The Lanvernite Succession
Arkon Salt is a 35-year-old human druid. Originally from the Spinewood Forest west of Wolverton, as a boy Salt was taken to Greatminster as an apprentice to King Alfred’s gardener and advisor, a druid. At age seventeen, he moved to Faversham, where he worked as head of gardens for a local lord. He left Lanverness after the disappearance of Prince Roland and the execution of the Olive Council.
Arkon Salt was born the second son of Baron Blacyn Salt, a minor noble family whose best days were in the distant past when their salt mine holdings once prospered. His mother, Desiree, was an attractive woman of Essington, but not of noble blood herself. The family manor and mines are located on a southern tributary of a narrow river west of Wolverton, nestled in the Spinewood Forest at the base of the Dragonspine, in an area known as Salthold. In his youth Arkon’s father spent years in the Lanverness military before retiring to the manor with his young wife. He had rescued her and the merchant caravan she was part of while while leading troops in pursuit of brigands along Lanverness’s southwest border. Baral, Arkon’s four year senior brother, left at the age of fourteen to be a page to a knight and pursue a similar career.
Arkon spent much of his youth outdoors exploring the forests and mountains around Salthold. If not exploring then he was hunting with the family hounds and falcons. He had a natural aptitude with the animals and by the age of nine had already begun training them himself. Though he certainly had a strong will and innate toughness to endure hard work, he never had the physical size of his brother or father. Baron Blacyn was somewhat concerned with how Arkon would fare when he was old enough for it to be his turn to join the military.
That future changed in the fall of his twelfth year when an unusual visitor stayed for a night at the manor, Rusur Blaen, an old friend and advisor to King Alfred. Rusur was primarily known for maintaining the exotic gardens of Greatminster Castle, beloved by the Queen and famous throughout the Twelve Kingdoms. A friend of King Alfred’s since they both were young, he was unusually spry for a man of his age and was known to travel throughout Lanverness on the King’s business. Unknown to most Rusur was a druid who, working with other like minded druids across the Twelve Kingdoms, sought to influence the rulers of nations to use of their lands wisely. With his guidance King Alfred fostered sustainable forestry, mining that preserved rivers from excessive contamination, and prevented over hunting throughout Lanverness. Rusur recognized Arkon’s natural affinity for the animals at Salthold and offered to take him on as an apprentice. Both Baron Blacyn and Desiree quickly agreed, as they were pleased to have such an opportunity for their son to go to Greatminster and play some role in the King’s Court, however small.
Rusur Blaen was a kind, but firm mentor to Arkon. He rapidly discovered that the boy had a great aptitude for druidic magic along with his skill at training animals. The next years of Arkon’s life were some of the best, learning to be more in tune with nature and being indoctrinated into Rusur’s beliefs about the balance between man and nature that should be preserved. Once older Arkon was often sent on trips for Rusur, ostensibly to collect exotic birds, fish, or plants that would grace the Queen’s garden, but also to meet with other druids of the Twelve Kingdoms to share news.
At the age of seventeen, with his apprenticeship complete, Arkon was offered a position by Lord Reed of Faversham. It was fashionable to create a garden in emulation of the one at Greatminster and the prospect of getting Rusur’s ear through his former apprentice was also desirable. Rusur encouraged Arkon to take it since he wished to have more insight into the Lord Reed’s effort’s to increase the prominence of Faversham by having a road built between it and Wolverton. Reed’s dream was to be a conduit of goods barged to and from Ashport by connecting the to the River Oak with a short overland trade route to Wolverton. Arkon prospered in Faversham, improving the Reed Manor gardens and getting along well with the Lord and his family. Arkon also explored the surrounding wetlands of Faversham and sent information to Rusur about how best a new road could be built across them that would be least disruptive.
