very long backstory

Bolas
Human Wizard (conjurer)
Chaotic Neutral
Servant of Brisane

Bolas is a middle aged Ulfen Wizard, from Brinewall, an important port city in North Eastern Varisia. Bolas appears to be 36 years old, however he was born 46 years ago in 4662. He was born Boric Eastcliff, to a local serving girl called Mary Eastcliff. His father was Baron Lord Ebesen Evast Chadak III. The Baron was known for his adventures with local staff, and it is quite likely that Boric has other half brothers or sisters. Since the Baron was married to the Lady Cornelia at the time of his birth, and already had a son by her called Eric, in the normal course of events Boric would have remained illegitimate, and probably grown up as a servant or possibly a local tradesman.

Fate however decreed that Boric was to be acknowledged as a son of the Baron. On the night of Boric’s 1st birthday, a massive storm struck Brinewall. Torrential rain, hurricane winds, and massive lightening bolts drove a path of destruction through the town. Among the many buildings damaged or destroyed by storm was the Red Lion tavern, where Mary worked. Lightening struck the roof, setting the building on fire, and burning it to the ground. Mary perished in the inferno, along with many others, but she managed to wrap Boric in a blanket, and throw him out of a window before she died. He survived uninjured. Another building struck by the lightening was the Barons castle, the turret in which he was sleeping, with his wife, disintegrated from a massive bolt of energy from the raging storm. The Lady Cornelia was crushed in the falling rubble, however the Baron survived.

Varisia was a turbulent land at the time, King Ioson only recently taking control of Riddleport, one of the three city-states of Varisia, by conquest. The Baron gaining his power and authority from the support he gave Ioson during the struggle for power. In such times, with the consolidation of power, it was not unusual for many sons and daughters to die early and local people were nervous about having only a single son between them a potentially devastating power struggle over succession for the barony. In the interest of calming the local people, the Baron took the step of acknowledging an illegitimate son; so that there would be a clear heir were Eric to die early. In the fullness of time the Baron expected to marry again, and so produce another son, but at the time this step appeared prudent.

The Baron was probably aware of most, if not all, of his illegitimate children, and indeed local rumour could have named a half dozen, but he chose Boric, since he was both the youngest, and now an “orphan”. Partly this might have been out of kindness, but it is more likely that he thought that there would be fewer complications without a mother in the background to worry about. Therefore, some two months after the great storm, Boric was formally adopted into the Baron’s family. Acknowledging an illegitimate child was not unheard of, and the situation was not unique. Such a child, adopted to protect a succession, was traditionally known as a “grey prince”. As Boric would quickly come to realise as a child, grey princes did not often survive long if the legitimate eldest son came to power. Court politics meant that such a potential rallying point for disgruntled nobles would be seen as a threat, and a potential legitimate rival, and would usually disappear, permanently, shortly after the eldest son assumed his office.

The next 16 years were uneventful on a grand scale, but tense. During this time the Baron successfully worked to consolidate his power, and Ioson expanded his rule further with conquest and marriage, Riddleport increased in standing between the three city states. Constant fighting took place, both across the boarder to the Land of the Linnorm Kings, and occasional skirmishes with Magnimar, and less frequently with Korvosa. Tales of potential conquest from Irrisen also served to keep tensions high, though no attack came from this direction.

The Baron never remarried, so a new legitimate second heir never appeared. With Eric growing strong and healthy in his fathers mould, the need for a “backup” heir was seen to be less. Suspicions grew, factions away from the centre of power saw Boric as a potential asset, for use in their continuous power struggles with the Baron and the King, and factions loyal to the Baron saw Boric as a threat, for exactly the same reason. Eric was always distant and cold to Boric, seeing him directly as a threat both for his father’s affection, and for future power. As each year passed, Eric appeared to feel more keenly the potential dagger between his ribs that separated Boric from inheriting the barony, and Boric senses more keenly his likely fate once the Baron died. Boric came to see this time as one of chaos, and change, the constant bickering over power, the squabbles and struggles between the different factions, the eternal mistrust and fear, all meant that Boric became familiar with this type of politics, and became aware of the motives of those around him (he was never interested in solving these issues, only understanding peoples motives – Boric learns Sense Motive here).

