A Pirate's Life
The Calderi call a small volcanic island their home. The volcano has been dormant since before the first planar travellers started arriving, and most of the island has been worn away leaving just the sunken caldera of a supervolcano. Through time and erosion the sea has eroded a path to the interior of the caldera creating a small cove on the interior of the caldera, a naturally defensible position. The Calderi faction named themselves after the caldera where they first settled.
The Calderi weren’t the first inhabitants of the caldera. Before the Calderi arrived a terrible volcanic dragon named Fraener called the caldera his home. His greed knew no bounds. He amassed a massive horde of treasure in the caldera attracting the attention of many would be treasure hunter. Fraener never found himself challenged by these treasure hunters and thieves. As he grew older Fraener became less and less concerned with these treasure hunters and became less proactive with defending his home.
Fraener’s hubris did not go unnoticed. A group of dwarves had heard tale of Fraener and his horde of treasure and sought to part the old fool from his gold. This dwarven company were mostly second generation in Aquos. They lived in a small desert island. The dwarves were not happy with their bit in life, they knew they were built for stonework, found living on the surface far to bright, and didn’t think much of aquatic life. The party consisted of four dwarves: Gebaf Witchslasher, Hedem Dragoncrusher, Rarek Wraithbreaker, and Ynak Doomcrusher.
Gebaf Witchslaher’s family was famous for having killed a terrible sea-witch who used created terrible storms across Aquos. The sea-witch, Vixtreen, had crafted a terrible sword capable of calling the wrath of the seas, Tidesbane. With this sword she threatened all sea-traffic and coastal settlements. Gebaf’s father, Todge, had against his dwarven nature taken a small skiff out to sea to end the witch’s life. The skiff was made of charred wood with black sails. Under the cover of night Todge snuck past Vixtreen’s servants and into her inner sanctum. Todge snuck up to the icy chamber where Vixtreen slept. Todge drew his sword and prepared to end Vixtreen’s life but was shocked to find her be empty.
“Dwarves aren’t known for their stealth, fool” Vixtreen hissed from behind him. Startled Todge spun around sword out, fatally slashing Vixtreen. With her last breaths Vixtreen cursed Todge and his family, the sea would never work for them, the wind would always be against them, the currents always pushing them away from their destination. Scared witless Todge grabbed the witch’s sword and made a speedy retreat.
Todge tried to return to his home, but he found that no matter what he tried the sea wouldn’t cooperate. He eventually made landfall on a small desert island where he settled and eventually met a dwarven woman, Liri, and had a son Gebaf. Todge never revealed what he’d down with the witch’s sword, and eventually died of old age.
Gebaf found that the witch’s curse was still strong and the sea would never co-operate with him. Gebaf was stuck on this desert island. He learned the way of the blade and became a capable swordsman. While helping his mother sort through his father’s old things Gebaf came across a chest with a false bottom. Gebaf pryed open the chest and found a beautiful azure blade upon picking up the blade he knew it to be Tidesbane. Gebaf found that while he wielded Tidesbane the sea obeyed his commands and he could perform acts that he could only explain as magic.
Hedem was a hot headed dwarf. Hedem was quick to anger, and quicker to crush her enemies under her hammer. Her parents died when she was young and she was raised by a clan of orcs until elves killed them all.
Alone and angry Hedem went from tavern to tavern picking fights and proving her strength. Until one day she met a red-scaled dragonborn. He’d spilled his drink on her and she invited him to settle their difference outside. The dragonborn accepted and led her to an alley. Hedem gripped her hammer and was getting ready to charge at the dragonborn when she felt his spell hit her, she felt very tired, and couldn’t help but pass out in the alley.
When she awoke Hedem found herself in an arena with a young red dragon snarling at her from across the arena. She heard the dragonborn’s voice booming through some form of magically augmentation.
“Ladies and gentlemen you’re in for a treat, this fiery dwarf will do battle with a red dragon. Place your bets.”
Angry Hedem found herself ready for battle. She fought hard and killed the red dragon with little issue. A spell was casually thrown her way to put her back to sleep. However, Hedem was too angry to pay it any heed. She bashed the portcullis the dragon had been released from until it gave way, she found four more dragons lined up and ready for battle along with several dragonborn handlers. Before she even knew what she was doing she’d killed all the dragons and handlers. Everyone she encountered she slew until she found the box where the dragonborn she’d challenged at the bar was holed up. Filled with rage she beat him until his bones were dust. Eventually she gave into exhaustion and collapsed.
