As a boss in the mines, Brennon has received training to always get the best out of the men he leads. On the field of battle Brennon is quick to spot opportunities and helps his allies to do the same. As a child in a noble house Brennon was afforded a good education and training in the responsibilities of business and mining operations. Following in his father’s footsteps he worked hard and excelled in his lessons. At the age of 13 he was made shield bearer to [Ser Robert Gregor], a noble in one of the gem trading houses. For 4 years the two served together though only ever formed a working relationship.
Brennon has recently left his life and family in Hive Essen behind to traverse Sector 9 and learn more about his world and it’s inhabitants. Whatever his grandfather revealed to him on his deathbed shook Brennon’s values to their core. He always keeps an open mind in new situations and tries to find a peaceful solution in a violent world.
“Everything in Sector 9 is a resource, bartered for, bought and sold by the Eirdine Lords. They wield life and death as surely as they rule magic. The one thing they cannot conrol is hope.”
- Rogan Julian Fintan -
Every family has its secrets.
All wealth is borne on the backs of the working class. None understand this better than those who have risen from the mines and lichen farms of Sector 9. The nobility may wield our fates with their control of magic, but without the unseen masses, their food would go unprepared, their projects unfinished, and their taxes unpaid. But without the Eirdine Lords to shape our direction and mete out justice, chaos would reign. We who walk the middle road can only hope those above us know what they’re doing, and those below understand…
I was born into a family between two worlds. We were raised from the void and darkness of the mines below through hard work and a chance of fate, by the Eirdine Lords. Our relationship was tenuous; importance was placed upon my grandfather and family because he had discovered something of great value to people who hold themselves above us. Through this discovery, he leveraged himself and those who followed out of obscurity and into the light. But we never fully left our past behind. The roots of my family are in the mines, and the power we hold still remains there.
After being lorded, my grandfather Rogan did what he could for his older brothers, but soon enough animosity crept in like water between rocks. In time the brothers parted company taking the wealth my grandfather had gifted them and became seperate houses. But the title would be passed down in my family’s line and my grandfather soon married. The wife he found was at first a marriage of convenience, the Vitalia family was a strong merchant family, with trading outposts in all of the Hives, but they had no true title, bringing the two houses together brought an impressive dowry and further security for the future Fintan line. The two soon learned to love each other, something most in arranged marriages never find, and their family flourished for it.
Within 5 years the family had grown by four members, Liam, Brandon, Zane, and Kylee. Rogan was a doteing father, but his duties kept him from being home much. Sadly, 5 years after her daughter was born Lara died, leaving the family without it’s matriarch. Without her strong influence at home and with Rogan away so often the family scattered. The children were raised by the nanny and other servants and lacked for discipline until their teenage years when their father finally took back the reigns.
But this is not the story of my grandfather’s life… It is the story of the day he died, a day which changed my view of the world around me and brought into focus the harsh reality of the lives we lead.
When I went to visit him I had no idea the conversation that was to follow would change my life forever.
He began with conviction, seemingly as strong as ever, “When I made my discovery, I didn’t know what I had… But I knew it was incredible by the way the others became agitated in it’s presence. Jenkins, the mine boss knew something. For a man of low station he was well connected and always had his hands in other people’s business. If he hadn’t been such a violent drunk he might have made something of himself. Perault too could see a profit from a mile away, a good skill in an accountant. He had a weakness for young boys, but he knew the right palms to grease so that he was never caught.”
My grandfather paused a moment, perhaps reflecting on how best to continue, or caught up with the ghosts of his past. I took the time to moisten a towel and place it on his feverish head. It pained me to see this man, once a pillar of his community reduced to this state, hollowed out like a mine sucked dry of it’s water and minerals.
