly silent step and often appears to be skulking around like a cat.|
|Marks / Scars||He has a small knotted scar on the left side of his Torso, the scar’s shape is strange like blurred, unintelligible writing, meshed too closely to be ever deciphered.
Gero has a Wyr-Life-Tattoo in his right upper arm depicting a crouched cat, ready to jump. The tattoo was done by Khadair long ago.
|Style||Gero’s often seen wearing very dark or black clothes, it’s an appearance he is well known for in Stormhold Caer. When it comes to armor he prefers a mesh of ringmail/leather brigandine that does not hinder his movements when fighting.|
|Character Looks Like||Rutger Hauer in Ladyhawke|
|Personality Traits||- Absolutely at home in the wilds,
- Capable survivor in most environments.
- Very skilled fighter
- Veteran of several wars
- High endurance
- Doesn’t know when to quit
- Tends to doubt his own judgement at times
- Swift under pressure, can appear reckless
- Vengeful streak when people close to him get hurt
- Willing and able to do something dark, if it serves his cause or protects a person he’s loyal to
|Personality||Being of the Wyr and having wandered long, the wilds are Gero’s first and most familiar home and a battleground he will use against enemies outnumbering him. He loves the great outdoors, be their open forests, high mountains or the deep murky swamps of Wildlandia. While familiar and to a degree at home in the life at settlements and castles there is a part of him, that will always prefer the outdoors to any stone house.
Gero is not even-tempered by nature but has learned to control his temper tightly, when angered he does not raise his voice, his voice becomes cold or ironic. His long life and the things he has seen, have left him with the habit to swiftly compare things he sees to things he saw in the past, to find patterns, similarities and dangers. If he sees a danger, he will act and act swiftly, no matter the risk to himself. While he usually is easy to approach and easy to talk to, he can be rather direct when he feels it is needed or when a person is seriously annoying him. Sometimes he feels that someone needs to be told the truth, and then he will do just that, no matter if it is done or not done in polite society.
By nature very loyal, Gero has formed close bonds to several people and to his chosen homeland. If these people, Cymeria or House Stormdanovich are threatened, he will not just act - he will set aside the rules that usually apply to conflicts. He’d have no compunction to assassinate a man, or worse, if it means protecting his chosen homeland. Gero is capable of making very harsh decisions when it comes to that.
While he has made mistakes in the past, and sometimes questions his own judgement, the one mistake still haunting him is failing Kimber Stormdanovich in the Battle of D’hassa. While Gero is slowly coming to terms with Kimber’s loss, he is more than determined to never let such a mistake happen again. And once Gero has committed himself to something, he won’t quit or stop.
Regarding relationships Gero has a relaxed view, which is not a-typical for many Wyr. While he does not view relationships as something essential and absolutely necessary, he sees them as something positive but also as something that may come and go. He well knows that no relationship lasts forever.
|Mannerisms||Gero usually appears calm, controlled, even easy-going. Few things give his temper away, mostly it is his eyes, sometimes a cold tone in his voice can warn people that the cat is indeed growling. He is well able to fade into the background, to be one of the people who were there, but few really noticed.
His presence can change within moments when threatened and when Gero lets go of the friendly, easy-going manner and again becomes an absolutely lethal fighter.
|Education||Gero's basic education was nothing exceptional, not much more than most Wyr attain at home, which is reading, writing, basic math and a lot of "history" in the shape of song and story. His true learning came with his travels, and the things he learned in the different parts of the world. Gero has good knowledge on the arts of war and strategy, partially through hands-on experience in several wars, parts through reading the works of several great strategists in different countries. Gero can do practical math - trade math, calculations for a stable building, regular geometry, though he will always say that he is not the man to calculate the angle a ballista needs to take to precisely hit the mayor's window.
Gero in general likes learning and education, and thus has used his time in Cymeria well to learn about his new homeland, it's people and their ways.
|Languages||Wyrevar - native tongue of the Wyr, his Mothertongue
Saesneg: second native tongue (bilingual)
Letanum: fluent in word and writing
Stygian: Gero is able to converse in several Stygian provincial dialects, but he can read only one and has troubles with their High Tonge
Shiraán: Fluent when speaking, never had the calligraphic skills to write it properly
Norske Tuska: Gero is well versed in reading and speaking the tongue of the Vanir
|Dexterity & Mobility||Gero’s movements have often been compared to that of a cat, tense, graceful and very fast. While not fully ambidextrous, he is able to use his left hand almost as well as his right, which lends itself to his preferred two-bladed fighting style. Having an exceptional sense of balance, Gero easily navigates ledges, narrow crossings, and has no troubles whatsoever to jump for a narrow landing when necessary.|
|Expertise||Gero is an excellent horseman, even as any horse he uses regularly will need to get used to Nighthunter. Having a good innate sense for animals, Gero is often able to built an excellent working relationship with his horse, which is at this point a stallion named Brawler.
Having spent several decades aboard Vanir ships, Gero is a good swimmer, at least in human form. In cat form he is able to swim if necessary but does not enjoy it.
While Gero is a good marcher at strong speeds and a reasonably good runner, he prefers four paws to two feet when running. He can climb well and is very agile when moving through rough grounds.
Combat & Weapons
|Training & Skills||In his youth Gero received the typical weapon’s training of the Wyr - preferring the short blade and the hunting bow. During the years of his wanderings he received a lot of training in different disciplines and styles of fighting.|
|Weapons||While easily proficient with any regular type of one handed sword (Gero takes two-handed blades only when he really has no other choice) Gero usually wields two Blood-blades, which he acquired during his wanderings in the East. Wielding one in each hand, his fighting style is more one of speed and swift strikes than of heavy strikes and stand-and-deliver tactics.
