Deeds and Danger 3: The Fourth Dawn
The Shard of Xarthas
The Vessel stands just under five feet tall, and is sturdy and strong as any Dwarf in excellent physical condition. He wears heavy armor, carries a large kite shield, has a long sword sheathed at his waist and a Maul strapped to his back. A helmet and thick red bandanna come down over his brow to hide The Shard of Xarthas embedded in the Vessel’s forehead. Emerging from his backpack is the grip of another, broken longsword, the remains of his old form. Xarthas is not used to having a body with which to express himself, and tends to speak dramatically while neglecting entirely to gesticulate or even make appropriate facial expressions. Unless he is surprised or especially emotional, the Vessel’s is face is normally fixed in a vaguely stern resting position. At times he is so still he seems to be carved from rock, even as his voice rings loudly. The Vessel has a golden blonde beard and blue eyes. Otherwise, he appears to be a young Dwarven man of military stock.
At a glance, the Dwarf that calls himself The Shard of Xarthas (more of a title than a name) appears to be an ordinary soldier. But if you ask him, he will gladly tell you he is something much stranger. Underneath his helmet and a heavy cloth bandanna, a large shard of metal shrapnel juts from his brow. He claims the body he inhabits is not truly himself, but rather an unfortunate “vessel” under his control, which he steers as one would a ship. Not so long ago he had no such form of flesh. He was an intelligent, magical sword, passed from hand to hand, serving as both trusted weapon and trusted council to heroes and adventurers beyond counting. Before this he says he can vaguely remember being a warrior of flesh and blood who took it upon himself to save his people from the malign will of an evil sorceress, wielding a blade of masterwork Dwarven make. But he failed in his quest, instead having his essence trapped within the sword by one of the foul witch’s curses. Yet, this memory is so faint, Xarthas admits it may have actually happened to someone else. He is not precisely certain how he came to be.
Xarthas helped turn many ordinary men and women into heroes of renown, and in doing so hoped to make up for failing his land and people during his life of flesh. He was long successful. But eventually, the inevitable occurred. He was discovered by Dwarven tradesmen who, in the service of the king, took Xarthas to join his vast hoards of Dwarven
artifacts in an underground vault. There he remained for a time beyond counting, alone in the dark with only mindless, silent treasures for company , and the periodic chatter of passing guards; until an ingenious thief sought to plunder the king’s riches. A lone, brave Dwarven guardsman attempted to apprehend the thief, giving chase through the vaults. The guard was nearly successful, but just when the he thought he had the thief cornered, the thief picked up and hurled the nearby Xarthas, in desperation. The blade connected with the guardsman, striking him in the head and snapping off at the tip. Everything briefly went black, and when Xarthas awoke a moment later he realized, to his shock, he was occupying the guard’s body. The remainder of the sword that was his prison for ages laid at his feet.
Xarthas was not interested in learning what the Dwarves would do with him once they determined what had happened. He adjusted to controlling a fleshy body again as best as possible, picked up the broken remains of himself from the ground, and managed to leave the vaults without generating sufficient suspicion from others to warrant detaining him. He sensed nothing of the guard’s mind, and Xarthas could only guess that his consciousness had left his body for good. By freak and tragic accident, it seemed Xarthas had been bestowed a new body. Now, formally referring to himself as The Shard of Xarthas, he says he is determined to become a hero again in his own right, starting by avenging the the soul of Vessel wrongfully destroyed by the thief who stole him from The Dwarf King’s vault.
But then again, he could just be a crazed Dwarf with severe neurological damage.
Heroes’ Blade: 5
As an intelligent sword, Xarthas has great experience adventuring with many brave men and women. Though his memory is at times fuzzy, his experience can be called upon to inspire or guide others in difficult situations, earn trust and respect, or recall knowledge of lore and history.
Sturdy Vessel: 3
Xarthas has a tenuous connection to the Dwarven body he calls the Vessel, and though it comes at the cost of grace and agility, Xarthas can push it farther than most can with their own bodies to accomplish freakish feats of strength or endurance. Don’t challenge him to contests lIke drinking or holding breath! He also has a great poker face.