Despite the political chaos within the Barony however, Boric was treated exactly as a potential ruler, he received a good education, training in courtly duties, in fencing and riding. He spent time learning about Varisia, and the barony of Brinewall, and he made friends and enemies with other children as any young boy would. Never friendly, over the years Boric and Eric settled into an uneasy rivalry and general dislike. Ultimately this would likely have resulted in bloodshed either as civil war, or a quiet duel in a dark corner, but once more, fate decided to intervene in the path of Boric’s life.

On the morning of his 17th birthday, Boric chose to go away from the harbour, north, along the coast line. He wanted to get away from the city for a little while, and too clear his head. As he threw stones into the cold grey sea, without warning a great storm swept in from the north, appearing more quickly that he thought could be possible. Rain, thunder, lightening, all smashed down around him. The cold rain and the terrible bolts of lightening were genuine threats to the young boy, so in desperation he hunted along the shore side for some shelter. A small cave presented itself as the best place to hide. He huddled within the cave, watching for the storm to pass by. To his amazement he saw a figure outlined against the clouds, apparently riding the very storm itself, and this figure was coming towards him. As he stared in amazement, he saw the strange figure wave a staff at him. Magic flared, and blackness descended.

Boric awoke in a strange stone tower. Made of smooth stone, with no seams or cracks, Boric assumed that it was constructed with magic. Wandering around, Boric found he was all alone, though the tower was large, with many rooms. Hunger drove him to find food, and in a well stocked kitchen, he found what he needed. He also found the door outside, and found that he was on a cold, windswept island, quite small, and very barren. Across the sea he could just make out a number of other small islands. He guessed that this was at the end of a small chain of islands, and the cold stormy weather suggested that he was probably somewhere in the Steaming Sea, possibly near the Mordent Spire. He continued to explore, however he soon found that the tower, and the damp rocks of the small island were all that there was. Eventually becoming tired, he found one of the beds, and slept.

He was woken early in the morning by a rough, weather beaten old man, wrapped in a torn cloak, and carrying a driftwood staff. “You must study” was all that he said. Boric asked questions, shouted, and threw things. The old man ignored him, and with surprising strength and agility dragged him to the top of the tower, where there was a large study. Eventually calming down, and realising that there was little that he could do about the situation, Boric eventually looked at the books. Books of magic, of history, books about chaos and gods littered the room. The old man appeared to have a large library of many strange subjects. (Boric learned the ancient language of Thassilon, and the feat Spell Focus (Conjuration))

Thus began a strange, five year, apprenticeship to the old man. It was nearly 2 years before he even knew his name, which turned out to be Winlow. Winlow had an odd accent, as if he never really mastered common, and he spoke Skald very poorly as well. Boric was unable to determine where Winlow came from, however with pale skin, and pale hair, Boric assumed he was from some northern part of Aviston. After nearly 3 years in the tower,

Boric had mastered many of the things that Winlow wanted to teach him. The crazy old man had awakened magic power in the young man, teaching him to control the wind, storms, and lightening. Initially studying under duress, Boric became fascinated by the power of magic being shown to him, and he studied relentlessly. It was during this time that Boric realised that Winlow was a follower of a deity that Winlow called Brisane. Apparently Brisane was some ancient god of chaos, randomness, change, storms, and the sea.

Boric learned from Winlow that Brisane had no interest in war, or destruction directly, only for the chaos and change that they bring. Brisane also had no interest in good, or in evil, and despite having randomness in his portfolio was no friend to gamblers, or rogues. Brisane apparently went in the guise of an old traveller, bringing change, strange events, and chaos with him as he went. Boric had never heard of Brisane before, and Winlow did not know of any churches or organisation associated with his deity. In fact Winlow knew no other followers other than himself. It was also during this time that Boric began to realise that he too wished to follow this strange god. His apprenticeship ended as abruptly as it began. On one winter’s night, some five years after his arrival on the island, another great storm arose.

Boric realised that Winlow was experimenting with some new spell, seeking ever more power over the winds, rain, and lightening. The storm seamed to build in power, moment by moment, and with his new understanding of magic, and the fabric of reality, Boric felt that the storm was being summoned from across different planes of existence. A chaos storm! In the previous spells, the tower that they lived in appeared unaffected, even by the strongest winds. But now it was shaking, the stone itself appeared to be warping, and twisting under the power of chaos, summoned by Winlow. The primal power of chaos was dissolving the tower, and even surrounding reality, lightening bolts, and rain, were coming through the walls of the tower. Both impressed, and concerned for his life, Boric attempted the teleport spell that he had been studying recently. Even as he cast the teleport spell, Boric knew the risks of trying these types of magic with so much raw chaos around him. As the world faded from view, and the spell took hold, Boric saw a blizzard of hail and lightening strike the tower. The magic stones that made up the tower were disintegrated and blown apart. He saw the crazy old man hopping about, laughing, and cackling with glee, seemingly unaffected by it all. Winlow looked almost as if he was waving goodbye to Boric, and grinning, then the world faded from view.

