The Greatest Tale Ever Told
Nathaniel of House Lionheart
A Human Knight from the far-away land of Ithos.
Nathaniel is six feet tall, with blue eyes, dirty blonde hair and a short, well groomed beard of the same color.
He fights wearing crimson and black plate armor over a black leather tunic, pants, and boots while wielding a heavy crimson painted shield.
He is armed with a Luckblade Longsword with a one foot hilt and a three foot blade.
In combat he likes to be in the thick of the action, leading from the front, dealing death with his sword, and using his armor and shield to shrug off attacks that could kill lesser men.
He carries with him 4,300 gold pieces, an adventurer’s kit, and a crimson cloak he can wear on formal occasions.
Nathaniel was born just over thirty years ago as the eldest son of Lord Saul Lionheart and Lady Enna Lionheart, and is therefore the heir to the most powerful of the three great noble houses that rule over Ithos. Several years later, he became older brother to Lady Aliena Lionheart. He was raised at the great stronghold of Lion’s Den, his family’s ancestral home. He had a happy childhood, splitting his time between his family and his education.
As the heir to House Lionheart, his military and political education was of supreme importance. While he displayed great skill at diplomacy and politics under the tutelage of Master Ivan, it was the art of warfare to which Nathaniel was best suited. Lion’s Den’s Master-at-Arms, Sir Brendan, remarked that Nathaniel was perhaps the most skilled swordsman he had ever seen, and Lord Saul noticed that Nathaniel had incisive strategic capability, making him just as capable of leading men as killing them. When he came of age, his father recognized his ability by placing him on his council.
The War For Lionheart Succession:
When King Damien The Old died, it should have been Lord Saul’s turn to ascend the throne, but the Lords Tybolt Strongboar and Mander Elkhorn in this case conspired to deny him the throne, and together gave it to the Strongboars for the second time in a row. Outraged by this injustice, Lord Saul called his banners, gathered his strength, and declared The War For Lionheart Succession.
The Autumn Campaign and The Battle of Boarshome:
The Lionhearts may have been the richest and most powerful house, but even so they were outnumbered by three to two. Nevertheless, Lord Saul remained determined to achieve victory, and decided to strike as quickly as possible, while the Strongboars and Elkhorns still mustered their forces on the border between their two territories.
Lord Saul divided his forces in two, leaving behind 30,000 men under Nathaniel’s command to harass the enemy, deny them supplies, and in so doing protect Lionheart holdings. Meanwhile, he took the remaining 30,000 men to the Strongboar fortress of Boarshome, which had been left with a minimal garrison. Boarshome was still a formidable fortress however, and rather than lose a third of his army in an assault, he decided to lay siege. He sent out raiders to gather all the supplies they could and settled in as winter began.
Midway through Winter, a unusually strong blizzard came howling down from the mountains to blanket the Strongboar lands in white. Under cover of this monstrous storm, the combined Strongboar and Elkhorn armies undertook a brutal forced march and came upon Lord Saul’s forces by surprise. Lord Saul fought valiantly, but he was outnumbered three to one and was pinned against the walls of the fortress he had until recently been besieging. Ultimately, he and his officers were captured and his army destroyed, though they exacted an equal toll upon their foes.
With that victory accomplished, Strongboar and Elkhorn were confident in their victory and sent a message to Nathaniel demanding his immediate unconditional surrender. Naturally, he refused, and spent the rest of the winter planning his spring campaign.
The Spring Campaign and The Battle of Honey Creek*: Almost the moment the snow began to melt, Nathaniel’s army exploded into Elkhorn lands. He correctly induced that his enemies would remain at Boarshome to wait out the winter and he took this opportunity to undermine the Elkhorn war effort. He kept his forces splintered; regiments of several thousand men always moving individually towards a rally point. He crushed every militia raised against him and raided towns and villages, wrecking the Elkhorn supply chain while avoiding Elkhall and the other major strongholds he didn’t have the either time or manpower to capture.
When the allied lords heard of these events they immediately led their combined forces, which outnumbered Nathaniel’s two to one, to confront him. Having completed his objective he dodged and feinted past their armies and entered Strongboar lands, repeating the process; his smaller army able to outdistance their more numerous pursuers. Eventually, Elkhorn and Strongboar realized that the only way to force Nathaniel to battle was to abandon pursuit and invade Lionheart lands. They crossed the border and began moving relentlessly in the direction of Lion’s Den, burning and pillaging as they went.