The two blood blades Gero wields are named Response and Retribution, though he sometimes refers to them as Answer and Avenger. The swords are a remnant of his time in the civil wars of Shyrakhan - he took them off the body of one rather feared adversary. A true Shyrakhanian, whom Gero only had been able to defeat, because he realized that “a true Shyrakhanian” meant he was fighting identical twins. The swords came with a riddle that the dying men passed on to him.
Arcane Skills & Abilities
|Arcane Source||Arcane Race|
|Affinity / Nature||Wyr: Shapeshifter. Gero has by nature a second form.
Rytsar: Gero has some residual Quickening that did not fade away when his High Lord died. He assumes it is what usually remains with any Rystar before and after… he has yet to realize that more remained that it usually would, partially due to his Wyr nature.
|Shape Shifting||Gero’s second shape is a melanistic jaguar, here too the lean shape prevails and the eye-colour appears only a little paler than Gero’s own eyes. The nickname of his second shape is “Nighthunter”, a nickname Gero long kept private.
If someone were to carefully examine the fur on Nighthunter’s left flank, he might find faint traces of scarring, like remains of a brand. It reads: If your people do not surrender, they will all perish. A message Gul’durak burned into Nighthunter during their encounter on Valos Island.
In cat shape Gero’s senses are heightened, he is able to smell and see much sharper than he can in human form. Running, jumping and landing are all typical for a cat his size.
|Arcane Abilities||Residual Quickening: All Rytsar retain some echo of their former Quickening, though most of its power fades once a new High Lord is Quickened. In Gero’s case and without him truly noticing, the fading has been considerably weaker than it should be. As Gero has no real frame of reference, he has yet to notice that fact - which is and was partially caused by himself as he still is unable to truly let go of Kimber and his memory. Where a Cymry would accept Kimber’s passing into the White Road, the pain of the loss is still strong with Gero, who’s Wyr nature has not the same acceptance of death.
The Quickening protects Gero's mind against fast and easy contact through the Wyr dreaming abilities.
|Arcane Defenses||After his journey to the Great Machine on the Amber Islands Gero underwent several changes that allowed him to better survive that war his homeland was embroiled in at the time.
Endurance and Pain Resistance
While the gift does not actually protect Gero from injury through normal or magical means, it allows him to ignore the pain much longer and to not collapse even from severe injury as fast as he would have otherwise.
Sense of Darkness
Gero knows a “smell” (most pronouncedly in cat form) that announces the presence of someone or something shadow-touched. That sense is not far-ranged, it needs close distance to be precise. But a general sense of something dark being near-by may manifest itself in form of dreams, or in hearing the Echo of the distant drum.
The Great Machine heightened Gero’s reflexes, allowing him to react lightning fast to threats. Downside is, that these reflexes cannot be taken back and will kick in, when he is startled or even mock-attacked.
Gero is not aware of the residual Quickening's strength at this time, he believes it to be fading.
|Weaknesses / Limitations||Gero's original Quickening was not as strong if compared to the recent Ryndar, as the Quickening is meant to match the Ryndar to his High Lord, enabling him to match their Lord in a fight to the death. As Kimber was neither as active nor as strong in the arcane as the current High Lord the Quickening was not as strong, especially as it meshed well with Gero's already existing protections.
Sense of Darkness
The sense of Darkness in itself is imprecise, a vague sense of something being there, something coming. Only in close range it becomes clearer. The downside of the skill is the sense of dread, the Echo of the Drum inside his mind that haunt Gero when the Sense of Darkness is active. While he learned to live with that effect, it can disturb his focus and causes frequent nightmares. That sense leaves the sleeping mind restless, sensitive and vulnerable to all kinds of echoes.
As already mentioned these reflexes cannot be turned off or made go away, they are always there and wil kick in, even against people who are no danger at all, if they were to startle/mock attack Gero or take him unawares. A step further from that is the blood rage, when all control is lost and concious control gives way to a lethal predator fighting all that he preceives as a danger. Gero has only had two instances of blood rage in the last 200 years, one at D'hassa and one recently when injured by the Glass Dagger, in both cases Mikhael Stormdanovich proved to be the only one able to reach him. If there have been past incidents prior to his time in Cymeria, Gero never shared with others.
|Spouse, Mate or Partner||None|
|Children||“All my children were sent into danger, into the war of the Amber Isles. Three died, far from home, buried and mourned by the comrades. Two yet remain, and their path might be the darkest of them all.” (Gero about his family)
Rhavin: Gero’s eldest daughter, already strong and responsible at the time her mother was killed. She grew into a powerful warrior, a fierce no-nonsense fighter whom many expected to one day out-do her father on the battlefield. She died in the Battle of the Flowering Falls during the Gul’durak War.
Kurán: Gero’s eldest son, younger brother to Rhavin. Fast and agile, Kurán was a prime scout during the fighting on the Amber Islands, infiltrating Gul’durak’s stronghold several times. He died in the last battle against the Sorceror, defending a clan of Lynxes from him and thereby providing the distraction needed for Khadair and Gero to kill Gul’durak.
Variel: second son, soft-spoken and witty, he fell prey to the first heavy incursions of Gul’durak on the Amber Islands.
Darek (Bloodhunter) - Leader of Khadair’s personal guard and amongst the first regular soldiers to be sent to the Great Machine. He did not join Gero in defying Khadair, chosing his loyalty and friendship to Khadair over his family. He is presumed alive and trapped on the Amber Isles, still serving Khadair.
