Carnaby Goebb, principal of the very first Expeditionary Dispatch, receives an unexpected missive from a friend thought long gone. Here he learns of strange connections between the wild Talenta Plains and the sanctified theocracy of Thrane and is reminded once again that all who wander are not lost.
Wir, 3 Vult, 998 YK
For ten long years now have I wandered these strange and lonely lands. Ten years among the fierce warriors of the Talenta and their primitive beasts. Our initial encounters were bloody, to be sure, but as the seasons have turned, the natives here have come to accept my presence, my fitful wanderings. Many are the times, in recent years, that I have come to their aid, to offer healing or a stout sword against the darkness. Many times, too, have the tribes sheltered me when my strength has ebbed, my spirit faltered. They call me "The Pale One," "The Lost Man," or sometimes "The Tall Wanderer."
For a full decade now, in these rags and this filthy cloak, I have walked the grasslands, facing the Adversary in the wild places of the world -- my quest, my struggle, forever a carefully guarded secret. And so to all others I appear a madman. I don't imagine any of the Talentans suspect that I was once a paragon of "civilized" warfare, a resplendent Knight of Thrane, any more than they suspect the true nature of the hideous shadow beneath their feet.
I write to you today, old friend, because it seems my wanderings may at last be coming to an end. I have disclosed to no living soul, these many years, the true reason for my departure from the Order. But I must tell you now, and in short order at that. Ten years ago, I received a powerful vision from the Voice of the Silver Flame herself -- the founder of our order, the great paladin Tira Miron. She warned me that a dire corruption festered beneath these lands and that I alone must face down the powers of darkness threatening to rise from Khyber.
I have discovered in my experience since that a great rajah is bound beneath these plains, a mad architect of the Age of Demons. My task has been to maintain the bindings that hold the fiend and to drive off the fell worshippers that would seek him out. For reasons not mine to know, I was instructed to carry the fight alone, to keep secret my task from all who might give aid -- old friends, my new Talentan hosts, even from the Church herself.
Now I have received another vision and am instructed to return to Flamekeep at last. I have been informed that there is a cancer within the Council of Cardinals, a traitor who betrays the Flame and himself conspires with agents of Khyber below. You will remember this one, for we had dealings together in the throes of the Last War. It is High Cardinal Krozen, whom you suspected all those years ago.
I hope that you will agree to join me in my return to Flamekeep. My lonely quest is ended, and its ultimate resolution is nigh. I would have you by my side again, old friend. Perhaps we shall yet see restoration of Galifar.
NPC: Quinlan Sol, Paladin of Thrane
Quinlan Sol, CR 15
Quinlan Sol, Paladin of the Knights of Thrane, is a legendary templar of the Church of the Silver Flame. Or, at least, he was once -- many years ago. After a glorious and storied career fighting supernatural evil across Eberron at the direction of his Church superiors, Quinlan disappeared in the area of the Talenta Plains nearly 10 years ago.
As a matter of record, Thrane and the Church maintain that the holy templar known as Quinlan Sol was lost in battle during the Last War. In reality, however, Quinlan retired himself from active duty within the military branches of the Church, and disavowed his allegiance to the nation of Thrane. For reasons known only to himself, the paladin turned away from church and state to undertake a lone quest, cutting off all communication with his former compatriots and superiors.
The Council of Cardinals attempted to excommunicate Quinlan, but found to their great consternation that Quinlan not only maintained his status as a paladin, but had apparently forged a direct connection with the mystical force of the Silver Flame. Despite their best efforts to track down and interrogate Quinlan, the Thrane priesthood is left only with questions. The paladin himself has seemingly vanished from the face of Eberron, and their auguries and prayers can reveal nothing about Quinlan's apparently unique and powerful connection with the Silver Flame.
Combat and Tactics
Quinlan relies heavily on his innate skill and years of experience with Lightbringer, his +2 blessed greatsword. When confronted with a truly powerful evil foe, Quinlan can combine the Power Attack feat with his Smite Evil ability, a quickened holy sword spell (via the Battle Blessing feat), and the Charging Smite alternate class feature to make devastating attacks.
Self-reliant to an extreme, Quinlan keeps a large collection of one-use contingency items in his bag of holding for special situations. He also owns a special candle of invocation which allows him to gate in powerful allies from the plane of Irian, The Eternal Day.
Alternate Class Feature: Charging Smite
(Player's Handbook II, pg. 53)
Despite the glorious vision of a shining knight atop a warhorse charging into combat, the reality in the D&D game is that it's far from easy (and sometimes impossible) to bring a big animal along on your dungeon crawl. To avoid the drain on time and resources created by a special mount you might not even be able to use, you can select the charging smite alternative class feature instead. You still leap into the fray, taking the fight to the enemy, but you do so in a manner that better matches the typical combat found in a D&D game.
About the Author
Glenn McDonald is a freelance writer and game designer in lovely Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He writes about games, film, technology, pop culture, shady characters, conflicted heroes, strange and terrible magic, and shadowy fantasy noir intrigue. Not all at the same time.
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