Hedem found herself awoken with a start. Some of the local guards were investigating missing people and had traced them back to a warehouse, the warehouse where she’d been brought to fight in. Every muscle in her body ached, she was covered in blood, and had a lot of explaining to do. The guards eventually confirmed her story and let her go. She came to learn that she’d killed over 200 people that night, mostly dragonborn, earning herself the name Dragoncrusher.
Through her continued tavern hopping Hedem eventually met up with the other four dwarves and agreed to lend her hammer to the cause.
Rarek Wraithbreaker was a cleric for an older faction known as the Legion of Pelor. The tower made it their mission in life to smite the undead in the name of Pelor. The faction had found an island where the a follower of Vecna, Gleblax, had set up and was raising armies of the undead. Rarek was charged with being a distraction. He was to lead a small party to the island and gain the attention of the undead armies while another party was to sneak onto the island and assassinate Gleblax. The entire faction had parts to play, fighting the army on many fronts. The stage was set for a great battle.
Rarek, led his party into position and fought wave upon wave of zombie and skeleton. Rarek was hardly able to keep up with healing his party. Eventually greater undead started reinforcing the ranks. Rarek found himself well beyond his abilities, he tried to get his party to fall back, but found his decision too late. His four comrades had been slain by wraiths. Rarek found himself fighting for his life, he found strength inside himself that he hadn’t previously known and managed to kill all of the wraiths.
Rarek was sure he was done for as two zombie hulks approached. However, the collapsed in front of him. The assassins must have succeeded. As the adrenaline ebbed Rarek collapsed.Rarek awoke in a stone structure. The Legion were using Glebax’s tower to regroup. Rarek found that only three had survived the assault: one of the assassin’s a halfling named Vilas Bitterroot, one of the other distractions a human mage Lovis Heartbloom, and himself. They made the decision to disband the Legion and go their separate ways. Rarek decided to seek out other dwarves on Aquos.
Ynak Doomcrusher was a mage on a distant plane, he primarily studied nethermancy. He was the advisor to a king’s army. They found themselves under the attack from denizens of the abyss. Ynak was confident that he could open a portal to bring the battle to the abyss. He gathered a battalion and drew his circle. He went forth through first and realized something had gone wrong, he wasn’t in the dark pits of the abyss he was standing on the shore of an island. He quickly dismissed his portal not wishing for the battalion to follow him through to this unknown land. Nobody else made it through and in the coming days Ynak found himself unable to return. Depressed he turned to drink, until a heard three other dwarves planning an assault on a dragon.
Ynak brought experience to the table. Together the crafted a daring plan. Rarek and Hedem sailed quietly to the far side of the caldera and climbed up the caldera and waited for the signal. Ynak created a teleportation circle on a raft and Gebaf used Tidesbane to manoeuvre the raft into the caldera. Rarek and Hedem made battle with Fraener while Gebaf manoeuvred the raft into position. Once into position Gebaf and Ynak carried the raft into the far reaches of the Caldera and teleported Hedem and Rarek to themselves.
Puzzled and injured Fraener returned to his home and started recuperating. While he rested the four dwarves prepared. Ynak readied his spells, Rarek prayed for their success, Hedem grew angrier and angrier, and Gebaf used Tidesbane to call a might storm down on the caldera. The storm drove Fraener deep into the caldera and covered the dwarves movement. The dwarves cornered Fraener and fought him where his flight would not be an advantage. The battle wore on for hours with the dwarves grew weary.
Gebaf was the first to fall. As Tidesbane fell from his hand the storm grew out of control, threatening both dwarf and dragon alike. Hedem was washed away in the storm and never seen again. Ynak desperately tried to fight off the dragon but was caught in an explosion let out from Fraener and was killed. It was down to Rarek and Fraener as the cavern filled with water. Rarek felt as if a divine entity guided his each blow. Finally as the storm was starting to ebb Rarek landed the killing blow.
Exhausted Rarek took in the victory. Three of his comrades dead their bodies washed away by the sea. Most of the treasure horde also washed away by the sea, and a flooded cavern. Tidesbane was nowhere to be seen. He had his victory although bittersweet.
Rarek sent out a call to all dwarves. He declared that the Caldera would be the home of all dwarves. Eventually a great city arose with merchants and traders occupying the surface of the Caldera, with the working classes occupying the area underneath. The readily accessible stone and minerals caused the Calderi one of the richest and most influential factions.
Rarek went on to die childless of old age. However, on the day of his death the merchants commissioned great statues of the four dwarfs who made their civilization possible to oversee the cove inside the Caldera. To this day the four dwarves still oversee the Calderi civilization.