Set on the continent of Faerûn on the world of Abeir-Toril, apart of the Forgotten Realms, Thunderheart's Beginning is the prequel novel to the Thunderheart Incorporated Dungeons & Dragons campaign I have been running since April of 2009. Progression of the Thunderheart Incorporated campaign can be found here: http://www.ObsidianPortal.com/campaign/Thunderheart-Incorporated
Kron Thunderheart was not always a level-headed dwarven wizard. Before forming his adventuring company based out of Waterdeep and beginning his studies into wizardry, he traveled the world as the second in command of an adventuring group called The Seven. They were a band of seven adventures who fought together against many adversaries. Some called them heroes, others called them villains, but The Seven were known far and wide for their deeds.
Thunderheart's Beginning: Chapter 1
Kron awoke but kept his eyes shut tight. He was not sure what caused him to be pulled from his restful slumber, so he waited, relying on his other senses to search out for a clue. He listened intently between breaths for anything irregular. His patience paid off as he heard the slightest sound of a soft heel across the stone. Whatever had found its way into his sleeping chambers was small, quiet, and was suddenly close enough for Kron to feel its body heat as it radiated onto his arm. He continued his deep, slumbering breaths, not only to fool a potential intruder into thinking Kron was still asleep, but to also allow his nose a chance to find anything out of the ordinary. It was there, the faint hint of salt in the air. He slowly began to smile and started laughing as he quickly turned his head, opened his eyes, and caught his young nephew standing next to the bed. "Oh Uncle Kron! How did you know it was me and not some terrible monster," Bryn asked. "My dearest nephew," he answered between laughs. "What monster would have been busy with those salty finger-paints?"
"I made you a picture to take with you! Look! It is me, and mom, and you with the black beard with braids, and here's my dad with the red beard!" A female dwarf appeared in the doorway wearing a cooking apron and carrying a pot. "Bryn, let your uncle be, he's got a long road ahead of him tomorrow."
"Yes momma," he said as he turned to Kron, laying the finger-painting on the bed and giving him a hug. "I love you uncle, and will see you next time you can visit!"
"Aye lad, that you will."
A few hours later, Kron was headed south, away from the mountain ranges where he was raised as he would head deep into the human lands. His stocky form broke the tree line and was greeted by a passing group of human travelers. “Hail! Am I headed in the right direction? I’m looking for Almraiven down in Calimshan.” One of the more heavily armed men spoke up laughing, “leave it to a dwarf to travel from the Spine of the World to the Shining Sea with nothing more than the sun as his guide!”
“Friend, I do not know you and do not wish you harm, but speak ill of my kind again and your eyes will never take in another view of the Shining Sea,” Kron replied through clenched teeth. Still laughing, the man dismounted his horse and extended his hand in a friendly gesture. “I think I rather like you, friend. The name’s Thoril, Thoril Hawklight, and it just so happens we are headed to Almraiven. Would you care to join us on the journey?” Kron eyed the human, relaxed his jaw a bit, and saw the humor in this situation. Here he was, a dwarf, alone, dirty from hard travel, sticks and leaves matted in his beard, out of his homelands for the first time, headed to a strange city, and standing poised to attack the first group of passerby’s he had happened upon. He let out a great dwarven laugh, took Thoril’s hand, and explained, “You’ll have to excuse my behavior. I’ve been traveling alone for the past week with my guard up. Thank you for the offer of friendship and traveling companionship. I would be honored to travel with one so willing to extend his hand to an angry dwarf! I am Kron Thunderheart and I am beginning to think it is lunch time.”
“It is indeed good to meet you, Kron Thunderheart, and I agree,” Thoril said as he turned towards the others in the caravan. ‘Let’s stop here for a meal and continue on our way. We are only four days out from Almraiven!” Cheers went up around the group at the mention of the end of their journey and Kron wondered where they were coming from and what business they had in Almraiven. These questions, and more, would have to wait until after he had silenced the grumbling in his stomach.
As the remaining dishes were being washed and packed back up for travel, Thoril was introducing Kron to the other members of the caravan. “This is Elkas Gellantara, he is a mighty hunter with his bow and actually put together this small group.” Kron shook Elkas’ hand and asked, “Where is this caravan coming from?” Elkas spoke up and explained the caravan was originally hired to escort an old merchant to see The Librarian. The merchant had come into possession of several ancient texts and had heard The Librarian would pay top dollar for such finds.