Boric appeared, weakened by the rough teleport, in another storm. This was a sandstorm, sand flung on dry air into eyes and mouth, lightening no less dangerous for coming from dry air onto dry land. Boric raised magic defences against the wind and blown sand, and waited out the storm beneath a rock overhang. When the storm cleared he looked about, to determine his location, which was clearly not Varisia. After searching about he was able to locate a wagon trail, and he followed this north for some time. Eventually he found himself outside the fortified garrison city of Omash, in the Kingdom of Qadira. He knew nothing of Qadira, but found that the people spoke Common and did not appear immediately hostile. From the looks that he received, and the fact that he saw no others, he assumed that pale skinned people were not common in this land of olive skins and dark hair.

In Qadira Bolas found a confused country, unsure of its place in the world. The Satrap Kathis IV ruled the land in his old age, building ever greater armies to defend the kingdom from Taldor, to the north. The last war with Taldor was nearly 600 years ago, but for all that time the boarder between the two countries remained uneasy, with constant skirmishes. The sea coast was also bitterly contested, merchant traders from both Qadira and Taldor continually faced attack by fleets of pirates taking advantage of the constant distrust and enmity of the two nations, neither able to effectively deal with pirates when they are unable to cooperate, pirates fleeing from one countries territorial water are as often defended by the neighbouring navy as attacked.

In this atmosphere of constant distrust and petty skirmishing Bolas found a home in the mercenary company of “Lord” Hawkness. The Hawk’s Talons hired themselves out to the highest bidder in the constant little fights at the edges of the Kingdom. Much of the land was frontier, petty bandit lords, clans of orcs and goblins, raiding forces from other countries, all kept things busy and dangerous. Bolas decided to forgo the name of Boric, and took instead the name Javier Marcal, claiming to be a wanderer from Brevoy, far to the north, near the Lake of Mists and Veils. Few had ever met a northerner, never mind someone from Brevoy, so he was unchallenged. Bolas was never certain why he decided to give up his birth name, however his instinct said that this was the correct thing to do, and under Winlow he had learned to trust and follow his instincts. Lord Hawkness found Bolas’s abilities with magic, particularly control over the weather and the forces of lightening to be of constant value in his mercenary company, and the young mage rose quickly in the ranks, eventually becoming on of the company commanders, controlling a small group of lesser mages. The constant change in direction for each new mercenary contract suited Bolas, and the chaotic fighting in random little battles, never against the same enemy were exactly the things he found he enjoyed. Bolas found that he cared little for the nature of any contract, and even less for the petty motives of who ever was paying, he cared only that there was chaos (Boric learned the Orc language at this time, and the Immediate Magic feat).

Over time the company took dozens of contracts, and found that each new contract was slowly taking them north. First in Qadira, then fighting in skirmishes across the Qadira and Taldor frontier, then in squabbles between competing baronies in Taldor, then skirmishes across the Taldor and Galt boarder. In Galt there was a constant need for the services of Hawk’s Talons, which was gaining fame as a mercenary company of great ability, able to help in any battle with any foe, and absolutely loyal to its current employer. Bolas came to realise that good and evil were not relevant, only change and chaos. Good and Evil, in their eternal struggle, created chaos. Good, he found, paid less, but you were always more certain of actually getting paid, evil often found “convenient” methods of avoiding payment for mercenary services, up to and including betrayal and ambushes. Bolas found his ability to see and understand the motives of others of great value, and he became a trusted advisor to Lord Hawkness in his negotiations for contracts.

