What follows is a translation of the first
fragment from a series of vellum scrolls found in 3 Alabaster
jars sealed in a cave. The discoverer was a nomad wanderer
somewhere on the shores of Lake Vread in the Province of Elswyer.
I can neither vouch for nor deny its authenticity or veracity
- only that the scrolls, as such, DO exist. Read and judge
Baan Dar, The Legend... Thief, Warlock, ShadowMaster,
Ruthless Assassin, Undying Avenger, Dark God, Robber Baron,
MasterMind of Nefarious Plots. All these things and more are
the Legendary Baan Dar, he who is called The Bandit God. But
what is the Truth?
Baan Dar, The Man is a much more simple and
complex being. I pen this tale as I slowly die of old age
and a mortifying arrow wound. I cannot decide if the truth
will add to or subtract from the legend that is Baan Dar,
nor if the original Baan Dar would want the truth to be known.
Therefore, I will leave this tale hidden when I am done and
gone, and let Fate (which was ever Baan Dar's true master
and motivator) decide.
I was a child of 12 Seasons when I first met
Baan Dar. Orphan of a Slaver raid during one of the many inter-provincial
border wars. Living by my quick wits, nimble fingers, and
the grace of Lady Luck in the back alleys and byways of my
birth city. I had just "liberated" a loaf of bread
and a few small apples from a local street vendor in the Bazaar
on the edge of the city near the tumbled outer wall, and had
withdrawn down an ill-lit alley to feast on my bounty when
I was beset by an older band of my ilk. The older and lazier
variety which were want to engage in the easier and less dangerous
art of stealing from the stealers.
There were 5 of the bully boys who had decided
they were more deserving of my booty than I, and they were
beating me half to death with staves in between bites and
laughter at the time. Lying on the ground curled up into as
tight a ball as I could manage, trying to protect my head
and groin, I heard a quiet voice ask if they were not "more
suited to go down to the wharf and take food from your brother
rats, or would you care to try your tricks on game a bit more
your size and number?"
Since my "companions" had become
otherwise engaged with the newcomer and had for the nonce
ceased thumping, kicking and cuffing at me, I looked up to
see a dark shadow of boots, cloak, and chainmail hood leaning
against the wall at the end of the alleyway.
The others, being what they were, took this
as a challenge to their manhood - and easy prey to their superior
number with a promise of coin of the realm as added reward
(else the first part would have been overlooked). The leader
of my band of playmates suggested that the stranger take a
leap off the mentioned wharf unless he wished to join me there
when they were done with their evening meal.
Having drawn chuckles and courage from his
underlings, he then proceeded forward with staff at high port.
I'm not quite sure exactly what followed, but within a short
space of time, Lead Bully was lying in the dirt with a thrown
dagger in his chest, number two bully had lost three teeth
to a boot (I still carry them in a leather pouch as a keepsake),
and number three bully was brought short by his own staff
applied forcefully up between his toes (the two big ones!).
Bullies four and five thought better of the entertainment
and departed rapidly for parts unknown.
Baan Dar picked me up, dusted me off, and
dragged me round to a near tavern where we shared a meal and
a mug. I attempted to thank him for saving my life. How can
I ever repay this favor, I asked? His reply was short, to
the point, and has driven my actions in life ever since...
"THE PROPER WAY TO REPAY A FAVOR, IS
NOT TO - PASS IT ON INSTEAD."
Things having not progressed well along the
lines of health, wealth and welfare for me until that point
in my life came upon a sudden change that night. I later learned
(along with MANY other things) that Baan Dar had decided to
take a direct and immediate interest in me because my situation
reminded him very much of the bad start his own life had taken,
and the odds he had faced to survive it. On that night he
took me under his wing as a kind of apprentice. He saw to
it that I learned weaponcraft and stealth, that I learned
to read and write! He took me along when he traveled for the
next year. I served as messenger, valet, packmule, lookout,
cook - many things. I saw other towns, cities, races, provinces,
and broadened my view and knowledge of the world far beyond
belief. He taught me both morals and coldhearted ruthlessness
- and when and how to apply each as the ethics of the situation
At the end of the year, he gave me good dagger,
and decent horse, the 3 teeth, and leave (nay, Command) to
make my own way in the world from that day forward - but to
remember all I had been given, and to attempt to pass such
a gift to another when and where I should find need and opportunity.
That I have done, several times... as I assume he has also,
and as I hope my various charges have after me (and they theirs).
Thus has the Legendary Baan Dar been seen
time and again in various lands of our world at numerous and
the same times in days of need. Thus also is the description
so very hard to obtain and track - for in truth, there have
been, and continue to be, many Baan Dars in the world. The
most valuable lesson he ever taught me was that "for
Evil to triumph required not so much that many bad men to
do wrong, as for One good man to fail to do what was right."
We only hope that our combined and concatenated efforts have
produced enough single men and women that will not fail to
do the right thing, regardless of current local, morals, laws,
religion, creed, or lure of coin of the realm.
The Legend grows still. Of the Dark Avenging
Blade on the Wings of Night that make no sound. The Patron
Saint of the Lone Wolf. The Thousand Eyes and Ears, the Hundred
Arms direspectful of Time or Distance. Undying, Master of
Disguise, Man of a Thousand Faces, Shapes and Sizes, Gentle,
Rough-Edged, Gay, Stern. All the Mystery of the "Man
Unknown and Undying"... not a single man nor God at all,
but a string of seeds sown upon the land and left to grow
into a forest. How to reconcile this truth with the tales
of cruelty and the gangs of "Baan Dars" or "Bandits"?
Some are jealous Thieves who take the name only for the cloak
of mystery and hope of hiding in it's Shadow. Others are tales
twisted to reverse by those justly served by Baan Dar's unfettered
by technicalities of law and custom. Some are backsliders
drawn of the true path by temptation and returning to their
old ways. Many are the things that any one Baan Dar cannot
answer for, as others did the deeds in the same name. Some
are tales of fishwives, made up to scare the child into doing
what is wanted. Some are left as part of the "Mystery"
that is both cloak and shield to the hidden purposes - a case
where the fear of the tale serves to save the need of arms
But, by and large, the true Baan Dar is a
string of beings taught to act upon what they believe in,
and stand to take the yoke of needed action upon their own
Don't fight if you can avoid blood or war,
But if you must make War, do so with all your Heart and Might.
Leave it at Threats if Threats be enough - but never make
threats you are unwilling to carry to conclusion if required.
Use all the arts at hand. But ever keep the true purpose in
mind. Stand Tall, but never forget how to bend your knee to
The rest of the scrolls are tales and tellings of various
parts of the Legend, some as passed from Bard to Bard, some
as the true tales underlying the Ballads. These fragments
are still to be translated and debated. This fragment, however,
contains the kernel of the Revelation and the true source
of the questions surrounding the Baan Dar Legend. What Say
You, Reader? For myself, I do not know... but God or unrelated
string of linked souls as laid out here... I do know that
Baan Dar IS a force in our Land and Lives, and one that gives
Hope to many that need it, and pause to many I despise.
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