The Legend of Gethzerian
Your mentor in Harkenwold. Stahl is many months overdue in returning from an archaelogical exploration near Winterhaven
Sure, you’d hear the rumors about Douven Stahl. You’d hear he was a member
of the Last Legion, or the Keepers of the Flame, not that you’d know what those were. You’d hear repeatedly of his tales of bravado in battle, the hordes of orcs and goblins who owed their early trip to the afterlife to his longblade. But every one of those stories had two common factors. First, they were all years in the past. Second, not one of the people telling them had ever witnessed it first-hand. Personally, you’d never seen Stahl raise anything but a glass, occasionally his voice when you screwed up. And you’d never seen him once angered, unless of course, you mentioned Gnolls. Stahl hates Gnolls. But hey, who doesn’t right? None of this
stopped you from signing up with him after you arrived in Harkenwold.
That’s not to say Stahl taught you everything you know. You all learned your professions and crafts in your own way. But then your wanderings brought you to Harken from your own homelands. There, seeking adventure, excitement, and exploration, as it fit into your own personal goals of course, you found Douven Stahl. Advanced in age, he had more or less retired from the adventuring business, but he was more than willing to teach. He also set you up with other would-be heroes, giving your party the perfect balance. He taught you how to fight together, how to work together, and how to stay on the path of good. Stahl stressed to you the importance of putting others before yourselves, helping the helpless. “Adventurers,” he’ say, “have powers others can barely dream of. Use them wisely.” He also taught you the best way to kill a Gnoll. Stahl really, really hates Gnolls. But hey, who doesn’t, right?
Stahl set you on the right path and then let you go free. “Like baby birds, kicked
outta the nest when it’s time to fly” he laughed, in the gruff voice you all had heard for a
year. And although he hadn’t set foot outside Harkenwold in nearly a decade, that same morning he told you you’d completed his training, he told you that he was setting off on an archaeological expedition. “I’m traveling north to Winterhaven friends. I got a tip about an old Dragon burial site that sounds too good to pass up.” And though you asked to be brought along, Stahl laughed it off. “Nothing I can’t handle. Stay nearby here till I return. Baron Stockmer will certainly feel better. And you never know if or when those damn Gnolls might come back.” And even reminding Stahl that Gnolls hadn’t been seen in the Harken Forest for nearly 200 years didn’t help. Stahl just replied that “That means they’re due, don’t you think?” So, he set off northwest along the old King’s Road, headed for Winterhaven, and promising to return within the
Stahl sent you a letter upon his arrival in Winterhaven, with several light insults
for those amongst you who had worried about his safety, and reconfirming his expected
return. Six months passed without further contact as you patrolled the boundaries of the
Duchy with little excitement. Stahl’s wife, Juli, began to worry that she had not heard
from him as he had promised. As the one year mark passed Juli was frantic, and begged
you to search for him. Your itch for excitement and worry for Stahl combined were
enough to get you moving even without her pleas, and you set out to follow the King’s
Road in search of Douven Stahl.