Alaric (Shaderunner/Little Hunter) - the youngest of the five. After his mother’s death he would not come out of his cat shape for several months due to the pain of her loss. Eventually he rejoined his family in human shape and grew into a stealthy, sometimes shy appearing youngster. He joined the scout troops during the war and was sent to the Great Machine for changing. He supported Gero’s rebellion against Khadair but never made it to Coldrocks Island when the Ghost Wall rose. He is considered alive but trapped on the Amber Islands, if free or captive of Khadair, no one can say.
|Father||Hendric of Dawnrunner clan - a wanderer much like Gero was, he journeyed the length and breadth of Aereth without settling anywhere, not until he met his wife Irés and settled with her on the Amber Islands. After Irés was killed early into the Gul’durak incursion, he left the Amber Islands for good, wanting to see his old friends again before he died. Gero assumes that Hendric wanted to visit the Selkie Islands again and might still be alive there.
|Mother||Irés of the Falls - born and raised on the Amber Isles she fell hopelessly in love with Hendric the Wanderer, and while she never understood why Hendric was such a restless creature, she gave him the anchor his soul needed. Their marriage was not blessed by many children but those were fiercely loved, and it was Irés greatest pain that her children inherited Hendric’s wind-soul, wandering off to see the world. She would live to see Gero return with his own brood of children, shortly before she was killed by Gul’durak’s minions. She never learned what became of her daughter Eracane.
|Sister(s)||Eracane: Gero’s younger sister and as fiercely curious as he was in his younger years. Fascinated by stories and legends about the Wyr of Xia - purportedly living in the City of Skulls and worshipping the multi-corporeal beast - she set out by ship to Xia when she was about 20. That was the last time that Gero ever saw her alive. He has not heard from or about her since that day, nor did she return to fight in the war on the Amber Isles. She might be dead or she might alive somewhere in the vast lands of Xia.
NOTE: Unbeknownst to Gero Eracane is alive, she actually found the Wyr of Xia and the City of Skulls. She and her children are alive.
|Other Family||Rukhan of Dawnrunner Clan: Paternal Grandfather of Gero. His adventures brought him to strange places out in the sea, on the search for the ruins of legendary Lemuria. Gero met him when he was a small child and listening to the old Wyr tell tales of his adventures inspired Wanderlust in Gero as well as his sister Eracane.
Shiriane of Darkwarden Pride: Paternal Grandmother, hailing from a Wyr tribe living on the broken islands. She met Rukhan during his adventures and went with him to the Amber Isles.
Rukhan and Shiriane both left the Amber Islands around the time Gero took to adventuring, they wished to see Shiriane’s homeland once again before the Black hunter found them.
Zhyrane of the Falls: Maternal Grandfather, long-standing member of the Council of Elders, patient and slow to act. He and Gero clashed a number of times during the war of the Amber Islands, especially when Gero started to support Khadair. Zhyrane was killed by Gul’durak during the incursion on the Heartlands.
Lacuni of Wildhold Forest: Maternal Grandmother, and long dead before Gero was born. He knew her sister tough, Sulbeith the Grim, who’s husband and children were dragged away by the same slavers that killed Lacuni. Many years later Gero learned the fate of Sulbeith’s husband and children and brought word of their fate back to her.
Gero cannot be sure if there are other lost Dawnrunners out there, given his family’s tendency to wander. He has several nieces and nephews by Eracane, of whom he knows nothing.
|Former Spouse(s), Partner(s)||Rea of Dreamchaser Pride (deceased)
Gero and Rea met in Stygia, her clan being one that long wandered off the Amber Islands. After their marriage they continued wandering, until Rea was killed in a Stygian trap. In dying she urged Gero not to avenge her but to bring their children back to the Amber Islands, where they could grow up safely, a choice that would prove fatal.
|Family Relationships||Gero had a good relationship with his father Hendric, who taught him much and encouraged him to be curious about the world beyond their home island. Hendric, had been a traveller in his younger days, wandering the far North and crossing the seas with the Vanir. He used to tell tales about the frozen lands, the Selkies and the Islands of the Sea-Serpent, stories that fascinated and inspired Gero. From him Gero learned to use the bow, to set traps, and to navigate a boat.
This good relationship deepened considerably after Gero came home with several cubs in tow. When Gero’s mother Irés was slain by Gul’durak’s minions Hendric left the Amber Islands. Gero does not consider his father’s choice wrong or weak, he understands that Hendric needed to leave, to travel again. He knows his father might still be out there, hunting with the Selkies in the far north and wishes him well
While Gero had a good relationship with his mother, they never saw quite eye to eye about his wanderlust. Idres, was firmly the chief of the House, keeping the family in line and in order. She was often referred to as the Matriarch of the Clan, because she as so clearly the boss of the panther clan. Idrés had been far less adventurous in her younger days, she had been a trader, trading Amber, Herbs and Cures to Shyrakhan and the Vanir but rarely leaving the Islands for prolonged times. A lot of her common sense was passed on to Gero in simple, practical lessons. She also taught him all she knew about herbs and the mystical properties the Wyr ascribe to almost all of Gaia’s plants
Irés could not understand what drew Gero to far-off places. While she was a caring grandmother and died defending her grandchildren, her relationship with Gero had not the same depth as Hendric’s.
Gero was rather close to his five children, even when they had their disagreements. Rhavin and he were mostly comrades-in-arms, with Rhavin often being the harder one of the two, Kurán and he shared many values and ideals, Darek and he were a team to the day that Darek chose his loyalties to Khadair over his family, a choice Gero would most likely have made too, had their roles been reversed. While three of his five children are dead, the other two lost, Gero views them less for their loss, but for the years they shared together.
|Dawnrunner clan is one of the ancient clans of the Amber Islands, one of the Guardian lines, records of the family, or stories about them reaching back almost to the first clans to come to the Islands from the burning lands to find the cave of the golden rose. While rooted in the Amber Islands, the Dawnrunners were a clan of wanderers and explorers, many of them spending their lives far away from their home, only to return to raise their children by the shores of the Bay of Echoes. Stories about their journeys about lands and things they had seen were staple when Gero grew up.|
|99 - 124
Gero was born on a day when the storms were raging against the Amber Coast and waves were crashing against the cliffs. Around midnight the child was born, the first child to Hendric and Irés of Dawnrunner clan.
