This article is a (Non) Player Character biography page
The contents herein are entirely player made and in no way represent official Birthright history or occurrences which are accurate. The characters and events listed are of an independent nature and applied for roleplaying, fictional, speculative, or opinions from a limited playerbase only.

Albiele Island » Albiele town » Important Figures in Albiele Town » Mern
Gender/Race: Male halfling
Class/Level: Priest (The Cold Rider) 8
Bloodline: None
Blood Abilities: None
Alignment: CE
Hit Points: 49
Str 16 (Sta 15/Mus 17)
Dex 17 (Aim 17/Bal 17)
Con14 (Hea 13/Fit 15)
Int 14 (Rea 14/Kno 14)
Wis 16 (Int 18/Wil 14)
Cha 8 (Lea 9/App 7)
Major Spheres: Unknown
Minor Spheres: Unknown
Favourite Spells: Darkness, Emotion Read (ToM), Cause Light Wounds, Mind Read (ToM), Hold Person, Emotion Control (ToM), Animate Dead, Bestow Curse
Other Abilities: Unknown
Equipment:Soul Bender (see below), chain mail, footman?s mace, medium shield
Description/History: Mern, Albiele Town?s only permanent halfling resident, doesn?t appear to be a normal halfling, even from first glance. The first notable difference between Mern and other halflings is his height. Mern stands a seemingly unnatural (to other halflings at least) 4?6? tall. He retains his race?s stockiness, and this, combined with his height, gives Mern surprising strength. He has shoulder-length, midnight-black hair that he rarely bothers to keep tidy. Uncomfortably piercing blue eyes stare out from underneath a heavy brow. Many of Albiele Town?s inhabitants are extremely uncomfortable being around the tall halfling, saying they feel alone and almost helpless when faced with his subtly malevolent stare. Mern tends to wear simple clothes, usually just tunic, hose and a simple leather belt, always in white and grey colours. He seems to be unaffected by cold weather, disdaining warm clothing even in the most bitter of winters. On his right hand, Mern wears a ring made of twisted and warped black steel set with two small rubies. This unwholesome looking piece of jewellery is called Soul Bender (it is detailed below). It is never seen by anyone, however, as Mern always wears a pair of black, workman-like leather gloves.
Mern is a halfling with a history as unusual and as sinister as his appearance. Born in the Burrows, the only true halfling realm in Cerilia, Mern grew quickly, shooting past even his village?s tallest adults by the time he was 20. His almost unheard of height soon earned him the name Mern Longstride. From an early age, Mern was fascinated by stories of the gods, in particular the story of the horrific battle at Mount Deismaar and the cataclysmic aftermath could keep the young halfling enthralled for hours. Soon after reaching adulthood, Mern entered the Land?s Protectorate faith as a novice priest and learned its teachings well. Mern had always been an intense, a sometimes darkly brooding halfling, but he was seen as having a respectable future in his chosen faith. However, three years after Mern had finished his novitiate, an event occurred that would ultimately result in Mern?s spiritual descent into the blackest of nightmares.
In addition to his preoccupation with the Battle of Mount Deismaar, Mern also had a burning desire to understand the true nature of his people?s connection to the Shadow World. Ultimately, he was searching for a way to cleanse it of the evil of the Usurper, enabling the halflings to return to home after more than 1,500 years of exile. Mern?s investigations of the Shadow World quickly drew the attention of the being known as only as the Cold Rider. In a night of horror and pain, Mern succumbed to the Cold Rider?s evil and has been a servant of that awful creature ever since. The fact the Mern still receives spells may be an indication of the Cold Rider?s divine status, or other forces may instead be at work. The only living soul who could shed any light on the subject is Mern himself, and he certainly isn?t discussing it (in fact, no-one outside of the Burrows is aware of Mern?s priestly abilities, and even they don?t know about the dark being he serves).
