"You're going to die for some principles?"
"Someone is."A big man with a bigger sword and an even bigger sense of duty and hatred for elves
Childhood and Early Adulthood
Cain was the son of a mercenary captain and a young camp follower, thus his childhood was spent following a the baggage train of Radley's Freeblades, a band of mercenaries operating in the south of Ghillodahn. His parents weren't bad by any metric, but the busy natures of their lives meant Cain spent much of his childhood playing soldier with other children or helping with menial tasks around the camp. When he turned 12 his father began to teach him how to wield a sword and ride a horse. By the time he was 16 he took part in his first battle, serving as a neophyte shock trooper in the Freeblade's raid company under the command of his father. Already as strong and tall as adult man, he showed great potential the skirmish.
Over the years he rose through the ranks of the Raid Company, until ultimately assuming command at age twenty-seven with the death of his father to an infection. Some claimed his promotion was an act of nepotism on the part of a dying father, but others saw it as a rightful acknowledgment of Cain’s ability. Regardless of initial doubts, Cain proved a competent and effective leader that was well liked by the soldiers under his command. Unlike some of his fellow captains he preferred to lead from the front, spearheading charges and cleaving foes in twain with his distinctive greatsword.
A couple years later, the commander of the Freeblades accepted a contract to fight with for the Kairihenen military. Their brutal methods disgusted Cain and he quickly began to chafe at serving alongside them. Kairihenen coin was good though, and many of Cain’s complaints went unheard.
Fresh off a long string of battles, the Freeblades were returning to Kairhen to resupply, replenish their ranks, and receive new orders. Their route took them through the Galewoods. Normally they would circumnavigate it to avoid having to deal with elves, but the Kairihenens wanted to get the Freeblades back in the fight as quickly as possible and ordered them to travel through the wood. They were also assured that the elves would keep to themselves and give them no trouble during the journey
It was a disaster. The elves, being the poncy stuck up territorial assholes that they are, very much did mind the mercenaries tromping through their forest. Harried by hit and run attacks from the get-go, the mercenaries' numbers quickly began to dwindle. Cain and his men fought them when they could, but their forcefully direct style of fighting fared poorly against a foe that fought from the shadows. Eventually Cain emerged alone from the murky darkness of the Galewood, burdened by the loss of his comrades and burning with a newfound hatred for all elves. Since then he's carried a shattered elven dagger wherever he goes so that he might never forget what they took from him.
When Cain arrived alone at Kairihen, he found that they would no longer honor the payment promised in the contract. With no money, no comrades, and only the equipment he carried with him, Cain sought refuge in a drainage culvert as he contemplated what to do next.
Cain's refuge in the culvert was soon interrupted by a band of strange folk who were also seeking shelter. A Tiefling Warlock named Icefyre, a Halfling Ranger named Averlynn, and a Human Fighter named Horace Sutcliffe, all on the run together from the Kairihenen authorities. Without much else to do, Cain decided to tag along and help them escape from the city.
Trouble followed soon after. As the group attempted to pass through a gate within the city, they were accosted by a noble named Lord Byron Sussuenex, second-born scion of the noble Kairihenen House Sussuenex. He had heard that the brigands who defied the authorities might try to escape this way and decided to take them down with his own party of thugs and warriors. The battle was fierce. While Cain and Horace dueled Byron and his monstrous Warforged construct, city guards led by Byron's miscreants engaged their comrades. Byron was a skilled Spellsword and soon Cain found himself bloodied and on the back foot. But as Byron reared back his sword to deliver the final blow, Cain summoned the last vestiges of his strength to do something quite unexpected: throw a deck of playing cards in his foe's face. Taken aback by the seemingly ineffectual move, Byron was caught by surprise when Cain lunged forward and grabbed him by his long golden ponytail and slammed his face into the cobblestones with all his might. Bone splintered, blood spattered, and Cain had Byron firmly pinned against the ground. He ordered the Lord to call off his men and let them leave the city. With Cain's shortsword pressed against the base of his spine, he had little choice but to acquiesce. As a final gesture of contempt, Cain sliced off Byron's ponytail and threw the golden strands on his face before leaving. Thus began a deep and bitter rivalry between the two men.
During the fight the party picked up another comrade, a Human Paladin named Sister Karrellen. As they recuperated in an inn in the outer quarters of the city, Horace proposed a plan to Cain, Karrellen, and Evelynn. He had a friend that was being held in the Salt Cells of Kairihen and wanted to break him out before they left the city. Cain accepted his fellow fighter's proposition.
They infiltrated the Salt Cells through the sewer, battling through the Were-rats that served as sentries until they broke through a wall into the lowest level of the dungeon and began pressing upwards. At first they encountered no guards but eventually they ran into the Salt Cell's monstrous jailor: Mard, a necromantic abomination covered in the grafted limbs of its victims. But despite his undead allies and massive strength, Cain charged forth and cleaved Mard nearly in twain with a single strike, dispelling the foul sorcery that held the creature together and causing it to die a true death. Cain's allies then quickly mopped the skeletons that had been summoned.