Shortly before Arkon’s twentieth birthday Bartleby Sax became the regent and the land of Lanverness rapidly deteriorated. Rusur Blaen disappeared around the time Roland disappeared and the Olive Council were accused of the crime of taking him. Arkon knows Rusur was not publicly killed by Sax, but he has not heard from his master since then and assumes that Sax must have silently eliminated him as he killed so many others. Arkon was distressed by what he saw Sax doing, the onerous taxes and greed for wealth spurring reckless harvesting of forests and other plundering of the land’s resources. Arkon attempted to contact other druids he knew to be friend’s of Rusur, but most had also disappeared and the few that remained were equally distressed and unable to decide what should be done. Not willing to watch the his homeland be destroyed and with the power of the Iron Guard growing Arkon gave into despair and decided to venture out into the rest of the Twelve Kingdoms, leaving Lanverness behind.
Before leaving Lanverness Arkon helped his parents shutter the family manor in Salthold, as they also recognized that no good for them would come under Sax’s reign. Arkon traveled with them to Essington, where they resettled in the small farming village of Blackroot, located on a river south of Chedfield. The village was where Desiree originally came from and Arkon spent a couple of months visiting his cousins and other relatives there while his parents settled into the simple pastoral life.
The close proximity to Humberstoke reminded Arkon of a trip he had taken for Rusur to acquire some unusual flying reptiles from a fellow druid in Westnell. Rusur planned to use the nocturnal reptiles as a form of large carrier pigeons that would travel stealthily at night and carry more than simple messages. Growing restless with the life in a farming village Arkon boarded a Westnell bound ship out of Chedfield. Arkon paid the captain in trade offering his skill at weather prediction and what spells he could use to help the crew. Arkon found some work, gathering rare plants and herbs and selling them to merchants at the port.
Soon after arriving in Westnell Arkon sought out the druid Nassok, who he had met before while apprenticing for Rusur. Nassok informed Arkon that he not heard from Rusur after his disappearance and that many druids were concerned about Sax’s actions in Lanverness after usurping power. Nassok also made Arkon aware of a young enchantress in Westnell that needed someone to help her locate certain rare mushrooms from the jungle and that he would be willing to introduce Arkon to her. Upon meeting Sibella Arkon was nearly smitten with her beauty, however he managed to impress her enough to get the job. It wasn’t long after that he began to successfully court Sibella and they moved in together. Sibella introduced Arkon to other wizards in the community that kept him busy exploring the local jungle looking for unusual plants they used in their arcane experiments. It wasn’t long before Sibella was pregnant and their daughter Nesta was born within the year.
Arkon spent over a decade raising Nesta with Sibella and learning more about Humberstroke’s animals and plants while taking the commissions he could get from local wizards. Occasionally Arkon ventured out deeper into the jungle with Nassok visiting groves and other natural places of significance to druids. Other times his trips with Nassok were to pursue and eliminate lesser aberrations that are drawn to the unusual magic present within the jungle. On one such occasion Arkon killed a carrion crawler that had come out into the jungle to hunt from a cave that lead into a known complex of deep subterranean tunnels. The carrion crawler had been feasting on the corpse of a female fleshraker and her eggs. One of the eggs was unharmed and Arkon was able to rescue it and keep it warm until it hatched. Arkon raised the hatched fleshraker, calling him Razor, and the dinosaur has been his animal companion since.
Around the time Nesta reached the age of twelve it became clear to Sibella and Arkon that she had a natural gift for sorcery and they enrolled her in the mage academy to help her master and refine her abilities. In time Arkon and Sibella drifted apart, as their pursuits of their own magical studies often took precedence over spending time together. By Nesta’s fourteen birthday Arkon spends few nights within the city of Westnell, preferring the to sleep beneath the jungle canopy with Razor has his constant companion. Arkon and Sibella are still good friends and both are proud of their daughter and her growing skill as a sorceress.
One night in the jungle Arkon was awoken by the nose of a winged reptile pushing up against his ear. The creature was of the same type he had brought to Rusur a lifetime ago, though larger and stronger looking than those had been. With a flap of its wings it hopped into the air to hover over Arkon and dropped a small satchel onto his chest. Within the satchel was the mysterious sending tablet and a message about the return of the rightful heir to Lanverness.
Within a day Arkon bid farewell to Nesta and Sibella and gathered his few possessions together. He then called in a favor from a wizard in Westnell to teleport him to a copse of trees just outside of the town of Smallway.