Memnon’s mother and father, Gorgo and Mortenos, moved from their Tiefling settlement in the Black Peak Mountains to the village of Eltan’s Spring, when Memnon was very young. He remembers little of his life in the Black Peaks and has no clear recollection of the incident that led to his parents deciding to leave their mountain home.
Mortenos is a leather and metal worker of no small skill, adept at producing accoutrements in the traditional styles of Bael Turath. Gorgo is a healer, her abilities stemming from a vast knowledge of herbs and natural remedies, rather than any divine or arcane ability.
The villagers of Eltan’s Spring made Memnon’s family welcome, despite their infernal bloodline. An initial sense of threat felt by Boltac the leatherworker regarding Mortenos’ trade and obvious skills was soon overcome by Morteno’s and Gorgo’s highly social nature, perhaps unusual for Tieflings, and Boltac and Mortenos have grown to become good friends, trading and occasionally working together to mutual benefit. Villagers often visit Gorgo when struck with illness and over the years she has come to be widely regarded as the village healer.
When asked what brought them to Eltan’s Spring, Mortenos and Gorgo have always told the same tale. Their previous home in Tiefling settlement had become uncomfortable. The general outlook of many there had become close-minded and isolationist – ashamed of their infernal ancestry and intolerant of much of the outside world. As a result, trade had begun to fail and all were beginning to find it hard to make a living. Some had turned to thievery and other, even less acceptable means to make ends meet. Fearing the implosion of the settlement and wanting better for their young son, Mortenos and Gorgo had decided to move their family elsewhere and trust in their skills and more social nature to help them find a new home and make a living.
Whilst all this is true, there is more to the tale than they tell, with one particular incident of which they do not speak being the deciding factor in them moving from the Black Peak Mountains.
In an attempt to make enough money to allow them to leave the Black Peak, Mortenos and his family joined a small trade caravan, bound for Darokin. Not far out from the Mountains, the caravan was attacked by a savage band of marauders, followers of Orcus, led (to Mortenos and Gorgo’s dismay) by a Tiefling Warlock. The caravan’s guards gave a brave fight, slaying several marauders, but they fell before the attackers’ blades. Whilst Mortenos grappled with one marauder, another stole past and struck Gorgo to the ground, raising his weapon to deliver a fatal blow.
As a young Memnon cradled his mother, instinctively baring his teeth at her attacker, the Tiefling Warlock strode forwards to observe the family’s death. However, something made him stop in his tracks. Staring at the young Tiefling, the Warlock seized the arm of his companion, halting his strike. Barking a single word in the guttural ancient tongue of Bael Turath, the Warlock shoved his companion back and the two retreated. Several harsh commands from the Warlock saw the marauders cease their assault, retreating from their imminent victory and withdrawing, disappearing in mere moments into the boulder strewn terrain. Through a haze of pain, Gorgo remembers a look of fear on her attacker’s face as he uttered that single word, moments before he turned tail and left. Mortenos rushed to his blood-partner’s side, astounded that Gorgo and their son had been spared and frantically demanding to know what the Warlock said that made the attack stop.
Gorgo heard the one word; “Asst’khar..?” Yet this provided no clear answer. In the infernal tongue of Bael Turath, the word for ‘blessed’ is almost exactly the same as the word for ‘cursed’ (“Asst’khar” / “Assk’thar”). It seemed that the Warlock laid eyes on Memnon and sensed something in the young Tiefling that made him falter and decide to withdraw. Mortenos and Gorgo were left to ponder whether the follower of Orcus thought Memnon to be blessed, or perhaps… cursed. Either way, whatever the Warlock appeared to sense was enough to make the marauders depart, empty handed, from a victory that would have greatly pleased their dark master and served them well in terms of acquiring wealth to further their worldly pleasures.
With the possible implications of either answer having a potentially far reaching and dramatic impact on the family, Mortenos and Gorgo returned to the Black Peak Mountains and spent the whole of the next night discussing what it was best to do. After hours of conversation, their plan was made. They would leave the Black Peak Mountains and seek out a life in a village they had heard of North of Lake Windrush. A place rumoured to be tolerant of those who may be seen as ‘different’ by society at large and protected by a powerful Druid. Perhaps there, the family could start afresh, maybe even prosper.