In the summer, some five years after arriving in Qadira, Bolas found himself fighting in the River Kingdoms. A country of marshes, lush farmland, and forests, with thousands and thousands of miles of flowing rivers. The River Kingdoms was a land of ever increasing conflict. Hundreds of petty bandits setup small fiefdoms, most lasting only a year of two, before some new bandit overthrows it, warfare was constant. With no government, no rulers, and constant fighting, only the strong survived, Barons rose and fell on a regular basis. Lord Hawkness found that in the River Kingdoms he possessed by far the most experienced and capable fighting force. At first content with taking pay from the bandits squabbling over the kingdom, over time Lord Hawkness found himself wanting to create something permanent. Like many who came to the River Kingdoms he found a desire to carve out a land of his own. Taking his mercenary force Lord Hawkness cleared his last contract, and took no new ones. He then took about claiming territory as his own, attacking and defeating a number of the local bandit lords. Ironically enough, Lord Hawkness found himself controlling a significant amount of land on the boarder with Brevoy. Lord Hawkness then settled down to consolidate his power, using his negotiating skills, and the hardened troops under his command to keep the many other bandit lords fragmented, so that they would not unite against him. Lord Hawkness had no interest in conquering the whole country. He conquered, and then held a territory that grew into six cities of medium to large size in the north of the River Kingdoms. The “Land under the Hawk’s Talons” became semi-peaceful and stable. Lord Hawkness found himself to be a capable administrator, with an iron fist when needed. Bolas however found himself more and more disenchanted. The Hawk’s Talons were settling down into a local militia, their job now to keep the peace and patrol boarders, and this Bolas did not enjoy.

Three years after first arriving in the River Kingdoms, in conversation with Lord Hawkness about his future role in the small little empire that Lord Hawkness was building, an enormous storm began to build over Talos, the city that Lord Hawkness had taken as his capital. As the storm increased in power and fury, Bolas realised that his time with Lord Hawkness was over. Although the two were firm friends, and shared many interests, Bolas knew that he was now on a different path. Promising to return if needed, Bolas took his leave, walking north out of the city, across the boarder into Brevoy.

Brevoy turned out to be yet another kingdom of strife and trouble. The end of a long line of rulers of this land had left a power vacuum, where two formally separate regions were now vying for control. Bolas wandered around Brevoy for a couple of months, and found little to interest him. His now powerful abilities with magic kept him quite safe from all threats, and he found no challenges worthy of this involvement. Repeating his role as a mercenary, or a local conqueror, felt too ordered. Bolas therefore began to retrace his steps south. He intended to head west, thinking about returning to Varisia, to see how his father was doing, but for some reason, at each choice offered in his road, he found himself heading south. After some months, he arrived in Cassomir, and here he took passage on a ship to the Isle of Kortos. During his journey he had heard about the world city, Absalom, and had decided to see this city, and to study for a while at Arcanamirum. He traded some of his spells of weather control, and offered to teach about battle magic in order to learn about the abilities of the mages of Absalom. It took him only a few months to master the Arcane Duelling abilities of these mages, and he found the environment of Arcanamirum to be tediously dull. He took passage on a ship to Totra, in Osirion, his first journey to the continent of Garund. After a stormy crossing he stopped in a small tavern, resting up and trying the local fire water. Some hours later, very drunk, he staggered out of the tavern and onto the street of Totra. To his great surprise he was immediately set upon by a press gang, and in his drunken state was knocked out and captured. When he awoke he found that the press gang was collecting slaves to crew the Osirion warships, in this case, “The Veiled Lady”. The people who had captured him now wanted him as a slave rower on board one of navy ships.

Awake, and now sober, Boric found a huge well of anger opening up at these people who wanted to take his freedom and his chaos away from him. Holding onto ever bit of patience that he had, he waited for the ship to take to sea, and once away from the shore, a single Cloudkill served to sterilise the whole ship. The only survivors other than Bolas were a man and a woman in the crows nest. Even as he was casting the spell to destroy them, he realised that they looked nothing like the Osirions who had tried to enslave him. He spared their lives. The woman was a Mwangi tribeswoman called Razor Ocota, and the man was Naffer Vosk, from Absalom. They had also been slaves. “I find myself Captain of a ship without a crew” said Bolas. His two new crew members helped him to throw the corpses off the ship. With only a few hours as a slave, Bolas had found something he hated with a passion he did not realise was possible, a hatred of slavery and slavers. In this he had something in common with both Razor and Naffer. With Razor, Bolas would form a life-long friendship, with Naffer, an understanding, however over the years they would part, having found themselves with differences over their approach to life. Bolas also found that he nurtured a hatred of Osirion, and its entire people.

