Folkloric Fridays, Part III: Baldric Isley, Chosen of the Black God

Baldric Isley, chosen of the Black God.  Baldric Isley was a seasoned tracker and mountaineer from Blacknall who was called to aid the Black God in a hunt par-force in the early second century; the spirit in question had been wandering for nigh on two centuries, and the god judged it well past time to bring it in for its final visit.  The hunting party tracked the spirit from Xiros through western Stemma, over the Kordiso River into Gavell, up through what is now Caxton into Blacknall, across the contested area of the Paranomos between Braelin and Seren’s northern border, and finally throughout Seren in a grueling ten-year chase.  By the time the party found itself in the dense and increasingly dangerous jungle-wilderness of Seren’s far east, Isley had died three times and was down to his final life stone.  Finally, they managed to trap the errant spirit; the Black God, with the spirit in tow, gave a small nod of thanks and disappeared through a gate into its realm, leaving the surviving members of the hunting party stranded in the jungle.  Isely, taking charge, was able to lead the entire party out through the jungle unscathed, and then they all set off across the inhospitable terrain of Seren.

Over two years’ time of careful travel, the party managed to get within sight of the Braelin/Seren border, when they were suddenly overtaken by a group of raiders.  Thinking fast, Isley split the group into three and sent them off in different directions, so that the raiders would not capture all of them.  Unluckily for Isley and his companions, they were the group that the raiders decided to chase; they were captured and hauled to Belváros, where the women were sold into slavery and Isley and his friend were pressed into service as thysia.  Although his friend quickly perished in these shows, Isley managed to survive without any loss of life for five years, and then as a trainer for two more years, before he was released with honor and to great acclaim.

The emperor of Seren, one of his biggest fans, offered him a title and a position at the Serenite court, but Isley declined; furious, the emperor took him prisoner and held him at court anyway, as a personal attendant and jester of sorts.  Within a year, Isley arranged to escape in the hold of a merchant ship that was headed for Revma, but it wrecked in a storm and he washed ashore on Caprina.  Narrowly avoiding the savage Caprinan warriors, he built a raft and attempted to sail across the strait to Braelin.  The strong currents of those waters, however, pulled him off-course and he landed in Southlight rather than Stemma.  After working for a time in a small port-city, he saved up enough coin to travel home, but just as he came within sight of his village in Blacknall, a blizzard came up.  His wife Natascha found him seven days later, frozen to death just beyond their humble cabin’s front door.