Gero and his little sister grew up on the Amber Islands, instructed in the survival skills of their people, taught the stories of old and both learning a profession, where Gero leaned towards warrior, his sister became a bowmaker.
124 - 140 - the Eastern Wilds
Curious about the world outside the Amber Islands Gero left the Islands aged 25 (his cat shape was still a kitten) and began his wanderings, he wandered the mainland east, seeing exotic places, fighting at least two small wars somewhere in the vast wide of the Eastern Lands.
140 - 145 - Elfland
After finding an Elcaraine child alone in the Eastern Forests, Gero set out to return the child home to his family, an adventure that bought him dangers, troubles and a visit to the fabled Elderwood.
145 - 200 - Shyrakhan
Joining a Vanir expedition searching for the fabled continent Uthuria Gero got shipwrecked near the Shyrakhan islands. After some attempts to find a quick way off the islands, he got involved into a fight, when the small harbor he was at, came under attack. Little did Gero know that the following events would involve him in a civil war, and the conquest of the Islands of the Moon in subsequent years.
200 - 220 - Where no sun shines
Upon leaving Shyrakhan Gero had no luck with taking to the sea, for the ship that was supposed to take him back to the Amber Isles was pushed off course by a terrible storm, stranding him anew on a dark, dangerous island. While the island did indeed have the same day-and-night pattern as other places, Gero termed it "where no sun shines" for the many foggy, dreary and dark days there, as well for the terrible creatures that roamed the night. The ruins of the huge islands housed dangerous things, dangerous creatures, and now and then shadow-possessed things that Gero was not sure how to name. At times he was not sure if even the dead rested peacefully in their graves on this island. Ultimately Gero managed to get away from the island years later, when a Vanir was shipwrecked there. Alric built a small boat for both of them and had the skill to navigate the tricky waters of the dark sea to actually get them out. To this day Gero cannot exactly show on a map where the dark island was - all he remembers are the strange star patterns in the very very few clear night skies he saw there.
220 - 245 - Hunt with the Storm
After Alrik and Gero made it back to Aereth' mainland and back Nordheim they found Alrik's family in grave turmoil - his twin brother Arvid had been lost along with his ship the Wandering Star. Rumours about the family being cursed were uttered and no other crew would take a steersman of such dark omens. All but one - the Frozen Dragon wanted him for steersman, it was a ship that only barely had come out of their last journey and who's Hetwoman Skalia Angrbroda was still under a quest of her forefather to at least try three times to bring a cursed Urn her great-great-grandfather had once looted in a far-away place - back to it's original resting place. Somewhere beyond the great sea of storms. Skalia had no problems with taking on Alrik, for she needed a skilled steersman and none would join her ill-fated quest, and she had no problems taking on another warrior - especially as Wyr are considered lucky among the Vanir.
The journey of the Frozen Dragon took three attempts to cross the Sea of Storms, stranded them once, landed them once on the frozen Islands of the North, and eventually took them to the place Skalia's ancestor had once helped to loot. Alrik guessed that this land - this strange land of ruins and sadness might have been the place, the Vanir fled from prior to settling in Nordheim. Nevertheless when they came to the crypts Skalia's ancestor had described, they would not open - Skalia remembered her ancestor using the hacked-off hand of some Aeld to open it - and after some attempts Gero was able to open the crypt and allow Skalia to return to urn, giving her family peace of the hauntings and atone for her ancestor's defiling of the crypts.
In the following years Gero remained with the Frozen Dragon, until Alrik decided he was too old to still risk his skin so much and settled with a wife in Uppernarvik.
245 - 260 - The Inland Sea
Gero's wanderings took him through the countries around the Inland Sea, working on ships and as an escort for trade caravans. He had some loose contacts to some Wyr families living in this land, but the contact remained just fleeting, as many of those families had deeply integrated in the cultures they were living with.
260 - 274 - The Rose beyond the Sands
Gero's travels turned towards Stygia, when he heard stories about the Rose beyond the Sands - stories that linked this lonely rock desert with legends about the Multi-corporeal beast. While Gero had never been so into these legends as had his sister Eracane, he still got curious and he ultimately planned to find a ship in a Stygian port to go to Xia and find out where Eracane might be - as he had had recurring dreams about her for a while. (These dreams were actually the result of Eracane having learned a Wyr-secret of Xia and trying in the dream to see if her family was alright. Gero never learned this fact, though.)
After several adventures in the Stygian desert, Gero ended up in a backwater of quarries and slaves, that supplied the great cities with building materials. There is finally met Rea, an Wyr who had been born in Stygia and lived all her life there. Her grandparents had left the Amber Islands at the End of the Sea-Raider incursions.
Gero and Rea were vastly different people, with Rea strongly at home in the Stygean backwater lands, but beneath all the differences was a stronger fascination with each other. Rea was captured during in feud in Stygia and Gero’s only way of freeing her was to fight and win the great duels in the sand arena. He did so, and thus stood against Zaphon the Blood-Drinker in the final fight, it was a fight that he only barely won, but he did win and Rea had to be set free.
260 - 299 - Hunters Two
When a trading caravan of Rea’s friend Khamár had troubles to find an escort to bring them through the wilds Gero and Rea volunteered to accompany them. It was a long trek through the wilds, through dangers and storm towards far-off Tar-Virdán in Tynar-Darzûr. Sharing fights and dangers, along with long watches in stormy nights, Gero and Rea realized they were in love and when they came to Tar-Virdán they were set on marrying. Like all travelling Wyr before and after they married according to the laws of the land they were in at the time, meaning they went to a dwarrow blacksmith for bonding.
With Khamár finding more mercenaries for his caravan, Gero and Rea decided to not return to Stygia, their wanderings took them West and into Cymeria, where at least two of their children were born.