Razor suggested that they find some way to get to Okeno in Katapesh, where they would be able to offer escaped slaves a chance to get away, by serving on the ship. Bolas had a different idea. A direct raid on the slave markets of Okeno, and a role in the ships crew to all that wanted it, a safe passage somewhere without slavery for all the others. Naffer was sceptical, but Razor readily agreed.

Bolas used his magic arts to safely propel the ship, and ensure that they had good wind all the way. Even so, handling a ship designed for a crew of 20 with just 3 was a challenge. They only just made it to Okeno in one piece. They anchored off shore, down the coast from Okeno, and made their way into the city on foot, pretending to be normal visitors.

With a prearranged signal, Bolas unleashed magical hell on the slave markets, killing many of the slavers. In the confusion Razor and Naffer were able to free a huge number of slaves. Nearly 400 slaves made it out from the city, and got to the ship alive. The ship could easily handle that number of people, and they quickly made to open waters. From among the 400, Bolas and Razor were able to find a crew, many of the slaves having served at sea either as free people, or as slaves. After some discussion, it was agreed that the ship would make its way to Ostenso, in Andoran, a country which was known to be militantly hostile to the slave trade. Eventually they made landfall in Ostenso, and without ceremony Bolas let the former slaves ashore. He has also decided that this would not be his last visit to Ostenso with a ship full of freed slaves. While in harbour at Ostenso, Bolas changed the name of the ship from “The Veiled Lady” to “The Grey Prince”. Then he, Razor, Naffer, and 50 other sailors, made for open sea. They began immediate raids on any ships carrying slaves in the Inner Sea. Bolas became known as the Stormlord, for his fearsome use of storm magic in battles with other ships. He and the Grey Prince raided all along the Southern coast of the Inner Sea. They attacked and sunk ships from Rahadoum, Thuvia, Osirion, Katapesh, the Sodden Lands, and The Shackles. Though Bolas ensured that the Grey Prince was a particular scourge of Osirion and Katapesh. They acted as pirates, attacking and raiding any ship carrying one of these flags, or any ship involved in the slave trade. A price was put on the Stormlord’s head, and his name was known all along the Garund coast.

It was at this time, during a raid on a heavily armed warship flying the flag of Osirion that Bolas captured his most valuable cargo. The warship was sailing from a Thuvian port, and more heavily armed than usual. When Bolas took the ship he found it loaded with riches, gold, cloth, wine, gems, and other valuable trade goods. Also in the cargo hold was a heavily armoured and trapped chest, inside of which were 7 small vials, each holding a small amount of a golden liquid. Was this the fabled sun orchid elixir? Bolas immediately drank three of the vials, Razor drank two, and he gave the final two to Naffer Vosk. Bolas had no idea if Naffer drank his, and did not care either way. From the three vials of sun orchid elixir, Bolas gained an extension to his life of ten years. He never found more of the elixir, in future people buying the fabled drug did not transport it by sea, or did it using ships known to be safe from the Grey Prince.

His first crew of ex-slaves was quickly made rich from the merchant bounty that they captured, and over time this crew was replaced by newer freed slaves, given a chance to hurt the slave industry and those that supported it. Bolas enjoyed his reputation as a pirate, and came to know the pirate safe harbours, where to sell the stolen goods, how to deal with the rougher side of sea justice. They took control of other ships, until the Grey Prince was the flagship of a fleet of pirate ships, raiding up and down the coast. His fleet became known as the Grey Corsairs. The Grey Corsairs became famed for their actions, any ship from a country that legalised slavery, or any ship using a slave crew, was fair game. The fleet was particularly active around the Arch of Aroden, the shortest distance between Aviston and Garund. Although the Grey Corsairs had some effect on slavery across the whole world, their biggest success was in ensuring that no-one would ever take a ship with a slave crew through the Arch of Aroden. Many nations might risk slave ships at sea, the Grey Corsairs could not be everywhere and had limited numbers of ships, but it was universally acknowledged that taking a ship with slaves through the Arch of Aroden was suicide.