The group had escorted the old man through Calim Desert, past Castle Tethyr, across the Cloud Peaks, around the Serpent Hills, through Waterdeep and Silverymoon, to finally reach The Librarian just east of Everlund…all at the promises of a great payout on these books. Once there, The Librarian refused to pay for such poor forgeries and threatened to banish the caravan to another plane of existence for their arrogance and stupidity. Once he calmed down, Thoril was able to talk some sense into him and The Librarian had the old man sent to the Everlund jail. Kron sat on the edge of his seat listening to the story as Elkas told it. He recognized specific landmarks of the various areas described in the story as he too had traveled through Waterdeep and the Cloud Peaks after leaving the Spine of the World. His mind swirled with images of a Wizard standing over the old man and tossing the forged books across the room. These are the same images that had danced in his head over the last few years, urging him to leave the mines where his family had worked for a hundred generations and make something more of himself. Thoril reappeared; Kron was so engrossed in the story that he had not seen him leave. Thoril put his hand on Kron’s shoulder, smiled, and addressed Elkas, “We’re ready to move out. Sorry Kron, the stories will have to wait until nightfall.”
Over the next few days, Kron became good friends with Thoril and Elkas, asking about their various adventures across the land. For the most part they had worked as hired escorts for traveling merchants but by Kron’s reactions one would think they had slain dragons or toppled kingdoms. Out of all their stories, the person he seemed most interested in was The Librarian. Where did he come from? How old was he? Could have really banished the entire caravan to another plane?
Those questions and more were asked even as the group entered the Almraiven city gates. After a quick debriefing dividing of the remaining provisions, the caravan was disbanded and Kron stood on the busy market streets with Thoril and Elkas as his unofficial guides to the pleasures offered within the teeming city. Kron sampled many of the local delicacies as they made their way to a tavern near the docks that Thoril claimed had the best baked sea bass he had ever tasted. As they entered and took a seat, a woman approached Thoril and planted a kiss right on his lips. Kron turned a few shades of red in embarrassment, which caused Elkas to let out a laugh. “Kron, this is my sister Alugwen. She became betrothed to Thoril before we left three weeks ago.”
“It is a pleasure to meet such a fine lass, even one with less whiskers than a dwarven pup!” to which Thoril, Kron, and Elkas laughed heartily as Alugwen sized up the dwarf.
“It seems pups are all that come out of the dwarven lands these days,” she retorted and waved over the nearest server. “A round of drinks for these boys, they’ve traveled long just to get back to me.” The four drank, ate, and talked late into the night. Thoril decided to walk Alugwen home as Elkas helped Kron get setup with a room above the tavern. Elkas smiled and asked, “Kron, over the last few days you have soaked up our mundane stories as if we were great adventurers. I welcome the attention, but not once have you spoken as to why are were headed to Almraiven.” Kron completed his transaction with the tavern owner and stroked his beard thoughtfully. “You see Elkas, I have always wanted to travel, but the dwarves in my family are built for working the rock. Do not misunderstand me, much pleasure is to be gained from the work we do mining and forging great weapons. But after creating a perfect hammer, I can’t help to think of the goblin skulls it would crush or undead it would destroy, all the while I was still just stuck in my hole in the ground. I wanted to get out and see the world, meet the adventurers of the land. It was my time to seek out my own adventures.” Still smiling and doing so more now from the dwarf’s honestly, Elkas continued the line of questioning, “Why Almraiven?” Kron stretched his arms with a great yawn, smiled and answered, “Come tomorrow, I will show you. For now, I’m going to sleep.”
Elkas woke early the next morning interested to see what Kron had in store. He stopped by Thoril’s house on the way to the tavern and explained Kron’s story as was explained the night before. There was something more to this dwarf and the two humans were not about to miss out on an adventure. As they approached the tavern, they spotted Kron standing out on the front step tapping his foot in anticipation of their arrival. “Finally!” he said sarcastically. “Follow me; we’re headed to meet someone I have only heard of in stories from my father. Which way to the 9th dock?” Thoril smiled at the thought of another Thunderheart traipsing across the land much as they had found Kron almost a week ago. Still smiling, pointed in the direction Kron had requested, and the three of them started off down the road. Determined dwarf leading the way, followed by two adventurous humans, excited and filled with enthusiasm for what this day could bring.