With a racking wheeze he continued, “Perault and Jenkins, they were the brains behind the operation and I was the muscle. Where they told me to dig, I dug. Who they told me to punish, I punished. When it came time to talk, I stayed silent… They never understood me, but they never cared to. They thought I was dim-witted because I was quiet, and when they tried to take advantage of me, they never saw it coming…”
Again my grandfather paused but this time I could see the gears turning behind his eyes, there was difficulty ahead, a rationalization, perhaps justification that he wanted to convey and couldn’t. I leaned forward in spite of myself, we were coming to it, the secret he had kept so long from everyone. His eyes met mine and there was sadness there amongst the steel.
“They betrayed me… In truth I am not surprised looking back at it. We were never friends, but when you work closely with someone for such a long time, when your life has been in their hands and theirs in yours you develop a camaraderie, a bond, something dependable no matter what else happens. I would not have trusted them with my money or my women, but I did trust them with my life. We had been through much together… But that day, things changed. Suddenly there was talk of friendship, talk of the future, talk of all the wonderful things that would happen if we just played our cards right. I knew something was terribly wrong. They wanted me to dig a new tunnel, a tunnel perpendicular to the one that had lead us there, the plan was to cap the main, cover up our discovery and tell the men funding our expedition that the minerals had bled out. The workers would have to be killed they said, killed and buried so none would ever come looking. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Certainly whatever we had found was amazing, an ancient and powerful structure beyond our ability to understand it’s workings, definitely worth a fortune to those better equipped to deal with it, but to entomb nearly 100 men simply because they had the misfortune of digging it up? I couldn’t be a part of that. But neither could I speak out against them without fear of reprisal. I agreed to their plan, thinking that when the time came the workers and I would revolt. But my time never came. Before we had tunneled 50 yards, those two jackals set their own plans in motion. I thought I would die that day, but somehow I was saved.”
My grandfather broke into a fit of jarring coughs and for a time could speak no more, I was left to a fitful silence, filled with my own thoughts. Much of this tale was known to me, not the details perhaps but the outcome. My grandfather had returned alone from the expedition and sold the discovery of an ancient underground dam to the Essen lords, for his bravery he was offered a lordship, generous certainly, but not out of the ordinary for such bountiful information brokering. The dam had possessed some manner of technology which when harnessed produced a power source, while not as versatile as nurium it was useful nonetheless. Our family’s fortune was built on a bloody foundation, but could this be the “great secret” that had been the topic of a generations worth of speculation?
Awakening from his respite with a start, he continued the tale, “When the blast went off, I was shunted into a chamber hewn from the surrounding rock. It took me nearly a day to dig myself free from the rubble, a horrible day in which the cries of the dying above me accompanied my own desperate calls for help. When I finally dug my way out, it was to the realization that I could not save any of the others, the tunnel was 100 meters above me and only the echo of their voices was reaching out to me… But where I had landed was strange, I stood in a lighted hallway of worked stone, a hidden passage to the complex we had discovered. With the cave-in behind me I had only one direction to travel so I limped along as well as I could. Eventually I came to a door the likes of which I had never encountered in all the mines of Sector 9. It stood 30 feet tall, made of a shimmering metal that reflected the hallway like the surface of a mirror. Enameled upon its surface was a great winged lizard, with tongues of flame spewing from its maw. The beast seemed to dance upon the surface of the door, almost as if trapped within its depths. You know it of course because when I was lorded it’s likeness became part of our coat of arms. What I found behind that door changed everything…” With a sparkle in his eye and not a trace of weakness my grandfather beckoned me forward so that I sat directly next to him, “There’s a final piece to the puzzle my boy… You’re the only one I trust with it, the map and all my secrets. I only wish I could have destroyed it myself. Promise me that if you won’t use it you’ll destroy it and end this…” The old man drew me in and whispered the key to our family legacy in my ear.
I left Hive Essen two weeks later on the day he died, my mind burdened with the facts laid out before me. I knew what my grandfather had asked, the incredible secret second life he had led without ever being discovered, I knew that to honor his wishes might cost many lives should I fail, but to ignore his final plea would be to ignore my own heart’s misgivings about the state of the world we live in.