Ill Winds Over Verbobonc
As captain of Hommlet's militia, this formidable ranger is in charge of organising the defence of his neighbours. In his youth he was overfond of ale, but age appears to have tempered his thirst.
Well over six feet in height, prodigiously muscled, full bearded, and carrying more than his fair share of scars, this middle-aged warrior carries a significant air of authority about him. His heavy features and slow gait tempt you to think him stupid, but when you meet his blue eyes you find them sharp indeed. His long blonde and slightly lank locks are receding deeply at the temples, leaving him with a widow’s peak, and he lets his hair flop over the bare patches. An impressive looking battle axe and a long dagger are kept at his belt.
First encountered in the Inn of the Welcome Wench on the night of their arrival, the physique of Elmo Renton left a clear impression on the Band of the Silver Spear. A great beast of a man with stern face but an infectious, rumbling baritone of a laugh, he clearly dominated the room with his size and air of authority, and it soon became apparent that he was captain of the local militia. Whereas Burne’s Badgers were charged with the ready defence of the town and the region, Elmo and his circle of officers were responsible for mustering to defend the settlement in times of war, or when the viscount sees fit to call his banners to war.
After attention was drawn, introductions were made, and the party shared their information concerning the emergent bandit lords of the Gnarley verge and the Welk bog, Captain Elmo and his informal militia council invited the heroes to accompany them to a private room for further discussions. In addition to Elmo, those present included his father, Hroth, as well as a number of his sergeants, including Tarim, Sef, Jasper, Gister, Jakk, and Valden. Several others, namely Calmert, Willem, and Thaenai, were attending to other matters, and not about at the inn that night.
Notes were compared, and the party learned that in the course of their work and wanderings in the near hills and the forest verge, both Elmo and Tarim had spoken to woodsmen that had heard tales of several of the emergent bandit lords. Elmo knows of the one called Ash, who is an aged man that lived as a hermit in the deep woods for some years before he started gathering followers about himself. His band calls themselves the Scourge, and they are known for wearing leather masks and hoods. Tarim spoke of the one known as Seguryn who, according to his son Rendar, seeks to foster piracy on the Velverdyva anew by founding a new hub of ne’erdowells somewhere north of the Fens of Tor. His large band call themselves the Reavers, and they tend to adorn their boats, shields, and helms with horns to denote their loyalty. It was Randar’s intention to “deal with” Seguryn after he and his allies had vanquished the dragon Chausticlorinus, but now the ranger-knight and his people have disappeared. All the militia council are very worried about Randar, whose skill in battle and knowledge of tracking and woodslore is nigh on legendary.
Both also spoke of the conflict between two tribes of orcs whose lands are close to the fens. One, known as the Howling Moon, are a savage, marauding clan that was transplanted from the far north decades ago. They served both the First Temple and later the Second Temple as troops, and their savage ways are a blight on the verge. A local tribe known as the Storm-Eyes, markedly less ravening and more honourable than the northerners but still a danger, fought for the first but declined to serve the Second Temple; many of them were instead slain or enslaved by the cult. They have now been attacked by the larger tribe and a war is taking place throughout the Fens of Tor and the surrounding forest. The militia council advised that if they encounter signs of the fighting orc bands in the forest they would be wise to step aside, and let the “bastards bite each other,” for weakened orcs of any sort can only be good for everyone else…
Over the coming days of their stay in Hommlet, the Band of the Silver Spear learned a little of Elmo, for the larger than life figure is a source of frequent gossip in the village. Apparently in his younger years he was frequently drunk, and more than a little reckless and feckless. He was also held to be a bit of a dolt, while his much older brother Otis was renowned for his seriousness, resourcefulness, and talent. A skilled woodsmen and warrior, Otis left his family to go adventuring far and wide, and rumour has it that he eventually gained the favour of Viscount Wilfrick and even gained a knighthood.
Both brothers fought against the rise of the Second Temple, sometimes together but more often as part of other cadres of heroes, and frequently also in the company of Canoness Y’dey and their mutual friend, Murfles. On one such excursion in which Y’dey declined to join them, citing the bishop’s needs elsewhere, Otis fell in battle and, by the time they were able to locate Y’dey, it was too late for her to cast Raise Dead on his corpse. Elmo never forgave the canoness, and he also turned his back on the Cudgeller and went over to the Old Faith. To this day he will have nothing to do with any of the Cuthbertines save Calmert, whom he respects as a fellow local and a long-standing militia sergeant, but the priest is still careful to mention religion in the presence of the towering ranger.
In any case, following the death of his brother, Elmo grew serious and brooding, and while he still loosens up with a few ales he rarely drinks to excess. His knowledge of the parlous places of the region is profound, for he spends much of his spare time patrolling old trouble spots. Few of the local villagers have seen as much of the ruined Moathouse and the (now collapsed) sub-levels of the old Temple of Elemental Evil as Elmo, but he is guarded in how much he speaks of those fell locales. His best friends are Jaroo Ashstaff, Ostler Gundigoot, Willem Smyth, and Tarim the Woodcutter, although he considers all militia members in good standing to be comrades, and he also has an especial big brotherly regard for Horse Flettner, whom he is teaching the ways of the ranger.