Their strategy worked, but not in the way they had intended. Using his army’s superior speed, he raced ahead and intercepted them just as they completed the fording of a river known as Honey Creek. The allied forces found themselves on marshy low ground with their backs to the river, hampering retreat, while Nathaniel and his men occupied solid high ground with their backs to a forest, providing easy escape. As a result, the odds were actually slightly in the Lionhearts’ favor, despite their numerical disadvantage.
Nathaniel led his army from the front atop his pure white charger, the sight of him motivated his troops and they began to push in the allies’ center. Victory was near, and all that would be required to end the war was the capture of The Lords Strongboar and Elkhorn. The Lords obliged Nathaniel and appeared, dismounted. Nathaniel leaped down from his charger to engage them in personal combat.
Even together, they never stood a chance against the best swordsman Ithos had seen in over 100 years. Less than a minute into the duel and Lord Strongboar took a thrust to his abdomen. This wound would later prove to be mortal. Mere seconds later, Lord Elkhorn’s sword went spinning into the grass, and Nathaniel had him on his knees. It was in this triumphant moment that disaster struck.
No longer seeing him astride his white charger, a good portion of Nathaniel’s army assumed he was dead or had been captured. The best officers had been captured at the battle of Boarshome and without adequate leadership, these troops panicked. Several buglers sounded retreat and soon the entire Lionheart army was withdrawing into the forest. Nathaniel, his personal guard, and a few hundred men-at-arms found themselves surrounded by nearly the entire allied force. With no other way out, Nathaniel chose to save the lives of his men and surrender himself.
Imprisonment and Exile:
Lord Elkhorn, in sole command following Lord Strongboar’s death, came to the conclusion that Nathaniel was simply too dangerous an adversary to risk having escape. However, he would lose all legitimacy and tarnish his House’s reputation forever if he killed a noble captive who had surrendered peacefully. So he decided he had to send Nathaniel as far away as he possibly could and then release him, hoping he would get himself killed trying to return to Ithos.
Nathaniel never learned the final outcome of the war. He was chained to a post, put inside a cage guarded by twenty men, and loaded onto a ship to be taken as far away from Ithos as possible. He remained on-board a ship or in the back of a cart, for nearly a year as his guards took him steadily Northeast. He was a nobleman, so he was treated gently and allowed to exercise so that his muscles wouldn’t atrophy. All the while he dedicated his mind to thoughts of escape and retribution.
Escape and New Adventures:
The ship upon which Nathaniel was being transported made a brief stop at Firadel, capital of the Ocyvian Republic in order to take on food and fresh water. Water had been running short, so many of the guards were thirsty. The key-master was particularly fond of taunting Nathaniel, and came by to carry on his nightly routine. He stopped half-way through his taunting to take a swig from his water skin and became suddenly lethargic. Nathaniel looked around the deck and noticed that many of the other guards were behaving in a similar manner. He had no idea what was going on, but he recognized an opportunity when he saw one.
He instructed his guard to open his cage and unlock his restraints and was pleasantly surprised when the man complied. He managed to sneak below, recover his armor, weapons and quite a good amount of gold, and subdued the few guards who still had the willpower to get in his way. He wrapped himself in a tattered grey over-cloak and disembarked.
Not knowing for how long his escort would be incapacitated, he purchased passage on the first ship to leave Firadel. While he was at sea, he was approached by a warrior calling himself Ralof Strombreaker, and agreed to join the company of adventurers to which Ralof belonged while he searched for a way to get home.
Nathaniel was killed during the fight that followed the party’s escape from Calakmul. As they attempted to flee the city by boat, they were ambushed by two warforged ships. The steel behemoths were powered by some strange, unknown technology, and were armed with weapons more destructive than anything the party had ever seen. The conclusion of the fight saw one of the ships destroying the other, as its crew saw that the other vessel was doomed. Nathaniel happened to be on this ship, trying to find a way to destroy it or commandeer its weapons. The blast from the other ship’s cannon hit an ammo depot of some sort, and the maimed vessel exploded violently – with Nathaniel at the center of the blast. He is assumed to have been vaporized.