Only in 399 AS Rea received word that her sister had vanished in Stygia, together with Gero and the children she travelled back to Stygia, but it proved to be a trap - an old rival of her family had killed her sister and used her as a bait. Rea was mortally wounded in the trap, though Gero fought his way out, bringing her back to the hideout, where she died. In dying she swore him to not avenge her but take the children back to the Amber Islands, where they could grow up in safety.
300 - 305 - The Shadow falling
Along with his five children Gero began his journey North and arrived on the Amber Islands in 400 AS. His family was glad to have him back and the children swiftly became at home at his parent’s home in the Bay of Thunder. Fifteen years passed and the little cubs grew into young people, filling the house with their voices and laughter.
But slowly the days darkened and the watchful nights came, things crept out of the woods and dark echoes haunted the Island of Valos. Having gone to the main Island for trading Amber, Gero heard the rumors and raced home, for the Bay of Thunder was the Northernmost point of Valos. On his way across the island, he already became witness to the rapid changes, but when he reached the House the attack already had happened, Gero’s father Hendric had been severely wounded, and Irés, his mother, lay dead, defended by her grandchildren still. Together Hendric and Gero managed to bring the remaining family to the safety of the main Island. But for Hendric this was goodbye - he left the Amber Isles to be never seen again.
Having escaped the Nightmare, Gero turned to those who struggled to rescue others from Valos. While he wanted to fight back, he understood why the Elder Council decided that evacuation had to come first. As Gero realized his children (by now all aged between 16 and 25) were not willing to let him do this alone, he formed a team with them. Together they braved the haunted Island time and again, but more and more splitting up to take different targets at the same time.
During one of those runs Gero first met Khadair of Moonhunter Pride, and befriended him. Together they risked some of the most daring rescues from Valos Island. Being a wolf Khadair did not understand why Gero did not form a hunting pack with his sons and daughter, he never understood that the Dawnrunner trait was settling in, and distance was necessary for the family.
Upon their last rescue on the island Khadair and Gero encountered Gul’durak, he who commands the shadows and only barely managed to get away alive. With them they carried the ultimatum to surrender. (In fact the writing was burned into Gero’s fur, the scars are faintly visible should someone examine his left flank thoroughly.)
305 - Alliance of War
With the Elder Council considering the ultimatum and maybe fleeing the Islands, Khadair began to built an alliance of defenders, - of the old warrior clans. He easily won the Silverwings, Silentpaws and several others before he turned to Gero as well. While few in number the Dawnrunners were an ancient, respected clan, one of the defenders of the Islands from the Early Days. While Gero agreed with him on the principle he was not familiar with the recent shifts in politics of the Amber Islands and was hesitant to announce his support lightly.
“Let’s assume, Wanderer, we listen to the Council and abandon the Islands. What do we do when Evil follows us? Where do we run? Do we visit our doom on other nations? Or do we stand and fight? In the end all evil must be opposed and I think you understand that better than you like to admit.” (Khadair to Gero, ca. 405 AS)
Eventually Gero announced his support of Khadair’s alliance, whatever doubts he had - and he had seen wars outside the Islands, contrary to Khadair, they could not just run or hide. The first year of the war was brutal - Gul’durak’s creatures ripping through the Wyr fighters like a storm, the Wyr losing more and more ground, along with numerous lives. Gero was on the forefront of the fighting most of the time, his son Variel was killed in battle during that year, but Gero did not allow himself to think of that - he had to stay strong, to be reliable. Others needed him.
306 - The Great Machine
In early 406 after the battle of the burning river, Tharyn of Whisperwings clan suggested the Wyr turn to the Great Machine for help, to become stronger and able to resist Gul’durak’s creatures. In the past the machine had provided them with cures for diseases, even immunities at times. The Elder Council spoke against it, speaking sternly, but when Gero asked them what their plan was, they had no answer for him and thus he supported Tharyn and Khadair in this as well.
Together they went to the Peak - Khadair, Gero, Tharyn and Ravallion of the Silent Paws - because they were the leaders of the army, they should take the risk first. When Gero saw the gates to the Mountain he saw the inscription chiseled into the stone arc: Let him, who enters these halls think not of glory but only of salvation.* Gero took the words to heart, focusing on the people they were trying to protect, the people who were unable to defend themselves against Gul’durak.
On first sight it seemed that Gero had received the lesser gifts when the four emerged from the great machine, while stronger and with a higher endurance, most he had was a heightened resistance to magicks, while his comrades had received far more powerful gifts. Khadair often joked that the Great Machine found little to improve in Gero, and thus could not give him much.
306 - 319 - Gul'durak
Thirteen years of war followed, with Gero’s only daughter lost in the battle of the Flowering Falls and Kurán his eldest son killed by Gul’durak himself in the fateful battle that would also see Gul’durak perish. Kurán provided the distraction Khadair and Gero needed to get through Gul’durak’s protection and to tear him apart.
Peace came - only the Amber Islands were strongly changed. A number of clans gathered behind Khadair, naming him their leader and Gero could well understand them. They needed to rebuild, to reclaim the tainted lands and that asked for decisive leadership. He too joined with them, much to Khadair’s delight. They both had grown a strong friendship, even though Gero often would question Khadair’s course of action.
320 - 322 - The Time of Madness
When the time of madness began and the first changed with the Great Machine began to show signs of madness, it appeared like only their four commanders - Khadair, Gero, Tharyn and Ravallion could calm them, and thus they gathered them in their camp, to help them. But it was only the beginning of the Time of Madness.
322 - 328 - The Nighthunters
If anyone can claim to having witnessed Khadair’s slow slide into madness, it is Gero - who was one of his most trusted, closest to him during those years. Gero has never shared with anyone when he made the decision to oppose Khadair, or what exactly led to him break with his friend. It is only certain that Gero’s son Darek remained with Khadair, not following his father into rebellion, while his youngest, Alaric went with him.
