Name: Sir Garner Kelheim
Age: Appears to be in his mid 30s. Actual age closer to 100 years
Physical Description: 5'10''. Blue eyes, brown hair and beard. Sturdy, muscular body
Chosen by: Lady Ink
Gift Description: A small metal shield. Garner perceives it as a protective item (or as a useless piece of junk)
Garner is utterly devoted to the idea of doing 'the right thing' for the good of others, a solemn duty that he honestly finds fulfilling. His pursuit of this goal is trammelled through the terms of the warrior-noble honour codes under which he was raised. He will reluctantly bend or break these rules if it serves the good of others to do so, but extends no such flexibility to himself.
Although not stupid, Garner tends to think in predictable straight lines. It is noteworthy that he has never questioned his continued devotion to the codes of his childhood – he judged his father a worthy role model at the time and the man is in no position to damage that belief now. He is unflinchingly persistent and will tend to force his way to the true point of a discussion if he feels the other party is being equivocal or infuriating.
Garner is dreadfully over-serious and reserved (although Jerek is able to irritate him into reacting). It is a flaw that he has long been aware of and he often finds himself feigning emotions such as amusement or shock to satisfy the expectations of a conversation partner. The camaraderie of Tyrion's band was profoundly good for him – he became more animated and expressive and even showed flashes of humour. This all faded after their deaths and he is now as withdrawn as ever. He is terribly nostalgic for his lost fellows and could bond with a new friendship group if they reminded him of the old heroes. Until then he acts as a designated mourner, honouring their names and legacies as the last survivor.
Garner is not emotionless but rather accustomed to restraining himself. When he truly loses himself his outbursts of passion are violent, explosive and long-lasting. The surest trigger for such a display at the present time would be any molestation of the locket around his neck.
Life in the world of Ferlais has always been precarious, due to the easily abusable power of magic and the existence of neighbouring realities filled with alien life. Within Garner's lifetime, however, threats to humanity have risen as never before.
Garner was born into the ruling family of the small independent Dukedom of Kelheim. As heir to the feudal territory he was heavily schooled in the arts of knighthood and government, along with the philosophies of noble obligation that his station required. Garner absorbed these lessons without reservation. He had no doubt of the right of his family to rule the land, yet felt that a ruler was to be judged by the good he did for his people rather than the glory he took for himself. He prepared himself to be first a dutiful knight and eventually a fair Duke for the rest of his life, entertaining no other option.
He was plucked from this existence by a visit from the renowned hero Sir Tyrion. Forces in the vast Underworld of caves and tunnels beneath Ferlais were stirring and a massive army of shadowed ones were preparing to boil up onto the surface world. Tyrion intended to strike first and was visiting each lord in turn to seek support. Exactly what it was he saw in the young knight Garner never understood, but at the conclusion of his visit Tyrion asked only that Garner join him. The Duke could hardly refuse the honour and Garner had no hesitation in accepting.
The shadow invasion came sooner that expected and in greater numbers. With only limited aid at his disposal, Tyrion chose to strike deep into the Underworld and slay the horde's masters. Garner fought alongside Tyrion and his other companions through many terrible miles of tunnels, finally crushing their targets in a dreadful battle within a subterranean city. With their leaders gone, the horde lost direction and scattered back into the Underworld.
Yet no war is won without cost. Kelheim was one of the first locations to be attacked by the horde and its fall was never in doubt. There were no survivors and even much of the land itself subsided into the huge tunnels that the horde dug to breach the surface.
Garner was understandably devastated, but he was also robbed of purpose. The man he had directed all of his energies to becoming was the selfless ruler of a people who no longer existed. Knowing this, Tyrion made Garner one of his household knights. So he was to stay as long as he lived.
Tyrion's band rapidly became Garner's new family. He became fast friends with the thief Keron and
the sorceress Marliane – and considerably more than friends with Freya the berserker. Together, they adventured across most of the known world for several years.
The next major threat to Ferlais emerged in the form of the vampire lord Vadek. The group confronted him when the depths of his ambition became known, but were initially routed. Garner was cut off during the retreat and Vadek transformed him into one of his own kind. Although Garner was able to escape, his struggles against the curse were doomed. Eventually he killed to satiate his hunger and Tyrion judged that he should be destroyed. Freya argued that his past deeds outweighed the crime (an argument that Garner himself had no sympathy with). Tyrion agreed to wait until Vadek was defeated, a compromise that Garner accepted.