Naffer took over one of the ships of the Grey Corsair fleet, though Razor remained on the Grey Prince with Bolas. During all this time, they delivered hundreds and thousands of freed slaves to Ostenso. Andoran tolerated his piracy on the ships of slave nations, and Bolas ensured that his fleet left Andoran ships alone. After nearly three years on raiding the coast of Garund, and delivering slaves to Andoran, Bolas was approached by General Andira Marusek of the “Steel Falcons” arm of the “Eagle Knights of Andoran”. The Eagle Knights are a lawful good organisation; however they and Bolas had common ground on freedom, and individual liberty. To Bolas, the freedom to follow ones own path in life was sacrosanct, and he would wage war on any that prevented it. This meant that he was often at odds with both good and evil, where they sought to restrict individual liberty. With the Knights however, he had enough common ground that a dialog could be established. The Knights might object to his chaotic ways, and his piracy of Osirion and Katapesh merchants, but they also wanted to attack the slave trade, and the accepted the allies that they could get. As a result Grey Corsair ships gained the freedom to travel in Andoran ports as they liked, and Bolas allowed his fleet to take direction from the Steel Falcons, where he felt it was in the joint interests. The Steel Falcons in return supplied and repaired his fleet in secret. Both side benefited from this strange alliance.

The various countries that the Grey Corsairs raided did not ignore this new threat. They put more ships to sea, they organised convoys, and they put a bounty on the head of any Grey Corsair. Bolas was able to succeed despite this, his loyal crew, and cunning abilities at sea kept him ahead of his enemies.

The Grey Corsair fleet ranged far and wide. Bolas and his other Captains came to know the Obari Ocean, the Inner Sea, the Steaming Sea, and the Arcadian Ocean very well (collectively, the Inner Sea region). Bolas was even known to navigate the terrible Eye of Abendigo when needed in his battles with the Shackles Pirates, though he never gained quite their level of skill in making use of the Eye. His fleet became known at hundreds of ports and harbours throughout the Inner Sea region, feared of welcomed, depending on which country it was. For nearly seven years, the Stormlord’s successes outweighed his failures.

In the winter of 4669 it was the Hellknights who were at last able to thwart his efforts, at least temporarily. Particularly, it was the Order of the Chain, within the Hellknights. The Order of the Chain was dedicated to upholding law, as it applied to slaves, and escaped convicts, and had been engaged by Osirion, Katapesh, and Thuvia, to eliminate the threat to their trade in slaves. In the Hellknights, Bolas had found an enemy with whom where could be no negotiation or discussion. Master of Blades Mardinus put together a special fleet of ships to oppose the Grey Corsairs, and the Stormlord in particular. With Bolas known to be one of the most powerful mages in the region, the Order of the Chain recruited the lich king Osimari Saffar specifically to find and kill Bolas (known as the Stormlord). Osimari tracked Bolas relentlessly, they skirmished frequently along the coast, and Bolas found his ships hounded day and night. Then late in 4699, Osimari made an agreement with the Shackles Pirates, and together these two forces united to battle the Grey Corsairs. At the Arch of Aroden a massive battle took place, more than 50 ships fighting side to side. Bolas was able normally to destroy a ship with a single spell, however with the might of Osimari combined with the mages of the Shackles Pirates, he was held at bay. For three days the fleets fought a running battle up and down the coast in the Arcadian ocean. Eventually, half his fleet destroyed, Bolas was forced to flee up the coast, looking for a safe harbour to recover. As he neared the coast of Varisia, which he had not seen for 20 years, he felt a chaotic storm brewing in this mind. He was reminded of the chaos storm that Winlow had summoned all those years ago. In desperation, Bolas tried himself to summon that same storm. His remaining ship fleeing, attacked by powerful enemies, he felt it his only chance to escape. He cast the spell, and a chaos storm began to form. He watched as many ships were torn apart, his, and the enemies, and he also saw the ship captained by Naffler Vosk hit the shore of Varisia, near a small town called Sandpoint. Bolas did not see what happened to Naffler’s ship, but he hoped that Naffler survived.

The huge Chaos storm ripped through the very fabric of reality, all was destroyed before it. At the end, The Grey Prince was sucked into a votex of sea, and air, and chaos. It disappeared from the Material Plane, and Osimari believed that he had won. In the Chaos storm Bolas lost his grip on StormCaller, his legendary runestaff, which was capable of summoning great storms, calling forth massive bolts of lightening, and casting spells of protection from the wrath of the sea and weather. Chaos flames licked at the left side of his face and body, and raw chaos wracked the bones of his left leg.

