Hill Haven Mercenaries
The Hill Haven Mercenaries were a party of adventurers active in the nation of Acturia from 973-976 AF. In their short time on Erathon, they accomplished much, and were a powerful force to be reckoned with by all accounts. The group never officially joined the Adventurer’s Fraternity, nor affiliated itself with any other order. They were responsible for the founding of the mining town of Hill Haven, the coastal city Jade Port, and the death of Dribrow the Dark. Although the group was originally comprised of four members (Arathos, Lia, Klugg, and Jakari), the group later worked with Darren Oakenhart, a noted priest of Iam. Currently, the group is considered disbanded, as all but two (one if Darren is not included among their number) are missing, presumed dead.
No one quite remembers how the mercenaries got their start working together, and the four rarely spoke of their early days. What is known, is that Lia, Klugg, and Jakari were the original three, and that they were hired by the dwarf Erberk Ungart to clear out his mines of an orc and goblin infestation. They aided the dwarf’s chief security officer, Arathos, in doing so. Impressed by his ability in battle, the Mercenaries offered him a chance to go with them and seek glory and power. Arathos agreed, and the group was complete.
The Mercenaries were exploring a tunnel network that was believed to hold the treasure hoard of a dragon, and discovered iron and silver veins in the rock. After they had defeated the dragon (a young one by dragon standards), and cleared out the upper levels of the cave network, they reworked the entrance to the caves as a stronghold that controlled the mines. They named their stronghold Hill Haven. It was located on a mountain pass that crossed the Great Imperial Mountains, and between its prime location and the wealth of its mines, it took only a few years for the isolated stronghold to become a true mining town. The original hold is still in Hill Haven, allegedly with the undisturbed rooms of the three missing members left just as they were the last time the Mercenaries were together.
The allure of pirate gold and treasure lost in the jungles eventually lured the Mercenaries to the Kerish Isles and the failing town of Jade Port, an Acturian city that was quickly being lost to piracy and incursions from the jungle’s hostile inhabitants. The Mercenaries eventually defeated the pirates that plagued the western coasts of the Isles, with Jakari claiming a ship for himself in the process. Arathos, meanwhile, seized control of the town and began rebuilding and defending it. The newfound security and generous pay he offered quickly attracted colonists from the mainland, leading to renewed prosperity and trade for the township.
It is not entirely certain who or what Dribrow the Dark was, but what was certain is that he was an entity of great malice and evil, whose plots were convoluted and sinister. According to ancient prophecies held by the church of Iam, Dribrow was a champion of evil who had turned on the evil gods with the intent of becoming more powerful than even they were, and using his power to rule over the deities of Erathon as kings do over lesser men. It was said that a single chosen warrior would be found that would inevitably defeat Dribrow, one who would, by some miracle, be utterly impossible for him to slay. It is not certain which of the Mercenaries was this champion, for all survived the encounter with him and none spoke of who killed Dribrow. Regardless of how it happened, the defeat of this great menace was a feat which deeply affected the Mercenaries. Few people knew of Dribrow’s existence, so for all their great efforts the Mercenaries gained little fame outside of the church for what they had done. In the year following Dribrow’s death, the Mercenaries gradually went their separate ways.
The fate of the Mercenaries is unknown, save for one. Klugg, the great half-orc barbarian was last seen wandering off from Hill Haven into the woods. Occasionally there are reports from woodsmen or rangers that he has been spotted, but few are reliable and none ever manage to contact the half-orc himself. Lia, the dragon-blooded elf sorceress, simply teleported away one day after brooding for weeks after the death of Dribrow. Some high elves claim that they know of her present whereabouts, but they refuse to divulge them. Jakari left for Eptis and lived there for a time. A woman that may have been his lover during his stay in the city claimed that he fell direly ill at one point, and left one night with a fever and chills, and never returned. Arathos, having made any attempts at hiding himself impossible, turned himself in to the Emperor to answer for the charges against his order, the Eythos Knights. Despite the Emperor’s anger with him and the charges against him, he was pardoned and the Knights cleared of all blame and reinstated, with Arathos as their leader. He currently serves as Lord Captain of the Eythos Knights and as the Emperor’s personal champion. To this day he insists that the other three are alive, but he does not know where they are. He keeps their rooms ready at Hill Haven, for the day when they return.
In their few short years of work, the Mercenaries collectively left a tremendous mark on Acturia, and sages and scholars still are finding evidence of their doings. In just four years they managed to achieve incredible feats of heroism and battle, and acquire astounding relics and wealth. They have become the poster children of the glories one can find in the Adventurer’s Life and (fittingly enough, one would say), the dangers that it can bring.