The group confronted Vadek at the Wellspring of Life, a mystical font that Vadek intended to pollute with undeath. This time they were victorious and Garner played a vital role in the battle. In recognition of his contribution, the Wellspring's guardians permitted him to drink from a chalice of the Lifewater. The water burned away the cursed aspects of his immortality, creating a purified form. Tyrion issued a pardon, which Garner accepted for Freya's sake.
After this secret victory, the land had barely two years of peace before a massive army of orcs flooded out of the dark lands. The horde was broken at the mighty fortress of Iron Vale, but Freya was killed holding a breach almost single-handed. Garner wept for her more that he had for all of Kelheim. His sobs wrung the Lifewaters out of his body in his tears, reviving Freya when they fell upon her brow. Since this incident his vampirism has partially relapsed, but the symptoms are now manageable.
Garner had several more years of joy with Freya as a result of this sacrifice. Yet eventually they were still parted, when an invasion army comprised of the Fair Folk amassed to overrun the mortal realm. Marliane was able to work a great spell that sealed away part of Faerie, but Freya was caught on the other side. All Garner now has of her is a locket containing her portrait. It has only left his neck once, and he tore the pickpocket responsible limb from limb in rage when he discovered the theft.
Tyrion's body was starting to slow with age, but his mind remained sharp. He had been patiently investigating the hidden forces behind each threat and the war in Faerie gave him the last pieces he needed. The connections between the mortal world and that of the mythical Dark Lord were revealed to him.
This time, Tyrion took a massive army. Breaching the Dark Realm cost Marliane her life, but the assault was successful. Tyrion himself slew the Dark Lord, heralding the start of the Golden Age of Ferlais. Sadly, he perished in the deed. Only after bearing his body back to the mortal world did Garner discover that Tyrion had bequeathed his lands to him.
The lessons of his youth were at last put to use, but Garner became increasingly distant. After age took Keron from him, he socialised with no one. He slept longer each day, until one evening three years after Keron's death he simply did not wake at all.
Garner does not know how long he slumbered. All he knows is that he awoke in the cellars of a deserted castle, surrounded by towns empty of humans. In their place, terrible creatures with nothing but blind murder in their minds roamed the land.
It took Garner months to even find a living human settlement. There he was told of the rise of the Tainted, twisted creatures that spread their curse into anyone they killed. Undead plagues had been seem before, but this alien Taint had resisted all of the usual magical counter-measures and the lands of men had fallen.
Garner resolved to find and reverse the source of this Taint. It took years for him to piece together the clues, but he now believes the problem to stem from the Matriarch who rules the remains of the land of Ranech. This was confirmed when he encountered her general, Jerek. After several battles he has defeated the man, but Jerek's unexpected honourable surrender has lumbered him with a prisoner. Unable to leave Jerek in anyone else's care, Garner has continued toward his objective with the tied-up sorcerer in tow.
Garner does not age or breathe and requires no nutrition beyond a pint of blood per week. His physical strength is about three times what would be expected from a man of his build and his reactions are rather sharp. He will heal most conventional injuries within a day, although severed or destroyed body parts take longer to regrow. Actually killing Garner requires entirely sundering his brain from his heart or physically destroying most of his head and torso. He has a pair of extendible and exceptionally sturdy canine teeth. He is also capable of going a very long time without rest, although exposure to sunlight wearies him enough to demand a human sleeping schedule if outdoors for most of each day.
At a mundane level, Garner is an extremely experienced adventurer. He is a master of melee and unarmed combat and has some knowledge in the arts of stealth, battlefield medicine, feudal leadership and wilderness travel.
Garner carries Sir Tyrion's enchanted sword. The blade is much tougher than normal steel and can strike ghost-like beings as if they were solid. The blade also lessens the effectiveness of accelerated healing, although the degree to which this happens varies from one creature to another.
Garner wears an elderly but well-tended suit of Gothic plate armour. An antique locket with a miniature portrait of Freya inside hangs around his neck. He carries a couple of daggers and some basic climbing gear, but little else.