Ultimately the Grey Corsairs survived, to continue their battles with the slave trade, however Bolas was no longer part of these efforts. The Grey Corsairs continue to this day, some of their leaders still have faith that the Stormlord would someday return, but no one knows when. In 4605 the Grey Corsairs again achieved a significant victory, sinking three slave ships from Katapesh, having first rescued the slaves on board.

In calling the chaos storm, Bolas had in effect managed to also create a planar navigation spell, transporting the whole of the Grey Prince and all its crew to another plane of existence. When the spell ended, the Grey Prince was found to be lying on its side on a massive sheet of ice. When Bolas and the crew woke up and looked around, they at first thought that they had arrived at the Crown of the World, the enormous ice sheet that stretched North above Aviston. However when they looked further, they realised to their shock that the Horizon stretched up! The Grey Price had found itself inside an enormous bubble of ice, within the Elemental Plane of Water. At the centre of the bubble was the Ice Heart, an alien sun that radiated cold, not heat, creating this domain of ice within the endless oceans of water that made up this Elemental Plane. The ice bubble was nearly 500 miles across, and home to a great number of being, both native and non-native. The Grey Prince was used to sailing the temperate or semi tropical waters of the Osirion region of the Inner Sea, and its crew was unsuited to this cold climate. Bolas was able to use spells to protect most of the crew from the terrible cold, however many died despite his efforts. They needed to get better equipment, and quickly, while Bolas figured a way to return them to the Material Plane. When Bolas and Razor headed an exploration party, they soon found population centres, where they could trade. The main people of this place were the ancient descendants of the Azlanti people from the Material Plane, now become native here. Bolas found that they were in an eternal struggle for dominance with the Sahuagin, also from the Material Plane, each side waging a war of annihilation with the other. In places the Azlanti and the Sahuagin had broken through the ice shell to the plane of water, and they traded with the people of the endless seas.

Bolas saw no value in taking sides in this conflict. While he felt some kinship with the descendants of the Azlanti, he felt no particular hatred to the Sahuagin, and was not interested in affecting the balance of power. Ultimately he set up the Grey Prince as a strange outpost within the Ice Sphere, trading equally with both sides, while trying to research a spell to return them to the material plane. Some of his crew chose to join the Azlanti people in the battle with the Sahuagin, and Bolas was happy to let them go. Its was here, while trading with both sides that Bolas learned the Aquan and Azlanti languages.

Although he tried to remain neutral in the war between the Sahuagin and the Azlanti people, he made enemies on both sides, for trying to remain neutral. Warleader Aspertizazani of the Sahuagin, and Colonel Disrestril Windspur of the Azlanti became bitter antagonists, each trying many times to destroy Bolas and the Grey Prince.

Bolas took nearly two years to fully recover from the raw chaos that had eaten at his flash as they came here to the ice sphere. For ever more his face was twisted and warped with scars, and his leg ached, and gave him a limp. Bolas found that he hated the period of weakness, but was indifferent to his looks or his limp, neither affected his abilities with magic.

Finally after five years of research, interrupted by battles with people from both sides of the conflict, Bolas finally mastered the knowledge needed to created the Planar Navigation spell. He called all his crew who wished to return to the Material Plane to come back to the Grey prince. In total only 18 people chose to return, all the others had either perished in fighting, or had set down roots in this strange world, and chose to remain. Bolas cast the Planar Navigation Spell, to take the whole of the Grey Prince up once more into the void, and return it to the Material Plane.

Even as he cast the spell, he felt the powerful influence of chaos magic rise up in the world, across the ice sheets. As the power of the Chaos storm built up, he felt his spell being warped by magic from another source. Across the ice he saw a joint force of Sahuagin and Azlanti, lead by both Warleader Aspertizazani and Colonel Disrestril Windspur heading to the Grey prince. Even at this distance he could feel that the Warleader was calling down some horrible curse, and the Colonel casting some great wish spell. The three tremendous spells each interfered with each other, tearing and ripping at the fabric of reality. Trying with all his concentration to hold onto the chaos storm taking his ship home, Bolas felt a terrible electric pain in his head, it felt like his skull was being torn apart. With his last, failing, strength he called forth a great shout to Brisane to aid him, in this hour of chaos. Even in the chaos of the storm, and with his mind splintered with pain, he could clearly hear the faith chuckle of a mad old man “Have fun with the Runelords!” he heard clearly before consciousness faded. Had Brisane answered his call?