Memnon, who had always delighted in the tales of the three deities of the Traldar told by traders, was to be subtly steered by his parents into the Church of Traldar, a belief system Mortenos and Gorgo felt just and worthy and importantly; one far removed from the infernal dealings in Bael Turath. In this way, if truly he was blessed, he would thrive and fulfill whatever destiny awaited him. If the unthinkable were to pass and Memnon was in some way cursed, then perhaps the Church would be able to lessen the impact of this, or perhaps curb it completely. Either way, surely the protection of the Druid would serve the family well in the immediate years to come.
Gorgo’s healing skills and Mortenos’ natural martial ability served their plan well. Memnon learnt the healing arts well and as he grew, he came to surpass his father in natural combat skills. Indeed, as he grew into adulthood, there seemed to just be… something about young Memnon. His healing skills appeared to go beyond what was possible with natural remedies and there seemed to be a light in him that belayed his dark heritage. Fascinated from youth by tales of Halav and his sacrifice in the defeat of a vast army of evil beastmen (and therefore finding no small degree of irony in his choice) Memnon read all he could about Halav, Petra and Zirchev, eventually deciding to dedicate himself to Halav. (Mortenos and Gorgo had done their work well.)
A chance encounter with a childhood associate, Tef-Lon, saw Memnon strike out on his own from Eltan’s Spring for the first time. Equipped with leather armour fashioned by his father, healing remedies provided by his mother and with a fine example of a mace (the weapon which he felt naturally suited) purchased with Royals earned by trading his own leatherwork and healing remedies, Memnon set out with Tef-Lon for a small adventure (partly to further his own experience of the world and partly to keep a watchful eye on his fellow Tiefling so that he would not do anything too bad to tarnish the reputation of Tieflings everywhere).
Their small adventure grew into something larger than either had been prepared for, yet both rose to the challenges put before them and Memnon, discovering powers of healing, shielding and fortune that could only be a blessing from Halav himself. Fully dedicating himself to being a cleric of Halav, Memnon made a pilgrimage to the small village of High Verge, former home to one of the Heroes of the Shield, a fellow Cleric of Halav whose faith had been such that it was rumoured that not even death could stop him from returning to carry out Halav’s work.
Memnon returned to Eltan’s Spring and spent the autumn and winter living and working happily with his parents. Mortenos and Gorgo were overjoyed that their son had returned to them a Cleric of Halav – this was far more than they had hoped for when they spent the night discussing what to for the best years ago in the Black Peak Mountains. The following Spring, word reached Memnon that a death cult honoring the evil deity Orcus was in operating in the land. Incensed that so foul a thing should possibly plague the happy life of his parents (this news seemed to trouble them greatly) and friends in Eltan’s spring, Memnon once again met up with Tef-Lon and the two set out, perhaps with different ultimate goals, for the adventure of a lifetime.
Memnon and his parents are hopeful individuals, keen to throw off the shackles of their heritage and to take their place in wider society. As a result of their infernal bloodline, all three are still to an extent self-centered, although this manifests itself in a near obsession with personal improvement, rather than ‘looking after number one’ to the detriment of others. The family has strived to contribute to the community of Eltan’s Spring, whilst not wanting to appear to be overcompensating or in any way trying to apologise for their heritage. All three intensely dislike being discriminated against for their race and bloodline and Mortenos and Memnon can be very temperamental if confronted about it. To his day Mortenos and Gorgo continue to happily live in Eltan’s Spring, whilst their son, apparently blessed, has taken well to a life of adventure and is beginning to make a name for himself as a both a rare Tiefling Cleric and a member of The Heroes of Winterhaven!
Footnote: Recent events have shed more light on the incident with the Tiefling Warlock many years ago and he now stands revealed as Mortenos’ brother Morghash. Is this the reason the marauders’ attack was halted, so Morgahsh could spare his owen blood? Now confronted with a blood relative who worhsips Orcus and represents all that Memnon fights against – this time it’s personal.