Gero adopted the name of Nighthunter during his fight against Khadair, he did not want Khadair to realize whom he was fighting too early. With those who were left he began to free clans from Khadair’s grip and protect those still free from him. Within five years Nighthunter became legend - always there where Khadair and his ilk showed up, helping others to flee and hide, fighting fierce battles with Khadair’s minions. And eventually Khadair himself came after Nighthunter, to take him out.
The battle of Wildstream Hold is maybe the most painful in Gero’s history - it was there where Khadair realized he was up against his best friend. Their duel ending in a draw Khadair returned to the Great Machine to gain greater powers to fight this opponent. Their second confrontation – almost as legendary as the first – Khadair almost won, but still had to retreat severely injured and knowing Nighthunter had beaten him again.
When Khadair returned to the Great Machine a third time for even more power, the Mountain awoke, the grounds trembled and the islands began to break apart, a black tide rose to drown harbors and villages, and fire rose from the Peak itself while an invisible wall – the Ghost wall – began to descend on the Island.
Recalling the Legends of the Ghost Wall cutting off the islands from the main, Nighthunter scrambled to bring all survivors he could reach to Coldrocks Island, the only island said to have lain beyond the Ghost Wall. The island was too small to house any sizable population but it was a way to win time. When the ghost wall had fully descended, enveloping the islands into a shield that no one could pass, Nighthunter saw Khadair – re-shaped and changed on the other side of the wall, howling at them.
It is a sight Gero will never forget - Khadair’s new shape and his own knowing that one day they will have their final confrontation. Though it is not something he easily shares.
328 - The Ghostwall Falls
The number of survivors at Coldrocks island were small and Gero knew that this was not the end of their trials. He suggested to the surviving warriors that they build rafts for the little ones and then select someone amongst them, someone changed by the great machine, to drag the rafts across the strait. He knew only a changed one could manage to do that and amongst the adults who had survived were mostly former soldiers who, like him, were changed. In his plan, the soldier was to set those untainted (unchanged) ashore and then commit suicide, to ensure that nothing of the taint and the madness that had plagued them would spread amongst the small survivors.
Gero felt very strongly that they must not spread the taint - especially with the rate of mad and semi-mad adults they already had on the island; and he saw himself as no exception.
Strangely, he found himself outvoted on this. While most of the soldiers agreed that they should not spread the taint, that they felt the changes the Machine a wrought upon them. Yet – they trusted Nighthunter, who had been amongst the first to be changed and had yet to show any sign of madness or instability. They argued that Gero should bring the youngsters across the strait and go with them, protect them as they went searching for a new home.
They – the other soldiers and many of their wives – would remain behind, trying to build a life on Coldrocks island. Only hesitantly Gero accepted their trust, for he felt responsible for all that had happened, but seeing he was outvoted by them, he knew he must not disappoint their hopes that he could save the children. Thus he said his goodbyes to the others and asked them to send word, should the Ghost Wall ever open again. Then he began to the long swim to bring the surviving youngsters across the strait.
328 - 338
The story of their wanderings is a long one - they crossed the Eastern wilds, and passed through the lands of the dwarrow, before following the rivers towards the great inland sea, crossing it and finally coming to Cymeria. Gero had seen Cymeria or Elderwoods as two viable options for them from the beginning, but chose the longer way, as he was not sure if the young Wyr would ever be able to become at home in the Elderwoods or even if the service he once provided to a High House in Elderwoods would buy him as much as an audience.
It was a journey that took them years to complete and the group of survivors grew close to Gero, when they finally came to Cymeria they all were tired, having wandered for far too long.
338 - Winter Warriors
During a particularly bad winter in the backwaters of the Kingdom Malessa, where it bordered Cymeria, several of Gero's younger comrades became witness to a plotted murder of a man, who came to attend a seemingly peaceful meeting with several men in a ruin in the forest. Oréas, Brithonin, Rakias and several others were determined to not let such murder happen, and Gero agreed - on the condition they take the smaller ones to another hideout.
The stranger they rescued tonight, a man calling himself "Mat"along with his comrade in arms Cyrán. Both had come to retrieve an ancient Grimoire stolen by a misguided man, who turned out to be in league with Mat's sworn enemy. After a long and dangerous hunt the Wyr returned the Grimoire to Mat, wishing him and Cyran well on their future journeys.
339 - Arrival in Cymeria.
Seeking an audience with High Lord Mathias Gero knew he had little to offer, except his own willingness to fight and die - all the more he was surprised by the generous welcome the Stormdanovich gave them. And even more when he realized that Mathias Stormdanovich was indeed Mat, whom they had encountered the previous winter. Mathias wanted to hear all about what had befallen the Wyr, though he had heard some already during their time in the winter, he had far more questions, as this was the first real word on what had transpired on the other side of the world.
In the end they permitted the Wyr to settle in a remote Mountain valley in Harcania March, and Mathias said to Gero: "As it is the way of the 'Wyr to live long and full lives, it is the way of the 'Cymry to take the Crossing while they may. Watch my children and my children's children, if you can. Help them be good men and women. That, my friend, is repayment enough though none is needed. The 'Cymry have grieved from the time of the Shattering for the loss of their 'Wyr brethren. Reuniting us was more than enough."
339 - 398
Gero swore loyalty to the Stormdanovich and in his heart he swore to protect them and fight for them as long as he was permitted to. While the Wyr began to settle and slowly create their new community, discovering those Wyr who had immigrated into Cymeria long ago, Gero was grateful for the duties that kept him busy.
He wanted for the others to make their own rules, their own community, untainted by the past, or by his own mistakes. Still the others, closely linked with him and seeing him as something of a clan elder, do not let go easily, often seeking him out for advice or help.
