HEROES OF IMPILTUR
True to their word, in appreciation for all that he has done for them, the Moon Elves of the Gray Forest have continued to help Tsol in his quest for the Winding Way. The following information about Targore was compiled by the elves, written into a new, leather-bound journal, and presented to Tsol. With the smells of new paper and fresh ink in your nostrils you sit down to read…
The journal details the life and times of Targore, a Minotaur hero from nearly 1000 years ago. Targore grew up with a clan of Minotaurs in the frozen tundra of the north. No map or landmarks are mentioned. The book does mention that during the colder winter months the clan would return to their mountain retreat. The retreat was a labyrinthine series of caves deep within a mountainside.
From early on in his life the book tells that Targore was destined for greatness. At age 6 he saved his mother from a Yeti attack. At age 12 he was instrumental in saving his clan from an attack by frost giants. At age 16 he courted the chieftain’s daughter. While fighting with a rival for the girl apparently Targore lost his temper and killed him. Shamed, he left the village in self-imposed exile.
The early stories of Targore paint him as more of a solo mercenary who fights for gold rather than honor. One common theme that runs throughout the early stories is Targore’s explosive temper which gets him into trouble. One such story tells of Targore getting into a drinking contest with a pair of half-elven twin brothers. As the story goes, the brothers were taking turns drinking against Targore. Unbeknown to him, they would switch places whenever he was distracted. Eventually Targore discovered the ruse and kicked off a bar brawl. He completely destroyed the tavern trying to get his hands on the twins. Eventually he was overpowered by the city guards. Both he and the twins were hauled before one of the justicars of the ancient Hucan Empire. For their crimes they were drafted into service with other criminals and undesirables of the empire. Targore and the twins were shipped off to fight a war against the Hucan’s demonic enemies.
This event appeared to be a major turning point in Targore’s life. He eventually became close friends to the band of motley outcasts he was forcibly grouped with. Together they were known as the “Suicide Squad” because they were considered expendable and always given the most dangerous missions. Besides Targore there were the twin bothers Silas and Salis. Their role in the stories shows them to have been great tricksters and cunning warriors. There was Dogun the plainsman who was legendary for his ability to ride any creature. The stories show him to be good with animals and nearly unstoppable in mounted combat. There was also Ijax the frost giant. Initially in the story there is much distrust and rivalry between Targore and the giant. Eventually it yields to mutual respect and by the end of the war the two wind up becoming best friends. The final member of the squad was Pequod; a mage and the “handler“, of the group. Eldest son of noble family, Peqod was considered a screw-up by his father. His father had him assigned by the empire to manage the group in hopes that he would get killed during the war. Instead, Targore and the squad helped him overcome his nervousness and become an accomplished mage. He is the author of this book. The demon-war concluded with the squad slaying the giant demon Xonox and they returned to the Hucan Empire as heroes.
The squad did not break up immediately after the war. There a couple of tales you find particularly interesting. One involves the group going back to Dogun’s homeland for his long-delayed wedding day. They arrive to find Dogun’s betrothed in the clutches of a clan rival. Dogun challenges Dathak, his rival, to a chariot battle for his woman’s freedom. The night before the battle Dathak poisons Dogun’s horse. Then Dathak arrives to the challenge having summoned Kilrosh the Nightmare Horselord to be his steed. It looks like Dogun is going to have to forfeit when Targore offers to pull his chariot. Targore pulls the chariot and fights off the nightmare with his bare hands while Dogun and Dathak battle furiously from the chariot. Eventually the tag team of Targore and Dogun prevail. Targore demands the horse shoes from Kilrosh as spoils for his victory. The other story involves the squad going back to Ijax’s homeland to fight off a clan of fire giants that have invaded his people. Ultimately Ijax ends up sacrificing himself to save his clan. Shortly thereafter the squad breaks up. Targore returns to his homeland, marries his childhood romance and is made chieftain.
Of the artifacts there is plenty of description. Targore’s signature four-horned helm was his birthright from his father. He wore it throughout all of his adventures. When the squad broke up he left it with Peqod as something to remember him by. The origin of the axe is unknown. It is not explained if it started out with magical properties or if it gained magical properties by the legendary actions of its owner. It is said that the rival Targore killed fighting over the chieftain’s daughter was a close friend. That night he wept bitterly and prayed to his god to bring his friend back. The god did not answer this prayer but did bless that axe so that it could no longer take the blood of a good creature. Many examples of this property are cited throughout the stories especially when Targore attacked Ijax during their first meeting. The axe dealt the death blow to Xonox, the ancient Abyssal Wurm. After the final cut was delivered the axe gained the power to manifest hellfire. It is said that after Ijax was slain by the fire giants that Targore wept for his friend and the axe never again projected the hellfire. Targore’s demon horn was taken by him from the head of Xonox after he slew him. He wanted a horn to carry around because his friend Ijax carried a legendary horn taken from the head of an ancient white dragon. Peqod later enchanted the horn with magic. The armor was crafted by the Hucan Empire. All members of the suicide squad were forced to wear a copy. The armor forced the wearer to obey the commands of the Hucan nobility. The story says that each set of armor held a heart-shaped gem at the center of it. The armor could not be removed until the gem recorded a certain number of noble deeds that proved the wearer’s loyalty to the Hucan Empire. The author says that the squad fulfilled their armor’s requirements so that could have all removed it well before the end of the war. Instead they chose to leave it on and the gems glowed with power at the knowledge of their legendary acts of heroism.