The Grey Prince disappeared from the Ice Sheet, and raw chaos exploded out from where the ship had been, ripping an enormous hole in the ice bubble. A tidal wave of water flooded up into the bubble, and was then frozen in place by the Ice Heart sun, making a huge, beautiful, chaotic sculpture of ice as a monument to Bolas’s visit to this world.

The Grey Prince appeared on the surface of the Steaming Sea, in the middle of the worst storm for 20 years. Whether the storm was caused by the spell, or was already there Bolas never knew, however he did know that always massive storms had signalled a change in direction for his life. Trying to bring the ship to safety, Bolas found to his horror that his skills as a captain were failing, and his potent magics were no longer available to him, he was left with a few feeble spells of little aid here. Was this some trick of Brisane, or the result of the conflux of magic in the Ice Sphere? Bolas did not know. By some combination of desperate efforts and luck, and the efforts of the crew of the Grey Prince, Bolas managed to beach the ship off a place called Windsong Abbey. Most of the ship was smashed onto the rocks, only parts remained on the rocky beach.

When morning broke, Bolas found that 14 of his crew were on the beach with him, only four were unaccounted for. Together they looted the wreckage of the Grey Prince. Each person who survived gained nearly 8,000gp of items, gold, and trade goods. Standing on the beach, surrounded by the remains of his crew, and the broken remains of his home for the last 14 years, Bolas felt most strongly the change his life was making. He also felt most keenly the lost abilities and powers, that he knew would not easily be recovered. Clearly Brisane still had a plan for him, but he could not guess what it might be. Faintly in his head he remembered something about Runelords.

“This life is ending.” He announced to the assembled crew. “Go in peace, and with my thanks for your service. Each of you must find a new life for yourself. The Lord of Chaos has spoken, and I have always followed his wishes. I am no longer the Stormlord, I am no longer Boric, I am no longer Javier Marcal, I am no longer the Grey prince. I am Bolas. If you wish to return to the Grey Corsairs, you have my blessing, but that part of my life is finished”. Most of the crew nodded understanding, however Razor said, “I know that the winds of change still blow me in the same direction as you Bolas, whether you like it or not.”

The crew scattered at dawn, and Bolas and Razor made their way down the coast. Bolas faintly remembered a town called Sandpoint near here, where he had lost Naffer more then eight years ago. When he found Sandpoint, he was surprised to find Naffer alive and well, though he was now a follower of Sarenrae, and had forsaken Chaos for the forces of Good.

When Bolas saw the Hagfish tavern, he knew what he had to do. “My old life is broken on the shores of fate. My new life is here, for a while. I will make my home in this place, till my new journey becomes clear.” Bolas used his share of the loot from the Grey prince to buy an old tavern on the dockside, called the Hagfish, and Razor used her money to pay to recover the wreckage of the Grey Prince, and to refurbish the tavern. Bolas insisted that the wreckage be included into the new tavern, and that the name was changed to “The Wreck of the Grey Prince”.

Two years passed, Bolas found that the life of a tavern keeper was sufficiently chaotic to keep him from terminal boredom, and he settled down into a comfortable middle age, studying magic and recovering some little amount of his pwers over time. Razor remained with him, and Naffer showed up every so often, trying to convert Bolas to Sarenrae. Other crew members also appeared from time to time, some to ask Bolas to become captain again, others to just rehash tales of the voyages of the “Grey Prince”, the ship that has sailed up and down the coasts of Aviston and Garund, and made it too, and from, an alien plane of existence. Bolas knew that Brisane still had plans for him, and knew that Chaos was forever part of his soul.

Bolas tries to keep a low profile, he took the name “Bolas” when he arrived here, so it is not known, and when he was last seen on the material plane he was not scarred or limping. However he does know that there are many in the Inner Sea who would recognise him still, and that many people would know the Stormlord, or Boric, or Javier, or the Grey Prince. He made powerful enemies in the past, as well as powerful allies, but in his current form he would have no place in old conflicts. Sandpoint is sufficiently small and out of the way that Grey Corsairs are unknown, and the activities of a certain pirate lord had no impact. Few travellers would stop by Sandpoint with any reason to suspect that one of the most famed pirates of the Inner Sea made his home there.

Then, even as he was considering the strange workings of chaos, Goblins attacked Sandpoint!