Yet, Mathias' sworn arch-enemy, Maelog ap Ngŵyth , did not let go easily. At first Gero knew little of his motives when he foiled a kidnapping attempt by some of Maelog ap Ngŵyth 's stooges. It was indeed Lady Kerowyn Stormdanovich who suggested to her husband to allow Gero to know more about this dangerous Cymry. Thus Gero learned that Maelog ap Ngŵyth 's father had challenged Mathias upon his ascencion to the Quickening and died in the following duel arcane. Maelog ap Ngŵyth swore vengeance upon Mathias and had been haunting him with various plots ever since. Gero at once offered to assist in hunting down that Cymry.
Mathias warned him that it would be dangerous, as Maelog showed alarming signs of misusing his arcane powers, especially in recent events. Nothing Mathias said (or possibly could have said) would deter Gero on this - his people owed too much to Mathias to not try to help and having seen many a dark enemy in his life, Gero did not fear tangling with yet another sorcerer.
Yet no one could have foreseen Maelog's entire plan - or that he had indeed become Shadow-touched and driven crazy as a result. In a coldly planned attack, he targeted Mathias' wife Kerowyn and their son Kimber - for revenge, to punish Mathias and because he had polluted the bloodline. Kerowyn fought tooth-and-nail to protect her son, but ultimately went down, severely wounded and Maelog turned to Kimber. By that time several more guards had been killed, the castle was in uproar. When Gero reached the fighting, Kerowyn lay in her own blood and Maelog gloated. Gero used his cat-shape to get into Maelog's back and attack from behind, but even with that advantage, a gory duel between the Wyr and the Cymry ensued. Only the gifts of the great machine allowed Gero to survive some of the blows Maelog dealt him, and he had to bring out all his strength, all that Nighthunter was to tear that crazed Cymry apart.
When Maelog finally died, Gero dropped down, changing to cat-shape to preserve strength, for he too was on the brink of collapse. When he awoke again, a white-haired youngster - Kimber - was sitting right beside him, talking to the cat. These events were among those to begin Gero's friendship with Kimber Stormdanovich.
398 - 399
Mathias’ Stormdanovich crossed in 398 leaving his 15 year old son Kimber one year shy of the minimum age for ascencion to the Throne of the High Lords. He had named his wife Kerowyn of Ghostwalker Pack and Gero of Dawnrunner Clans regents for his son, during that period.
399 - 539 Ryndar
When Kimber ascended to the title of High Lord, he chose Gero as his Ryndar. Gero was probably the first Wyr ever to receive the Ryndar’s Quickening. Yet it was the Ascencion Ritual Ddyrchafael that every Hight Lord must undergo, that caused a more dramatic change for Kimber, because it awoke in him the legacy of his mother: the shapeshifting ability of Wyr. At Kimber’s request Gero tried to teach him what is simply nature to the Wyr, to understand his changes and their friendship deepened considerably over the years.
Kimber’s only son Mikhael was born during a terrible storm, one of the worst in human of Cymry memory, a Thunder Snow going down over the Mountains. When Mikhael was born, Gero saw lightning striking the rocks above the fortress, followed by earsplitting thunder that drowned out all voices, the very same moment the small boy came into the world quietly and peacefully. Outside the winds suddenly quieted for a moment, and Gero felt a powerful presence that faded as fast as it came. In that Moment, as the storm suddenly quieted and an icy chill hit the windows of the room, as Kimber called to the Earth for the blessings of his child, Gero saw something, something the Wyr only know as the Call of the Mother. He saw Peace, the reigning Sword of the High Lords, consumed by flame, Wisdom, the ancient book of law, swallowed by blood and three dark shadows, held in their bonds by one man - born as the child of Thunder. To this day Gero has to share what he saw with anyone, but it led to him not offering the traditional cradle gift, he had been thinking of, instead Gero swore an oath to serve and protect as long as life allowed him that privilege.
One of the things that Gero disagreed on where Kimber was concerned, was Kimber's treatment of his children. Kimber's aloofness towards the girls and his long reluctance to allow Anastasya to be trained as a warrior. In her case, Gero could prevail upon his friend to allow the wild, free-spirited girl her way, her path in life, he could only do little in regards of Mikhael when he had to leave home in the wake of arguments about his arcane training. Kimber had rather strict views on the arcane and its dangers, he regarded Mikhael's path with distrust and worry. Gero secretly kept in contact with Mika, one of the few secrets he kept from his Lord.
539 - Battle of D'hassa
To this day Gero holds it against himself that he was not able to prevent Kimber’s brutal injury in the Battle of D’hassa. In the early stages the battle was locked, neither of the adversaries having much advantage over the other, but slowly Aquilonia began to break through the right flank and towards the centre. It was that move that separated parts of the guard from Kimber. Gero tried to break through to him but he was too slow, Kimber was injured and his blood spilled on the land. In an act of final sacrifice Kimber ignited all his powers, calling upon the powers of the Old and turned them on Aquilone, Gero, being his Ryndar was able to withstand the storm and work his way to him through the rising of the Elements, but not before Kimber received a second, seemingly fatal wound from one of the Aquilonians still standing.
Seeing Kimber fall Gero pushed his way through to him and standing over what he believed was his Lord’s corpse he fought with a rage, not seen in almost a century. None of the Aquilonians reached Kimber again, as Gero tapped deep into what had been given to him long ago, fighting with blade and animal form until Cymerian forces reached them.
When Kimber was brought off the field, Gero threw himself into battle again, and to this day he cannot say how many he killed during the fighting that followed.