After Mern had become the Cold Rider?s creature, everyone in his village was quick to notice that he had changed in some way. Dark suspicions began to circulate as crime, violent crime in particular, started to run rampant in Mern?s village and indeed, Mern was performing all manner of evil crimes, all at the request of his new master. Eventually, the situation worsened to the point that the Land?s Protectorate stepped in to determine the truth of the matter. The subsequent investigation resulted in Mern being the main suspect but when guards and a Land?s Protectorate priest where sent to fetch Mern for questioning, he went crazy and killed the guards. The priest barely survived and swears that Mern used some form of living shadow that tore flesh and broke bones, although the reliability of this testament is questionable as the priest had been rendered mad by whatever he did actually witness that bloody day.
Mern fled his village even as the Land?s Protectorate began the hunt for him, seeking to bring him to justice. Despite help from the Burrow?s regent, the Land?s Protectorate where unable to catch Mern. Driven by the Cold Rider?s commands, the twisted halfling made his way to Anuire and eventually reached the southern coast. There he bought passage to Mieres from where he immediately sailed to Albiele Island. Without even pausing for food or rest, he ran from Albiele Town and vanished into the Old Hills. Not a single person saw Mern?s arrival in Albiele Town or his immediate departure.
A year after Mern disappeared into the Old Hills, Albiele Town erupted in chaos as two rival clans battled in its streets, resulting in a fire which damaged or destroyed most of the town?s buildings. Almost before the fires had been put out, Mern emerged from the Old Hills. He walked into the smoldering remains of Albiele Town and had the Albiele?s Pride tavern rebuilt on top of the ruins of the old one (it had been burned to the ground, with substantial loss of life, in the fire).
Since that time (five years ago) Mern has run the Albiele?s Pride tavern. Gradually, the tavern gained a reputation as a very rough place, even by the town?s already boisterous standards. This well deserved reputation only worsened as the years passed and now, most people steer well clear of the smoky, dimly lit interior of the tavern. Mern is slowly increasing his influence over the regular patrons of his tavern and, if left, unchecked, will become a real danger to the inhabitants of Albiele Town.
Soul Bender
This ring is indeed well named. Made from jet black metal, twisted so much that it resembles a badly woven piece of rope and set with two small rubies, Soul Bender allows its wearer to control the hearts and minds of other people. The truth of the ring?s forging is lost to history, but the most believed version suggests that the ring was created for an Anuirean regent (differing accounts place him as the ruler of Diemed, Alamie or Osoerde but no-one knows for sure) by his court wizard, over 1000 years ago. The regent was plagued by continually feuding nobles and their skirmishes where threatening to tear his realm apart. Desperate for something to get his nobles back under control, the regent begged his court wizard to come up with a solution. Soul Bender was the unknown wizard?s answer to the kings plea.
Using the ring, the regent gained control of his nobles, making them stop their feuding. He used the ring for the remainder of his reign but it was never passed to his heir, despite the huge effort he extended to find the ring after it mysteriously vanished. The earliest actual documented account of Soul Bender is after the fall of the Anuirean Empire, when the regent of Avanil used the ring to unite a number of lesser regents behind him in an attempt to seize the Iron Throne shortly after Michael Roele?s death. This particular grab for the throne was one of the primary catalysts in the Avanil-Boeruine conflict. Avanil?s regent was killed in a battle against Boeruine?s forces and Soul Bender was lost again.
Although the ring has been absent from sages? accounts for 500 years now, it has been in the possession of a number of adventuring bands and petty bandit lords as well as lying in treasure hordes on numerous occasions. Mern found Soul Bender lying in an apparently abandoned gnoll lair in the hills of central Ghoere where he had holed up to hide from Ghoeran patrols. He has since used it to help him achieve the tasks the Cold Rider has set him.
Soul Bender functions as a ring of human influence as described in the DMG, with some important differences. Firstly, Soul Bender does not affect the wearer?s Charisma as detailed in the DMG. Secondly, someone who has received enough exposure to the ring?s effects actually begins to mimic the owner of Soul Bender?s behavior and will eventually fall under the control of the ring?s owner. This control is as per the charm person spell but the victim receives no Intelligence checks to escape the control. Other ways of breaking the charm work normally. A person must spend at least an hour of every other day in close proximity to both the ring and ring?s owner for about a year before falling under the thrall of Soul Bender?s owner. Lastly, all the powers of the ring only work on full humans (and not humanoids as well as per the description in the DMG).

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