For reasons that are unknown even to this day, the band decided to spend ten minutes trying to break a tiger out of a cage. Although successful, guards who had heard the battle against Mard soon began swarming the Salt Cells and they were forced to retreat. During their pell-mell breakout Horace and Cain used a combination of magical skeleton keys looted from Mard's corpse(s) and alchemists fire to break a number of prisoner free from the Salt Cells, including Jacqueline Oakheart, Hector Hightower, Leonsay (spelling?), and Horace's companion. Cain nearly fell in battle fighting a rearguard against Lord Byron as his companions rushed to escape but timely intervention of the aforementioned tiger allowed Cain to escape by the skin of his teeth. They collapsed the tunnel behind them and escaped Kairihen for a second time.
Using a horse and cart requisitioned from a local blacksmith they attempted to bolt across the plains outside the city and travel to Beesbury, but they were run down by Blackbird Banders and another fierce battle erupted. Exhausted by all the fighting they already had done, the party fought as best they could. Cain himself slew the Raven Priestess and Kairihenen Magister that lead them, but Sister Karellan was trampled beneath the hooves of another bander and Horace took a lance through the gut. Confident in their victory but reeling from their losses, the Banders disengaged to marshall more troops for another attack. To prevent being run down again, the party split up.
A quick burial was all they could do for Sister Karellan. Cain took Hector Hightower (I think?) and the body of Horace and went to see (that dwarf who resurrected Horace whose name i can't remember) to see if he could do anything about resurrecting his comrade. Jacqueline Oakheart (and Leonsay? I can't remember where Leonsay went) returned to the Suntree Sept. Icefyre and Everylnn faded into the tapestry of Ghilladon. It was a brief but glorious journey.
Forming the Blades Paramount
The Defense of Schwarzenbruin
“Some cried, some prayed, and some stonily accepted their fate, but none wavered."
Capture and Execution
Following his capture on the bridge of Schwarzenbruin, Cain was imprisoned in Kairihen’s Salt Cells. Stalwart even in his darkest hour, the rebel commander refused to break in the face of torture and never once divulged information that would put his companions at risk. On the fifth day of his imprisonment Thempus Thales himself came to see the warrior who had caused so much trouble for his troops in the preceding months. Cain’s grey eyes were alight with murderous hatred at the sight of him and he refused to listen to the Lord Protector’s words. His only response was to spit in Thales’ eye, a small but powerful act of defiance. Realizing he would get nothing out of the Blades Paramount commander, Thales ordered his execution.
The day came. Cain was led shackled from his cell and paraded through the streets of Kairihen. Many smallfolk lined the streets to jeer at his passing, in their eyes a hated brigand who slaughtered men, women, and children indiscriminately. If their words and cast stones carried any weight to Cain his stony countenance did not reveal it, as he remained calm throughout the procession. As his gaolers led him to the top of the city walls to be crucified, Cain spared one last look at Byron Sussunex, who of course showed up to witness the execution of his hated nemesis. Cain’s only regret in life was that he did not live long enough to remove that bastard prettyboy’s head from his shoulders.
There was little ceremony in the execution itself. Cain, and many of the men who had fought alongside him on the bridge, were crucified and displayed above Kairihen’s gates as a warning for all to see of the dangers posed by rebellion. And there ended the life of a soldier, once broken but forged with purpose anew. The last thoughts before death took him were of his companions, Horace, Pavel, and Anton, and a prayer that fate would deliver them to safety.
(listen to this while imagining the scene for maximum effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECewrAld3zw)
"A Strength In His Breed"
Lord Quintinius Harlaugh, a local lord sworn to the Lord Protector of Kairehen, was initially distraught when he heard his only daughter and heiress Gwyneth had taken up rebellion against his liege lord with the Blades Paramount. However, upon hearing of his daughter's death at the hands of Kairehenan Knights, he swore to take revenge against House's Thealavondron, Bartleby, and Sussuenex, in his mind, the houses responsible for his daughters death. Lord Harlaugh endeavored to obtain Cain's great sword and then put it into the hands of a strapping boy of great height and strength, he claimed the lad was the son of Cain, the now infamous outlaw. The boy's name was Jendri. Lord Harlaugh's master at arms, Sur Drenton the Daring, was angered by the death of his friend Gwyneth Harlaugh. He knighted the boy Jendri, now called Sur Jendri Racar, Knight of Grey Iron, and rode west with him to cultivate southern resistance against Kairihenan brutality wherever it may be found.
The Racar Legacy
Lanfreid Hrimbold sets his sights on the magistrate and reveals his identity to Lord Honeywell of Beesbury. He earns his first conspirators and plans to enact the first stage of his plan at the Tournament at Nottingpork.
"The lad has shown us, injustice has become the law, and rebellion is still our duty." -Anton the Accurate
"Cain and scores of others died for this cause. They were true men, and truer soldiers. Now Ser Drenton wants me to bow my head and take orders from a boy so green he pisses grass!" -Lanfreid Hrimbold