A few days later he learned that Kimber had lived when brought off the field but would not heal - even his Wyr shape could not help heal from that wound and he would make his last journey to the chamber of Light. Gero was present on that last journey. Kimber’s last words to him were “Serve my son,” and Gero’s own response was “Till the day I die.”Then Kimber decided to not hand the traditional sword of state to his son, but instead lodged it into the Heartstone where the scepter of destiny once rested, ere he chose the white road, indirectly fullfilling parts of what Gero saw the day Mikhael was born. The Sword of Peace consumed by flame, lost to those who came after.
While Gero was still pained by what to him was the loss of his friend and certainly contemplated to try and follow Kimber into that path beyond, it was less Kimber’s words that held him back, but an oath sworn two decades earlies, when a small boy was born.
539 - Present
Ever since Kimber died Gero has served Mikhael, and strange though it sounds he feels particularly protective of Kimber’s only son. Maybe Misha’s own good-natured and friendly person makes Gero all the more want to protect him (though Misha can easily throw him across the training field with one hand!).
Not long after Misha settling into the role of the new High Lord, he sat down with Gero to talk of a task. "My father was a great man, but Cymeria was caught off-guard by Aquilonia. I do not want that to happen again, my friend. You have seen many lands and nations on your travels and I recall my father and you discussing Darian I shortly before the war began. I need you to create a network of eyes and ears, of people who will warn us should such danger rise again."
The network Gero founded, named the Ravens, is often operating under various disguises and many people still believe them to just be some manner of special couriers to the High Lords.
Officially Gero remains at court as the Cainteoir of the Wyr but unofficially he has been building the Eyes and Ears of the Highlord during the last ten years
Friends & Foes
|Family of the Heart||Gero considers House Stormdanovich to be his Clan of Honor, an Wyr term describing a family one adopted out of love and/or oaths.
Mikhael Stormdanovich: A lifelong friendship connects Gero and Mikhael, though an oath came first. When Mikhael was born, instead of a traditional cradle-gift, Gero swore an oath to serve and protect as long as life allowed him that privilege. Gero did not do so out of sense of duty, but because of something he saw during that stormy night in which Mikhael was born. Having known Mikhael since childhood (where the affectionate nickname "Thunderchild" came into being), Mikhael is the other of Kimber's children that Gero was close to. Liking the strong and proud boy, Gero was sometimes saddened to see the distance between father and son grow as Mikhael grew into an adult. He kept Mikhael's confidences, when the younger man told him things that might not meet the approval of his father, and offered advice when necessary. Gero considers Mikhael part of his clan of honor, and as such kin. Now that Mikhael has grown into a leader in his own right, Gero balances that affection with the respect demanded by Mikhael's position. Mikhael has been the only person to twice break through Gero's blood-rage during/after battle: after D'hassa and after being poisoned by the Glass dagger.
Kimber Stormdanovich- Gero met Kimber for the first time as a child (Gero had sworn himself to serve Kimber’s father, who allowed the survivors of the Amber Islands to settle in Cymeria), and Gero will always recall that curious, courageous boy, whom he told stories about the lands outside of Cymeria. When Kimber received his Quickening he not only received the skills of the Cymry but also the second shape of his mother, an Wyr. He became a huge white dire wolf. At Kimber’s request Gero tried to teach him what is simply nature to the Wyr, to understand the wolf and a friendship grew between them. To this day Gero holds it against himself that he was not able to prevent Kimber’s brutal injury in the Battle of D’hassa, that he was too slow to reach him. (When Gero saw Kimber go down he went into a rage like none in hundred years, tapping deeply into all he had once used freely in battle, into all the Great Machine gave him, he left a trail of death amongst those who had gotten to Kimber.)
Anastasiya Stormdanovich: Gero met Stasya when she was little, like most of the Stormdanovich children, and he liked the fierce, headstrong girl that would gravitate to her father more often than not. When Anastasiya showed inclination and talent for warrior training, he supported her wish to train as a fighter to defend her father and Cymeria. It led to one of his few friendly disagreements with High Lord Kimber, who loved his daughter dearly and feared for her. While Gero understood the father's fears all too well, having lost a daughter to battle himself, he also knew that Stasya had the soul of an eagle and with her wings clipped would suffer. When permitted he aided in her training and taught her games of strategy, most of all Lions and Crown, the complicated and demanding Wyr version of chess. After Kimber passed from the world Gero saw Anastasya slip away, like all her family she felt that an open display of grief was unseemly. Finding her in one of the more remote parts of the castle, they shared their grief for the departed High Lord and their friendship deepened from it. Today Gero views Anastasiya as a close friend and respects her as the Seneschal of Cymeria, they work together regularly and share the bond of friendship and of love for Stasya's family, past and present.
|Allies & Friends||Oréas of Stormhunter Pride - A long term friend from days of old and a close ally in the Ravens|
|Adversaries & Foes||Khadair - Gero does not hate Khadair, for that he understands him too much and they were friends for too long. Gero views Khadair with a certain sadness, and he knows that one day they will have to end their little war and fight a final battle that will be the death of one of them.
Bloodhunter: Gero's son Darek, who chose his loyalties to Khadair over his own clan. Gero fought him a number of times and is almost certain that his own end will be at Bloodhunter's hands.
Aquilone and Darian I: Gero hates Aquilone with a passion, and makes no attempt to hide that. Since Kimber’s death, Aquilone has become an enemy nation for him and he will gladly wish them all misfortune in the world. Depending on mood he can say about Darian I “that someone needs to kill this one soon.” or to Wish him “a long, miserable life, full of intrigues and false friends, to die with a blade in his back.” While Gero knows that he is hardly impartial on that matter, he can and will not forgive the death of his friend.
Aedan of Aquitaine: Gero does not trust anything Aquitaine as far as he can spit it. This is not against the old King in person, but against a belief and ideology that threatens many.
Romar of Aquitaine: If Gero did not trust the old King of Aquitaine, he regards the new one with even greater suspicion, knowing how he rose to power.