The Sundering of Oerik ~ A Greyhawk Campaign
Head of the Birch family
Human Male Master Carpenter
John Birch has lived his entire life in the quaint village of Ebonton. He apprenticed in carpentry at an early age and is a master of his craft. He married to a woman named Janna. They had two children: Lani and Adlyn. Janna died while giving birth to Adlyn. A few years later as John and twelve year old Lani were walking through the forest they came upon an infant Ogre, abandoned to die. Lani was resolute and convinced her father that they could, and should, raise the Ogre together. They adopted the Ogre and named him Nathaniel.
John is 63 years old. He is average in height and wiry and muscular from logging and working in his shop. He has short iron grey hair and a close-cropped beard.
John’s story in regards to the recent troubles in Ebonton…
“This was perhaps a month and a half past. Nathaniel and I had gone into the forest to do some logging. We ended up a handful of miles north of the village on the edge of the Misty Fen. I was looking to bring back some willow and alder. We’d not felled more than a couple when I thought I could hear something. I wasn’t sure what it was at first and paid no mind. All manner of bird and beast call the forest home and not a small number of them make strange noises. But, this sound was different. It kept droning on and on. And there seemed to be words to it, though none that I could decipher. If it was a language it certainly wasn’t the common tongue. Nate’s ax had stilled and I could tell that he could hear it too. The boy has a keen ear.
At first, I thought maybe it was fairies or pixies or some other creature of the fey I’d heard stories of when I was a child. But, I soon discounted that theory. It was harsh and ugly and sent a chill through my body despite my heavy furs. I couldn’t tell you why but I made the decision to find the source. There was plenty of work to do and my boy would have rather spent the rest of his life chopping trees than investigate, but I dragged him along anyway. After fifteen or so minutes we were very close and I could see the signs of an open glade ahead. At this point my head was pounding and I felt sick to my stomach. It was louder and I could tell that it was definitely a group chanting and their words seemed to become something more. Something alive and hateful. They seemed to slink through the shadows of the underbrush and slither from branch to branch in the canopy above, watching. And still I press on despite my instincts. We approached quietly and carefully but just before we entered the glade the chanting suddenly stopped. When we emerged from the overgrowth into the glade there was no one. Neither man nor woman or any other creature that would be prone to chant something so vile.
Nate wouldn’t take more than a few steps in and was on the verge of tears so I searched the glade on my own. And, before long I came upon something nearly obscured by a copse of vines and shrubbery. It was a carved stone, old and weathered, the size of a tombstone though roughly hewn. An image was engraved on its exposed surface and what it was I couldn’t say. Only that it was the image of a living thing, with a visage not meant to be witnessed by decent folk. And not a thing that once lived in the past. But, something still alive. Ancient and waiting… I know that sounds like the ravings of an addle-coved old man, but, somehow, I know it’s true and it frightens me in a way that I haven’t experienced since I was a very young lad hiding under his sheets.
The people who are dying, the terror that covers my village like a shroud is connected to it somehow. The full truth and the means to uncover it is beyond me however.”